Byzantime, Romanesque, and Gothic Architecture and Design

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Now known as Istanbul, Byzantium played a very big part in architectural history. Its people, the Byzantines, developed some of the main architectural features that we still see today. They, although originally developed in Rome, are renowned for their development of the basilica, and their use of domes and alabaster, among many other things, such as religious depictions and silken textile.

A basilica is a building typically used for Christian devotion. It is a rectangular, building, with colonnades running down either side of its nave to an apse (or a half dome) behind the altar. Domes are also depicted on top of these buildings to signify their importance. Famous examples of these buildings can be found at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, or St. Peters Cathedral in Vatican City. The use of these two features can still be found today. The basilica style floor plan in our traditional churches, and the large domes on our government buildings. Basilica were highly decorated buildings with statues, stained glass, artistic depictions of religious scenes, mosaics and murals. The most popular form of art was religious depictions, and so artists were encouraged to be creative when it came to their work. There use of colour and light were intense and usually placed higher worshipped figures such as Christ, in a position in which they would be instantly recognised, for example on the top or in the middle

Due to the enormity of such buildings, alabaster was used in windows to allow some natural light to pass through. Alabaster is a dense translucent, white or tinted fine grained gypsum, which is a mineral commonly used to make cements and plasters today. Alabaster can vary in colour from pale yellowish pink to yellowish grey. An example of this can be found in St. Pauls Basilica, Rome- Italy The Byzantines also upgraded the process of building by adding brick and plaster in addition to stone during this period, which is the main form of building we still

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