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The Significance of the Gothic Cathedral

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The Significance of the Gothic Cathedral

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  • November 12, 2010
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Gothic Cathedrals

The Significance of the Gothic Cathedral

The High Middle Ages in Europe was a time of much prosperity and great flourishing civilizations. One of the symbols of this emerging world was the creation of massive Gothic Cathedrals built across Europe. Many of these magnificent cathedrals still stand today, remaining not only as places of worship and tourist attraction, but also as indications as to what life during the High Middle Ages was like. From merely a glance, one can tell that the majority of the population during the High Middle Ages was very religious. It is also obvious that undertaking a project of this magnitude would demand huge sums of manpower, money and at least some form of an education. Through their majestic houses of God, the Europeans of the High Middle Ages were able to prove to us that their communities possessed all these qualities. Since its humble introduction, Christianity had begun to slowly plant itself as a part of everyday life. By the High Middle Ages, Christianity was so popular that on holydays, “women were forced to run toward the altar on the heads of men as a pavement.”[1] The construction of cathedrals was a method for believers to express their love for God. The cathedrals represented many facets of Christianity. For instance, the stained glass windows, which seemed to be an essential component of any cathedral, further exhibited the light beaming into the room. This natural light was seen as a symbol of God in the sense that light enables one to see as God does.[2] Even the entire cathedral itself seemed to be reaching up to the heavens, trying to seek God in the same way worshippers did. Eventually cathedrals became more than a place of prayer. Their duty expanded to encompass the protection of sacred relics, rooms for each saint and accommodations for nuns and monks. Many even acted as schools for children and a school for the town guilds.[3] From the time and dedication devoted...