Gothic Architecture

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Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture were some of the few symbols of civilization in the poverty Middle Ages. These two main styles of architecture, have many similarities, but also have many differences. This is because lifestyles altered in the time between these two time periods. Romanesque was designed to be more for defensive purposes than for any aesthetic quality, as gothic cathedrals. Monasteries housed the remnants of saints, and during the Romanesque period the cult of relics became a major cultural aspect influencing architecture. Devoted Christians would take on long pilgrimages in order to visit and worship the remnants of saints and martyrs. People traveled far and wide to visit sites and see relics believing them to have healing powers. Gothic style architecture included big churches called cathedrals which had tall skyscraper-like towers. They made them that way to get people to look up in the sky and think of God; the experience of looking at one of the great gothic cathedrals is to look up towards divinity. That is why most Gothic structures emphasize the vertical. The primary characteristics of Romanesque architecture were Roman in origin: large interior spaces, covered by barrel vaults, rounded arches on doors and windows, and thick walls. In Gothic architecture, none of the style elements, such as the pointed arch and the pilgrimage choir plan, are really new. They can be found separately in various Romanesque structures, but never in the same building. Gothic style has three main characteristics that make it its own unique style: highness, vertical lines and flying buttresses. Romanesque buildings were solid, heavy because of the thick walls, and, as a result of the comparatively small windows, dimly lighted. Gothic cathedrals were built with a slender skeleton, made up with pointed arches and flying buttresses, which gives impressions of harmony and luminosity. Gothic architecture involved lots of big windows of stained glass,...
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