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Gothic churches

In the Middle ages was in Europe the city without a Catholic Cathedral. The Latin term civitas, which means city, settlement, in those days, meant the seat of the Bishop. The Episcopal seat was the Cathedral. The construction of Gothic cathedrals is an important milestone in the history of medieval Europe. Not all cathedrals are huge and majestic, but majestic Gothic cathedrals since the XII century represent the citadel of art, science and technology, social life, faith, and power. The Gothic cathedrals of the quintessence of European civilization. Many extant cathedrals were built not only as places of worship, the example of the Saint Denis Basilica.

The Basilica Of Saint-Denis

During the decline of Antiquity, the Roman Empire Christianized, each major and medium city became the residence of the Bishop of the diocese. In the course of the middle Ages are all new to the diocese, continued the evangelization of the Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. In the XIII century Western Europe has nearly a thousand dioceses and many Catholic cathedrals. In the XII century the city flourishes and military construction, the building is grouped around the Gothic cathedrals, some of which reach 1,000 years.

The Cathedral of Chartres

Gothic cathedrals differed from what we know them today. Usually these were temple complexes, consisting of separate buildings, some of which were used for sumptuous feasts, others for liturgies at the clergy around the Bishop. And it was a special room for the baptism. In the second half of XI century Pope Gregory VII conducted a large-scale Church reform called “Gregorian”. The reform was aimed at strengthening the role of the Church in society. The Cathedral is now was presented as a place where lay people, priests and Bishop – under the leadership of the Chapter could gather together and to practise their religion. The Cathedral, therefore, were opposed to other ecclesiastical institutions, such as abbeys, and was able to take its proper place in the life of medieval society.

The Cathedral in Amiens

In the XIII century in Europe began an economic recovery. Increasing the economic welfare of cities and provinces allows you to allocate significant funds for the construction. Built impressive cathedrals. Chartres Bishop Fuller (C. 960-1028,) foresaw the flourishing era of the cathedrals and began the construction of his residence in 1020 G. Fuller was an outstanding personality. He soon realized the role played by the Catholic Church in feudal society, he has fundamental works on vassal and serialnum law, he participated in the reconciliation of the king of France with rebellious nobles. In Germany and Italy on the Roman model were built Grand cathedrals – Majenski, Vormskyy, Modena, and Ancona. However, the Gothic prevails. The construction of the cult become more and more Gothic features, the Cathedral, built on Roman model leave unfinished, or destroy and build new.

Majenski Cathedral

The founder, who developed the methodology of the Gothic style, considered the Abbot of Suger (approx. 1080-1151 years). In 1144 under his command was the complete restoration of the East wall of the Abbey of Saint-Denis and choirs inside. Suger, adviser of Louis VI and Louis VII, decided in architecture to show the greatness of the patron Saint of Paris. To do this, inside the Cathedral was built skrashivaya arches, the upper triangular part of which is concentrated light, symbolizing the Maxim “God is light”. The bishops gladly accepted the new Canon. After Saint-Denis under the new rules was erected in the Cathedral Sence (1150) is the first known Gothic cathedrals. Then in the cathedrals of Noyon, Laon, and in 1163 in Paris. This first wave of Gothic cathedrals is characterized by the massiveness of the masonry, the presence of the gallery choirs, shestibalny pointed arches. Used steel external retaining arches, allowing to distribute the force of gravity of the whole structure, and make the Windows wider. In 1194, the Cathedral was completed in Burg, a masterpiece of early Gothic architecture.

Cathedral Sence

With the construction of Chartres Cathedral Gothic art is taking its classic shape: square arches, balconies trifari replaces choirs, external backup are built on perfect system of buttresses. In 1211, begins the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims, the result of which was the monumental building, which has no analogues, 138 m in length and 38 m in height. The largest remains of the Cathedral in Amiens is 8000 m2, built in 1220, the Term “dazzling Gothic” could not be better reflects the principle of building of cathedrals, consisting almost entirely of Windows. One only Saint-Etienne in Metz consists 6500 m2 of stained glass. Beauvais is the highest Gothic Cathedral, arches choir reaches 48 metres, but in 1284 part of the arch collapses ensemble. These were not errors of construction. By the end of the XIII century economic boom followed by recession, Europe hit by the crisis, funds for the maintenance of cathedrals were scanty. The fourteenth century is infamous for the many wars and epidemics of the plague which slowed the construction of cathedrals. The construction of many of them remained unfinished.

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Reims

And yet, churches are slowly but surely appearing all over Europe. In England in the twelfth is being built in the Cathedral of Durham, known for its pointed arches. The dynasty of the Plantagenets do not shy away from French architects, for example, Guillaume de Sens, who developed the project of Canterbury in 1180, However, English Gothic cathedrals retain their national identity is significant in length, they remain low, compared with their French neighbours. In Spain, the Gothic reflects the adoption of the Christian Reconquest were built the cathedrals in león (1205) and Burgos (1221). In Germany the Gothic flourishes: opus francigenum everywhere will replace the Roman Canon. German leaders are ambitious, the size of cathedrals must shock and lead laymen in awe, that’s why the Cologne Cathedral, begun in 1248, was completed only in the XIX century. Italy has long remained faithful to the Roman Canon. The feature of Italian Gothic is the rich decoration of the walls, multicolor decorative stone, as at Sienna and preservation of the ornaments of mosaic, as at Orvieto. The exception is the Cathedral of Milan, built much later, in 1375, most likely it was built the architects and masons in Germany, which resulted in the following classic Gothic principles, the truth of the external marble decoration of the walls still shifts the emphasis towards Italian identity.

The Cathedral in Sienna

Gothic cathedrals are fundamentally changing the appearance of cities. Often the bishops are making the authorities the right to demolish buildings around the dioceses to increase their territory. In Burg, thus the Cathedral was added the apse, in the Narbonne authorities refused to grant the request of the Bishop, and the Cathedral remained without a nave. Another challenge was the allocation of space inside for people. For example, in Amiens Cathedral the Cathedral’s tower are rectangular, not square, as it was originally intended, due to the fact that the Chapter was unable to acquire the necessary land.

Canterbury Cathedral

The construction of Gothic cathedrals has contributed to the development of construction technology and improvement of labour relations (and here you can learn about modern construction equipment wacker). Indeed, to build such a significant building, it required the coordinated work of the developer (often a Bishop) and the contractor. The latter was called the master, his figure was key to the successful completion of construction. The best-known contractors among them was Robert de Losers (approx. 1160-1222.) that in the construction of Amiens Cathedral has strictly limited the number of stone, for walls, reducing thus the cost of construction, and giving the Cathedral more “airiness”. Maitre Pierre de Montreuil from Paris (approx. 1200-1267.) earned an honorable epitaph on the tomb: “Professor rocks.” It is well coordinated work of its team and streamlined the work itself, from the quarry where they extracted the stones. Otesyvanii blocks for the Cathedral began almost immediately after their extraction, worked the whole team: masons, sculptors, carpenters.

Statue of Pierre de Montray on the facade of the Hotel de Ville, Paris, France

Because the construction worked hired people, they were supposed to draw their pay, often very decent, so they were interested in the conservation of work skills and become professional workers, then engaged in other construction projects. The bishops of the Chapter and, if funds allow, pay to the contractor out of his own pocket. Certainly for the funding involved and the donations made by the laity, however, the irregularity did not allow to consider them as a means for long-term investment. For management of resource funds for the construction of cathedrals in France was introduced the institution of a Chapter of “Power and production” (‘oeuvre et fabrique).

The Cathedral in Narbonne

Gothic cathedrals played a significant role in the life of medieval towns. First, they were religious buildings. Of course, the Cathedral belonged to the Bishop who conducted services on major religious holidays. On ordinary days the service was conducted by numerous canons (83 people in Laon), were mandatory daily mass. Chaplains perform divine service at the altars. In the Cathedral of Notre Dame historically, more than 250 clergy, the Bishop was even forced to limit to five the number of masses, slozhivshihsya at the same time. Secondly, the Cathedral is inextricably linked with the institution of medieval society. In France the king is an honorary Canon of many churches. The government quickly realized the importance of Episcopal influence. In 1302 Philip the fair combined the three monastic order under the rule of the Notre Dame Cathedral, marking so the beginning of the States General.

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