AP PHOTOS: Flooding threatens Venice and its treasures

VENICE, Italy (AP) — Severe flooding in Venice is threatening the Italian city famed for its canals and architecture.

Tourist favorites like St. Mark’s Square have been deluged since Tuesday, when Venice was hit with its worst flooding in 50 years. Water levels reached nearly 1.9 meters (6 feet, 1 inch) above sea level.

The flooding has been attributed mostly to a combination of high tides from a full moon and high winds pushing water from the shallow Adriatic Sea into Venice. But scientists say climate change is also having an effect.

More than 50 churches have reported damage. Suitcases and bags of garbage have been seen floating through the city. Damaged books are piled outside the renowned bookstore Acqua Alta, whose name means “high water.”

The Italian government declared a state of emergency Thursday.