Architecture in the Middle Ages: Chartres Cathedral

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The cathedral was the most important building in the town of Chartres. It was the centre of the economy, the most famous landmark and the focal point of almost every activity that is provided by civic buildings in towns today. Chartres cathedral has upheld its importance in the life of the people within the community, and has lived up to its labour and expectations. The cathedral was important in the everyday life of all, whether it was used as a church, a marketplace, or just a marvel for all to view. Because of its diversity, it brought a lot of attention and prosperity to the city of Chartres, which helped it grow more, which then created a magnificent cycle to be lived up to. Chartres cathedral was an important structure in Medieval Europe because of its religious aspects, socio-economic impact and architectural styles that it brought forward. Religion plays a key role in many lives today, and has been for many years—Chartres cathedral fed this appetite with the stories behind the windows, the history behind the sacred tunic and the uses behind the labyrinth. For the longest time, the stained glass in Chartres were one of the main sources of religious knowledge. The windows have been supplying all around it with the stories of the Old Testament, the Virgin Mary and the life of Christ—many of the windows were used as “a ready source of instruction for the illiterate population” because education was not as valued in these times. These windows, through their extreme importance, proved to be a huge benefactor in the lives of the inhabitants of Chartres. In addition, the cathedral was said to have housed a tunic that supposedly belonged to Blessed Virgin Mary. This tunic was thought to be lost when the first cathedral burned down, but “after three days of cooling, priests who had taken shelter in the underground vaults emerged from the ruins, amongst many witnesses, with the relic intact.” This in itself had proven to the people of Chartres to be a miracle, and...
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