Architecture as a product of culture, history, science, technology, economics, society, religion, and state




A journey through five thousand years of architecture and urban planning in the Western world



All rights are reserved to Hila Berliner.

No part of this publication may be reproduced, or copied in any form or by any means without the prior permission of Hila Berliner


Each generation writes its autobiography in the buildings it creates.

Louis Mumford

Friday, September 2, 2011


This   book is intended for architects, scholars, art history students, the   travelers in the West who want to know the background of the buildings   that they encounter along their way, and the general public who wants to   expand its knowledge base.

The   intention of the book is to describe the history of architecture and   urban planning, while examining the unique characteristics of the   various periods and the background on which the various styles have grown.

Studying   architecture requires a comprehensive view of the building, which is   examining its historical, religious, social, and functional aspects; for   beyond useful purposes the construction of buildings reflects the   scientific, religious, social and philosophical worldview of each   period.

The   building is a visual symbol of the idea that it represents. For   example, many churches are built in the shape of a cross – the symbol of   Christianity. During the early Christian centuries, the Romanesque and   Gothic periods, almost every part of the church had a defined meaning,   as a visual symbol of abstract values. For   example, pillars in the church, often represent the apostles of  Christ.  Architecture provides a direct means of expressing views of different cultures about the structure of the world.

       Discussing architecture is also indirectly discussing the cosmos. A   reflection of the approaches to cosmology is already to be found in   Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian architecture. The stairs in the   Ziggurat (step-shaped pyramid temple)   in   Mesopotamia symbolize the gods who represent the planets, and the   pyramids in Egypt relate to sun worship and to its  "movement" in the   sky.

During   Antiquity and Renaissance the world is perceived as harmonic, and this   approach is also reflected in buildings. In ritual buildings the   dome symbolizes the sky, while the floor symbolizes the earth. The   Baroque period, during which the elliptical path of planets was   discovered, a wide oval-shaped architecture was in use. So today, the   universe is perceived as a product of Big Bang, and the Deconstructive   architecture looks like expressing a bang.

"In fact, since the beginning of things to the Christian architecture of the 15th   century, architecture is the great book of mankind, man's primary  means  to express the various stages of his development, whether by  power or  spirit. Architecture began like writing. It started as  alphabet. A stone  was placed and became a letter, and each letter  became a hieroglyph. Above every hieroglyph was placed a group of ideas as a capital above a column… Later they created words. They put one stone on another…  Eventually, they wrote books… Traditions bore symbols, and disappeared below them, like a tree under its foliage. All these symbols, believed by humanity, grew, multiplied, and became increasingly complex. Monuments had not enough room to contain them… Architecture, indeed, developed with human thought.

    It   became a giant with a thousand heads and a thousand arms, and   established eternally predictably and vibrantly all this floating   symbolismThe  pillar which is the  letter, the arch which is the syllable, the pyramid  which is the word,  were moved simultaneously by the law of geometry and  by the law of  poetry…

They   gathered and intertwined, organized together, rose, fell, clustered on   the ground and piled up to the sky, until they dictated the general  idea  of the time.  

Wonderful books, which were also wonderful buildings ... Every religious symbol and human thought is a page in this huge book."

Victor Hugo  (Translation: Hila Berliner).

Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris, 1891. © Flammarion ©

Besides dealing with structures, architecture deals with words. Since Vitruvius (1st   century BCE) to the present day, architects accompanied their work  with  writing. By presenting their theories, they glorified their name  in an  attempt to ensure their place in history. The written word  reaches a  wider audience, and often survives longer than structures.  However,  buildings, monuments, cities and roads, are more accessible  than the  written word. A large crowd sees them, and they leave their  mark in the  memories of many.

Buildings have significance and they pass messages, just as our clothing or the interior design of our homes pass on messages about our personalities.

During   each period, architecture carries different messages. For example, in   the 1930s cubic forms of the international style marked functionality   and flexibility, while a hundred years earlier, when styles of the past   were revived, a simple cubic form was irrelevant.

A   repeating phenomenon in the history of architecture as well as in the   history of art is the oscillation between opposites: between  rationalism  and emotion, the imitation of nature and its absence,  decoration and  pure forms. During classical Greek times, the rational  approach was  dominant, while during the Hellenistic times following it,  emotion was  dominant. Medieval churches built by the Cistercian order  were stern and  devoid of decorations in response to the churches   built by the order of Cluny, which were rich in sculptural  decorations.  Rational forms and harmonies that characterized the style  of the  Renaissance transformed during the Baroque times into dynamic  curving  shapes. The heavy male Baroque transformed into a light female  Rococo,  which in turn gave way to a conservative rational  Neoclassicism.  Neoclassicism was pushed aside by the Romantic style,  which is based on a  feeling of longing for all distant places and  times. Thus, the Romantic  style was   replaced by universal uniform Modernist style, which strived to break   from the past. The uniformity that characterized the universal  Modernist  style was replaced by a pluralistic approach, expressed in   Postmodernism and deconstructivism.

            The language of architecture  includes professional terms and words that one should be familiar with in order to  understand architecture,  which   is why the first chapter of this book is devoted to the language of   architecture. The purpose of this chapter is to present a general   background to architecture and to clarify architectural concepts.

For the convenience of the readers a glossary is brought at the end of   the book. The chapters in the book are laid out in chronological order   of architectural periods and styles, in order to help understanding  the  influence of each period on those following  it.                       
   It should be noted, however, that classification of historical periods   is to some extent arbitrary. There are styles, which are more dominant in some areas, and less dominant in others. There are styles prevailing for a long time in one area and during shorter periods in other areas. For   example, in countries to the north of the Alps a dominant Gothic style   lasted longer than in Italy. Renaissance style, in contrast, was   dominant in Italy, and remained there for a longer period than elsewhere.

The   book includes chapters dealing with Mesopotamian and Ancient Egyptian   architecture, though its title restricts it to engage in the Western   world only. This is because of the major influence of the Mesopotamian and ancient Egyptian architecture on Western architecture.

The   chapters dealing with Greek and Roman architecture are particularly   important and basic, since ancient elements repeated throughout the   history of architecture. Being familiar with these periods is essential   to understanding the following periods.

Baroque   and Rococo architecture appear in separate chapters, although they are   frequently viewed together under the title "Baroque."  This separation is intended to emphasize the differences between the two styles, although they have many common elements.

To   understand Modernist architecture in the larger context of art  history,  relationship between Modernist painting and Modernist  architecture is  displayed in a separate chapter. The word "modernist"  is used in order  to  avoid   the word "modern" which indicates current period. This distinction is   required, since today we live in an age where the style called   deconstructivism is dominant, and its concept is contrary to the style   which was called at the time "modern". 

At   the beginning of each chapter is presented a historical background,   followed by a religious background as far as it is relevant to the style   that is discussed in that chapter. This is necessary because   architecture is emerging from the circumstances that affect the style.  

The   most significant buildings throughout the history of architecture were   edifices for religious worship - temples and churches. These   were dominant as long as religious faith was dominant in human life.   During periods of increased importance of the rulers, the architecture   of royal palaces was prominent.

Today,   when economic power takes the place of religion in the life of the   individual and society, dominant buildings are skyscrapers reflecting   economic power.

The   last section of each chapter is devoted to city planning during the   period discussed in that chapter, because we should refer to the   buildings in the context of which they appear - usually urban landscape.

The   final chapter in the book is devoted to the skyscrapers in New York  and  examines buildings as an inseparable part of an ensemble of a city.   Thus, an example of the connection between the two main issues, which   the book is about - architecture, and city planning, is displayed.                                                                       

New   York - the first city that was perceived as a city of skyscrapers –  has  served as a source of inspiration for architects when planning   buildings in densely populated cities.

At   the end of the book are a bibliography and a list of websites used for writing the book. This can help the readers broaden their knowledge.

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                   Historical Background
         Gothic architecture developed at a time when significant social and economic changes took place in Western Europe. At the end of the 11th and 12th centuries, trade and industry came back to life, especially in northern Italy and Flanders. Cities were reborn and commerce strengthened the connection between them and the different regions in Europe. Workers in various professions united in guilds, which supervised the production and trade in the cities. The demand for products encouraged the industry.
        With the renewal of trade and industry, there was an intellectual awakening. The interest in education was renewed. Scholars were engaged in scholastica - combining ancient philosophy with the principles of the church to create a method with no internal contradictions. During this period, the writings of the great scholars who wrote encyclopedic texts had a major influence. The word "scholastics" originates in the word schola – a Latin word meaning "leisure and relaxation", and "time devoted to studies and debates, especially philosophical studies".
         Until the 13th century, studies took place in the monasteries, and there was the focus of intellectual life. In the middle of the 13th century, schools were largely free from restrictions of monks. Spiritual centers moved from the monasteries to the cathedrals, which served as universities, and control of artistic activity shifted from the abbots to the bishops. The real spiritual center of Christianity moved from Rome to Paris where a star of reason began to illuminate. In Paris, the school of the cathedral served as a university. Along with religious studies began secular studies and the church had lost some of its educational power.
        During the 13th century, two orders of monks were founded, the Franciscan Order and the Dominican Order. The Franciscan Order was founded in 1206 by St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226), who tried to imitate the life of Christ by the adoption of poverty. The Dominican Order was established in 1216 by St. Dominic in Spain with the aim of converting Jews and Muslims, and eliminating heresy. The Dominicans were the ones who became chief executive of the Inquisition trials.
         With the development of cities, national states also began to appear. Feudal aristocracy declined, and the power of kings increased. In Late Middle Ages, England was a strong national state with a long line of kings. The same development took place in France.
            Philippe Auguste (1165-1223), one of the great kings of France (reigned 1180-1223), did much to develop the cities of France, and make Paris the political and cultural center of the country. In Paris, he supported the existence of the university, and built a large part of Notre Dame Cathedral. In addition, he paved the city in stone and built hospitals and water canals.
         In the 13th century, the monarchies in France and England were strengthened, and an economic competition between them led to the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) which was won by the French.
        The 14th century was saturated in disputes and disasters. During this period, apart from the Hundred Years War, the Pope was exiled to Avignon, France, and the church split into factions.
        The papal exile to Avignon was due to power struggles that emerged between religious leaders and the monarchy. The Order of the Templars, the great Crusader Order, which grew rich from banking, fell victim to the French King Philip IV (reigned 1285-1314) who had financial difficulties. He arrested all the members of the order in France, accused them of heresy, tortured them, and confiscated their property. In 1310, 54 of them were burned at the stake.
         King Philip in France, and King Edward I (reigned 1272-1307) in England, who fought each other, collected, each in his own land, taxes from the Catholic clergy. Philip also prohibited the sending papal revenues from France to Rome. In response, Pope Boniface the eighth (served 1294-1303) imposed a ban on King Philip, who in reaction, sent agents to Italy to bring the Pope to France. The attitude of Philip's agents toward the old Pope led to his death, and the Archbishop of Bordeaux was elected as his successor, and became Pope Clement the Fifth. Staying in France, Clement hoped to save the last possessions of the Templars' Order.
        The papacy in France, which was identified with the Roman papacy, was in exile in Avignon, France (1309-1378), and aspired all the time to return to Rome. The revenues of Avignon Papacy declined as a result of the Hundred Years War, during which the English refused to send money to the church which was seen as collaborator with the French. Thus, the revenues of the Pope were depleted, and the income taxes that he collected from the French aroused their opposition. The exile of the popes ended after an envoy from Rome, which deteriorated due to the lack of papacy, urged Pope Urban V to return to Rome. Since 1378, the papacy has been back in Rome and the first Pope after the period of exile was Urban VI.
         Urban VI, at the beginning of his term, strongly condemned the cardinals and stirred up their opposition. In response, they elected Clement VII who settled in Avignon. Thus, Europe found itself with two popes hostile to one another. By 1409 a third pope was elected to replace the two, and so there were three popes in Europe at the same time. A Council held in Konstanz in Tyrol in 1414 had appointed a new pope, Martin V, and the three popes were ousted. These disputes rejected the supreme authority of the Pope and eroded the status of the church.
        To these events have been added in the 14th century famine and plague, each of which resulted in the deaths of millions of people. Hunger in Europe (1315) was a result of population increase beyond the ability of the land to provide for it. The outbreak of Black Death in 1348 caused the disappearance of a third of the population of Europe. It had an effect on the rigid feudal system and caused economic instability.
           The papacy in Avignon could not provide religious services for all those who died as a result of the Black Death, and was pushed to corruption out of its need for money. Thus, it lost its power. The papal court was perceived as corrupt, and the Pope was considered a puppet of the French king. These events raised doubts among the people about traditional values.

The Expression of Philosophy in Gothic               
In the 11th century appeared the scholasticism, a movement that combined religious dogmas and intuitive mystical tradition especially based on the philosophy of Aristotle and St. Augustine. In the 12th century, with the advent of the Gothic style, its influence has expanded. Compared with the classical philosophy that created a clear separation between faith and rational consciousness, scholastic thought combines reason and faith trying to reconcile the classical philosophy and Christianity.
In the Middle Ages, beauty of form was not only expressed in proportions, but also in educational purpose. Scholasticism refers to beauty, and the word "beauty" of scholasticism serves as an attribute to God. God is perceived in the minds of the medieval people as light.
         There is a long Oriental tradition connecting God to the sun. We have already seen this in Egypt (The sun god Re). In Persia the god Ahura Mazda appeared as sunlight. It is also found in the neo-platonic theories, which revived the concept of the supreme good, as the sun of ideas.
Thomas Aquinas (1224/5-1274) was the greatest scholastic philosopher, who presented in his writings the connection between beauty and proportions. The perception of beauty in his eyes was conscious, and thus he eliminated any insinuation of sensuality. According to him, aesthetic pleasure is associated with reason although it is absorbed through the senses. In Gothic sculpture, the figures are organized in order more than in Romanesque sculpture. Faith, in the Gothic period represents a rational and analytical approach, rather than intuitive. Abelard (1079 -? 1144) preceded Aquinas in this approach, when he said, "I understand so I would believe".
        Gothic architecture expresses emotions through material forms in stone and glass, creating a language for using them. The key to understanding this language is found mainly during the first half of the 13th century, in the writings of Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus (1205-1280), Vincent Beauvais (c. 1190-1264) and others.
The most important work, consolidating the religious dogmas and philosophical thought was the "Summa Theologica" of Thomas Aquinas.  "Summa" (in the language of the 13th century), was a literary work intended to describe concisely all areas of knowledge. Here Thomas Aquinas introduced the essence of Christian philosophy as taught by him at the University of Paris.
German philosopher Albertus Magnus showed the world that the Church was not opposed to the study of nature and that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. He presented theology logically and studied nature in detail, including  botany, chemistry, physics and mechanics.
French Dominican monk, Vincent Beauvais, wrote in c.1250 his work Speculum Majus, which presented the essence of knowledge of the age, a sort of "Summa". This work was divided into three books: The Mirror of nature (Speculum Naturale, The Mirror of Science (speculum Doctrinale) and The Mirror of History. Each of these books was divided into chapters. In these scripts, the mirror of nature begins in God and creation, and the mirror of history begins in the original sin and leads to the Last Judgment Day.
         The Gothic cathedral, which was built under the patronage of a civilian-driven initiative motivated by religious interests, was a kind of Summa – an entirety neatly organizing together different media, according to religious plans. The summa was designed in sculptures and stain glass featuring themes such as the Zodiac, the chores attributed to each month of the year, virtues, vices, animals representing allegorical meaning, etc. Along these, were presented descriptions of stories from the Old and New Testaments. Through sculptures and stained glass, the cathedral became a natural mirror, mirroring morality and history.
As there was a parallel between the summa and the statues and stain glass, there was also a parallel between the summa and architecture. Pointed arches were pointing toward the sky. The cathedral's rose window received a religious meaning by theologians. It seemed to them that as the sun is streaming through the leaded windows, and floods the interior of the cathedral, so too God moves through the events of salvation in history and instills grace into the individual spirit.
Art historian Erwin Panofsky showed how the development of the summa paralleled the structure of the cathedral. The medieval organizational perception required a holistic treatment, the organization of various parts, while distinguishing between them, and understanding their common ground. Walking inside a Gothic cathedral meant seeing that every part of the complex had a role.     
Panofsky wrote that anything, which is perceived by the senses, if it is man-made or natural, becomes a symbol of something incomprehensible, a kind of parade of ascending to heaven. Human spirit is lost in the harmony and radiance, which are the touchstone for terrestrial beauty aimed at God, who is the supreme cause of "harmony" and "radiance". As the stain glass represents allegorical subjects, the twelve pillars supporting the high vaults of the choir, represent the number of the apostles. Twelve is also the number of the Trei Asar prophets (The Dozen Prophets).
        Panofsky writes that it is very likely that the builders of the gothic cathedrals did not read the writings of Thomas Aquinas, but they were exposed to scholastic doctrine in other ways. Their activities were associated with liturgical iconographical plans. They went to school and knew the sermons. As a summa of classical scholasticism, the Gothic cathedral as a whole reflects the Christian knowledge, the theology, and history, in that it puts everything in place.
The Virgin stood at the center of the gate of some Gothic cathedrals dedicated to her. Figure- columns located at the façades of cathedrals represented themes from the Old and New Testaments. On the gables of the three gates, there were depictions such as the Crucifixion, the coronation of the Virgin and the Last Judgment Day.
Stories of Jesus, the Virgin and the saints, were also told in a visual way in stain glass, arches, and columns' capitals. Saints were presented with their hallmarks - the attributes. The months of the year also were presented with the characteristic chores associated with them, the seven free arts, the 12 signs of the zodiac and their four elements (fire, earth, water, and air). Stain glass replaced paintings on the walls, which were presented in the Romanesque church. A range of religious and secular knowledge joined, but everything, as Thomas Aquinas said, was directed to God.
        The great builders of the cathedrals were the great scholars of their time. The passage of schools from monasteries to cathedrals united scholastic learning with construction techniques. The Gothic cathedral, with its skeletal support system, arches, and ribbed vaults, enabled penetration of light. The game of light, glass and stone, is reflected in the theology of Thomas Aquinas, who wrote that the grace of men comes from the presence of God, as light in the atmosphere comes from the presence of sunlight.
         There is a direct connection between scholasticism and the emergence of the Gothic style. This connection was evident in the convent of St. Denis Cathedral (1140-1144) in northern Paris, the first Gothic church. In early 12th century, Abbot Suger, who was himself a student in the school of the monastery, became the abbot of St. Denis.
The doors of the church of the monastery of Abbot Suger were made of gilded bronze bearing the words: "The dull mind rises to truth through that which is material." This saying, meaning that we cannot grasp the truth but by presenting material, explains the use of symbols in the Middle Ages. The cosmos is a mirror that reflects God who is revealed through the visible world.
      Abbot Suger has written a book from which we can learn about the approach of Gothic architecture. In his opinion, light is of utmost importance, visually and philosophically. He wrote that the light coming in through the windows of the cathedral, represents the creative outpouring of divine energy, a concept that appears in the neo-platonic writings, and is based on the relations between light and the participation of the divine essence. Suger believed that the light in the church moves the believer from the physical realm to a higher degree of spirituality.
         Chartres Cathedral (discussed below) was one of the most influential cathedrals where St. Augustine's aesthetics connected with the philosophy of Plato. These formed together a synthesis of theology and cosmology that affected the development of Christian symbolism over the 12th and 13th centuries. The cathedrals, which reflect the spirit of faith of this period, were an expression of the connection between the cosmos and the divine city and Holy of Holies.

        The Concept of Gothic Architecture  
In an era when Romanesque style dominated architecture in southern France and throughout Europe, began to develop in Northern France and Ile de France a new style - the Gothic style, which was called at the time "French style". The word "Gothic" derives from the word "Goth", the name of the German people, who together with the Lombards, destroyed the Roman Empire. The term "Gothic" is identical with "German" ("Tedesco"), which was used by Italians during the Renaissance to refer to medieval art. This term created misunderstandings, because, in fact, the French were the first to introduce Gothic art. The Goths, however, were forgotten tribes, centuries before the Gothic cathedrals were built. Vasari, in the 16th century, used the word "Gothic" in a derogatory sense to indicate the non-classical North European style. Gothic taste was then seen as barbarian.
  The attitude toward Gothic architecture in the 17th and 18th centuries was not very different from that prevalent during the Renaissance. It was characterized by sheer ignorance. However, in the 18th and 19th centuries there were intellectuals who found magical beauty in Gothic cathedrals. Victor Hugo and Violé le Duc acted extensively in  preserving them. Today our admiration to the Gothic cathedrals derives from the mentality of our time.
Gothic architecture is essentially a combination of bold innovation with mystical symbolism. It actually began in the 12th century when Abbot Suger described the ideal church and wanted to fill the church of Saint Denis with "most luminous windows" as he put it. This ambition received practical expression by the architects. Suger believed that the light, which flooded the church, would bring the faithful closer to God.
The transition from Romanesque building style to Gothic building style included not only changes in construction, but also changes in the atmosphere. Gothic grandeur in the church, which was flooded with eternal light, evoked in the believers spiritual sensibilities, in a different way from that of in Romanesque churches. Compared with the Romanesque church with its heavy vaults, where the believers were received in candlelight, Gothic churches were flooded with colored light.
         During the Gothic period, as during the Romanesque, architecture reflected the attitudes of religious leadership. While St. Bernard of Clairveau thought that a person, who is not a clergyman, should not have access to God, Suger felt that it was vital that the Lord will be open to any believer. The churches built according to the  approach of Bernard of Clairvaux were deprived of ornaments. He prohibited using everything pleasing to the senses (except music), such as beauty and smells. The senses were associated with carnal passion. As for Suger, the opposite is true. Wealth of art, pleasant music, and emotion that could be awakened with color, harmony and light, served the faith.
          As a structure that symbolizes more than any other structure the relations between the believer and Christ, the Gothic cathedral had a cross-shaped ground plan. The cross-shaped cathedral's roof design can be seen from above.
The aspiration to heights of Gothic cathedrals reflects the ideal that man had set for himself, to free himself from the earthly world. The Gothic cathedral seems to overcome gravity. It appears light and airy, and defeating the material. Unlike the Greek temple in which every part was increased or decreased, with the increasing or reducing the size of the building, in the same proportion, in the Gothic church many elements remain in the same size, regardless of the size of the entire structure. In  huge cathedrals, as in small churches, the height of doors and stairs are in human dimensions. Thus, the size of the church is emphasized.
As in earlier periods, the church had to convey Christian thought to a largely illiterate population. The Medieval man considered himself as a ray of fragile and imperfect light of God whose sanctuary on earth represented heavenly Jerusalem. Gothic interpretation of this concept was expressed in the dwarfing the person who entered the church, which represented the heavenly Jerusalem. By using height and light, the architects of cathedrals achieved a sense of striving towards the sky and God. Lattice-shaped windows were filled with stain glass visually presenting the New Testament and stories of the saints.
Pugin, neo-Gothic architect of the 19th century, wrote that Christians considered the great height of the Gothic style lines as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. According to ancient tradition, believers prayed standing on Sundays, and during Easter, as an indication of this mystery. Pugine brings these ideas on behalf of Tertulianus (160-220 CE), and St. Augustine, both fathers of the church. Pugine also writes that the nave and choir with the towers crowned with turrets, point to the sky, a beautiful symbol of the shining hope of the Christian. The cross towering in glory in the sky was seen by him as a sign of grace and forgiveness. This cross is located between the anger of God, and the sins of the city.
         Referring to the symbol of the cross in Gothic architecture, Pugin mentions that the cross appeared not only in the ground plan of the church, but also at the end of each tower and gable. The Trinity is symbolized by the design of triangular windows surrounded by arches. The resurrection, according to Pugine, is represented by the great height and by using vertical lines, which were considered symbols of resurrection in early Christianity.
          The philosopher Hegel (1770-1831) wrote about Gothic architecture that there is no  architecture which with such enormous masses of stone completely preserved the character of lightness and grace. In the Gothic cathedral, the stone is released from its gravity and material. It seems as if it is not at all made of stone.
         The emphasis on verticality in Gothic architecture, was associated with the elevation of the soul toward God, but with the rise of this religious spirit, also increased and strengthened the secular spirit. This was the result of a transition from feudal and agricultural society in the 10th and 11th centuries to a society of businesspersons and merchants, who were the most dominant figures in the city.
The Gothic cathedral was no longer a monastery church, like in the Romanesque period, but a church in the city, built under the patronage of rulers and merchants guilds, rather than by abbots of religious orders. Gothic architecture is essentially urban. All Gothic cathedrals were located in cities.
         All residents took part in the work of cathedrals' construction, for the construction of a place of worship was part of a plan of redemption. All those who participated in the construction, if in  supply of materials or doing the actual work of construction, were regarded as possessed by divine right, long before selling
indulgences for the same purpose started. The construction work itself, was considered to some extent, a part of the worship.
      The residents of the city would converge on holidays in the Gothic Cathedral, to view religious plays. This, contrary to most Romanesque churches, which were built away from urban centers.
The Features of the Gothic Cathedral
The main characteristics of Gothic architecture are skeletal structure, pointed arch, ribbed vaults and flying buttresses (stone arches built above supports on the outer wall of the church, which resist the lateral forces pushing the wall outwards). The windows' size grows at the expense of the walls, which are reduced to a minimum, allowing much light penetration into the church.

The shape of the wall, arcade, and columns has gone through many changes over the Middle Ages. The massive walls, to which we were used to during the Romanesque period, are absent from the Gothic church and are replaced by a skeletal look. The round arch that characterized the Romanesque style is replaced in the Gothic style by the pointed arch. Due to the advantages of the pointed arch (which are mentioned in the chapter on Gothic construction technique), the Gothic aesthetic qualities were made largely possible. Ribbed vaults in the Gothic style replaced the barrel vault ceiling, which characterized many Romanesque churches.
 Flying buttresses, one of the main components in the construction of the Gothic cathedral, enabled the building of arcades with taller and more slender pillars than those ever built before. The tall, slender appearance of the pillars creates in the church an impression of lightness and magnificence. A similar feeling is conveyed by the skeletal appearance of the nave's wall.
       The rules of proportions dictated by the Gothic style create clarity and simplicity. The naves' wall is divided into three areas: arcade, triforium (window consisting of three windows set close together, just above the arcade), and a clerestory. The triforium is a new element that appears inside the Gothic church and expresses a desire to break the continuous look of the wall. This is the part of the wall, behind which there is nothing, but the slope of the roof, which extends over the side aisles or the gallery. Through the dark and narrow triforium the architects of the Gothic cathedrals revived a "dead" area by forming a visual balance between the illuminated areas above and below. The high altitude of the Gothic churches brought the heightening of the clerestory above the triforium.
The Gothic style is not only a collection of properties, but also an integral assembly. All the elements found in the Gothic cathedral such as the wall division, pointed arch, flying buttresses, amount of light penetrating the building, and the height of the interior space, were already seen in Romanesque architecture, but now they are organized in a new context. The main element that distinguishes between architecture of Gothic cathedrals and Romanesque architecture is the skeletal structure of the Gothic cathedral that most of its walls are made of glass and decorated with stain glass.
Like in the church of the basilica, in the Gothic church the nave rises above the side aisles, but in the church of the basilica the orientation is horizontal, while in the Gothic cathedral the orientation is both horizontal and vertical. The eye is drawn to both directions - the longitudinal and the vertical.
The horizontal line is associated with the rational sense, being parallel to the ground on which humans walk, and marks the boundaries that cannot be crossed. On the other hand, the highlighted vertical line in the Gothic churches symbolizes infinity, religious ecstasy, and emotion imbued with faith. In order to follow the vertical line, man has to stand and look up at the sky, away from everyday life. The vertical line ending in the sky has no limits or restrictions.
A line connecting heaven and earth appeared in the art of this period in the depictions of the ascension and Jacob's ladder, which connected earth and heaven. Contemporaries interpreted the columns flowing toward the vaults at the Cathedral of Chartres, as a symbol of the rise of the soul to heaven.
         In Gothic architecture, complex pillars made of a sheaf of tall slender columns replaced the heavy Romanesque pillars. The windows have grown larger considerably, and the vaults rose higher as did the towers. However, the ambulatory and radiating chapels continued the tradition begun in Romanesque architecture. As was customary in Romanesque and early Christian architecture, the Gothic cathedrals' orientation is toward the east.
         A new element that appeared in Gothic architecture is the rose window. During this period when science and religion were not separate as it is today, every rose window symbolized the beauty, order, and harmony of God's world. Using only a ruler and compass, architects created lace-like designs in stone.
As already mentioned, the great achievements of Gothic architecture were not appreciated among scholars of the Renaissance. One reason for the contempt toward it, was its ignoring (as they thought) the writings of Vitruvius written in the first century BCE which included the wisdom of Greek and Roman architecture. Even today, many researchers perceive Gothic architecture as pure medieval. Each of its shapes appears to be a new invention, which has no connection to antiquity.
Actually, in Gothic architecture we can find the influence of Pythagoras, Plato and other philosophers who believed that the world consists of four elements: earth, fire, air, and water. In their view, the world is made of shapes that represent the elements. In fact, the architects of cathedrals were familiar with the writings of Vitruvius and they used to read them since the ninth century. These writings were copied repeatedly in the schools of the monasteries and for the use of builders.       
Vitruvius was not the only inspiration from antiquity for medieval architects. The geometries of  Euclid and Pythagoras, whose images are sculptured at the Cathedral of Chartres, served also as sources of inspiration for Gothic architecture. The Golden Section is a key to the design of the Gothic cathedrals.

Image - The statue of Pythagoras in Chartres cathedral

In ancient times, the geometric shapes that represented the four elements were: a cube representing the earth, tetrahedron, a pyramidal structure composed of four equal triangles, representing the fire, octahedron, a geometric body consisting of eight triangles, which represents the air, and icosahedron, a geometric body composed of twenty triangles, representing the water. The world, according to this approach, is built of cubes, octahedra (plural of octahedron) , tetrahedra, and icosahedra. Triangles of the three latter shapes appear in the design of the Gothic cathedral. This is a classical architecture in its entirety and detail. In a drawing of Milan Cathedral drawn by Cesariano, we can see that the Gothic cathedral derives from these triangles.
The Gothic style has spread from its birthplace in northern France, and became Europe's sacred style. Gothic architecture reached the peak of its maturity in the 13th century. During the years 1130-1230, 25 Gothic cathedrals were built within 160 km from Paris. In a short period, Gothic architecture took over England, and in the 13th and 14th centuries spread throughout Europe.
           Hundreds of Gothic cathedrals were built in various European countries between the 12th and 15th centuries. Italian architecture was influenced by Gothic style to a small extent, and was the first to abandon it in the 15th century. French Gothic style architecture continued until 1530, and its influence did not stop even when France adopted the Renaissance style of architecture. In Germany, the Gothic style persisted until the 17th century, and England did not abandon it, and continued building in the Gothic style until the late 19th century.
        Each place received a Gothic style of its own reflecting the local culture. This style was part of  the past, and is part of life today. Despite the wars, revolutions, Reformation, divisions and deviations of religious faith, many Gothic cathedrals have remained in each country of Europe, where worshipers still pray. Gothic architecture, as expressed in various regions in Europe, will be discussed below.

Sculpture and Stain Glass in Gothic Cathedrals
          To understand the Gothic cathedral, we refer also to the art of sculpture and stained glass, which were essentially related to architecture, and had hardly existed without it. The role of sculpture and stained glass in the Gothic cathedral was not only decorative, but also educational. Through mystic symbolism, the church conveyed through sculpture and stained glass, messages of faith to the faithful most of whom could not read or write.
        Compared with sculptures found in Romanesque churches, sculptures in Gothic cathedrals became freer and released themselves from the connection to the wall or the column.
An important and remarkable element that appears at the gates of the early French churches, and at three gates of the Cathedral of Chartres, is a row of tall and unique column-statues distanced from the ground by a column. These sculptures depict the heroes of the Old Testaments, kings, queens, priests, and prophets, forming a kind of prelude to scenes from the New Testament, appearing on the tympanum.
         Common themes presented in sculpture on façades of Gothic cathedrals were the Last Judgment Day, Jesus on his throne, Virgin Mary (to whom many churches are dedicated, such as Chartres, Reims, Amiens, etc.), saints, and martyrs. Like in the Romanesque churches, Gothic cathedral sculpture introduced the evil and grotesque in man and devil, along with the sacred and sublime in man and God.
          The statues were usually painted. On some of them can be still seen traces of color. Among the sculptures there were statues depicting themes not only from the Old or New Testaments, but also from apocryphal stories, literary sources of the period, such as literature that shows animals in allegory (Bestiary), and literature describing the lives of the saints.
        Sculptures appeared all over the façade and some were almost impossible to see from the ground. They also appeared on the towers and on the flying buttresses.
Particularly noteworthy phenomenon is the Gargoyle - usually grotesque sculpture designed in animal shape protruding from the roof or gutter with water flowing through its mouth. The French word "gargouille" and the Latin word "gargulo" means "throat." In Netherlands, they were called "Water spitters" (waterspuer), a term indicating their function. They were designed to direct the water from the roof away from the walls. These imaginary creatures, which sometimes incorporated zoomorphic with anthropomorphic parts, symbolized the power of the devil pouring out of the church. Some consider them as church safeguards designed to keep away evil spirits.
The gargoyles first appeared, probably in early 13th century. Many of them were made of wood and some of stone. At first, they were simple in form, but with time, they received a fantastic, absurd, and bizarre shape. Sometimes they seemed ugly and scary.

The Stained Glass
Stained glass art is a purely Western phenomenon of the 12th century, which reached a peak of achievement and sophistication. Texts referring to stained glass have already appeared in England in the seventh century. More solid evidence of their existence has appeared since the ninth century.
Image - The northern gate rose window of Chartres cathedral

During the Gothic period, when the massive walls of Romanesque churches faded, spread the use of stained glass. Romanesque church paintings gave way to paintings using light – stained glass. The effect created by stained glass does not derive from the stained glass itself, but from the light coming through it and changing with the changing of day light, with the changing seasons and weather variability. Pieces of colored glass join to create images that the light coming through them make colorful patterns on the floor.
         Apart from the different themes that appeared in stained glass (those mentioned in previous chapters), the coat of arms of their donor was often presented. Sometimes the activities of the guild that financed the stained glass would be depicted.
        The most prominent stained glass window in the church is the rose window whose round shape indicates that it came from the Roman oculus – the small round window in the wall. In some of the Romanesque churches, an oculus is located at the western façade. With the progress in Gothic construction technique, creating openings increasing in size in the walls and building, large round windows were made possible until the diameter of the rose window in the Gothic cathedral reached the width of the nave.
         The earliest stained glass in Gothic architecture was built in the Church of Saint-Denis, in 1144. In the Romanesque churches, blue-colored stained glass was long used as a background. The range of colors used in Gothic cathedrals was wider and included the colors: blue, yellow, red, green, and purple.
       Abbot Suger, who was enchanted with light and color, was also occupied with the iconography of stained glass, which is very complex and symbolic. He contended that stained glass served a single purpose - to introduce to ordinary illiterate people the Holy Scripture, in which they should believe. However, to see all the details in the stained glass, binoculars were needed.
          Gothic light survived, in rare cases in its pure form because most churches have lost their original glazing, or only a few parts of stained glass from the period has survived. In Chartres Cathedral one can feel the effects of light in the cathedral, and see the glow, as it was in the 13th century because most of the original stained glass has survived. L
ikewise, original stained glass has survived in the choir of churches of Beauvais, Le Mans, and Bourges.

       Construction Technique in Gothic Architecture
      The Gothic cathedral is a technological marvel of workmanship. The architectural concept was inspired by the strength of faith of the period, and could be performed only with the overall technology. Medieval builders were highly skilled artisans who combined the roles of architects, construction workers, designers, and engineers. They were open about sharing their knowledge, which is manifested in the Gothic structures, which imitate each other.
Gothic cathedrals were built in stone, fighting a constant war against weight. There is no impression of heaviness when looking at the vaults to which the lines flow. In typical Gothic churches, the proportions of space intertwine with verticality, which diminishes the sense of heaviness. While in Romanesque construction the heavy stone blocks were laid one upon the other, creating self-supporting wall, the lightness of the Gothic style wall is made possible by the support from the outside through the flying buttresses. With the raising of the nave in the center, the strengthening point in the structure would be too low if left under the roof of the gallery. To strengthen the building, the architects had to create a support in the shape of flying buttresses, the lofty arches over the roof of the gallery, which absorb the pressure from the heavy vaults. Often, the flying buttresses would be added after the completion of the building.
          Gothic architecture in its purest form, sought to solve engineering problems and reach a balance of pressure.
The weight of the building presses the external supports, which release the walls, of supporting the ceiling, and allow design with large openings. The development construction method through flying buttresses is one of the greatest achievements of Gothic architecture.
         The pillars support the crossed vaults and pointed arches, and their role is to resist the pressure of the vaults on the sides, and the pressure created by high winds.
For the construction of supporting arches, temporary wooden frames called "centering" would be first built". The centering would support the weight of the stones before the completion of the construction of the arch. The pointed arch released the builders from the square bay, which was necessary when using a circular arch, and allowed greater flexibility in planning and designing. The pointed arch allows flexibility in the height of the arch, while its sharpness derives from its height, and shape of the bays. It can roof a rectangular area in ribbed vaults. In these respects, the use of pointed arch was a major breakthrough in the history of architecture.
The windows were greatly enlarged and allowed more light entering the building. The pointed arch is more advantageous concerning space than structure. The flexibility of the pointed arch allows adapting to any structural space. Its advantages were exaggerated by commentators who did not refer to the fact that a pointed arch requires using a larger quantity of stone than a round arch built on the same basis. Hence, the pointed arch is heavier in weight. It is true that there is advantage in the fact that the pressure on the meeting area between the roof and the wall is smaller, as the arch is taller. This, because the pointed arch reaches a height greater than that of the circular arch, and tends to create less lateral pressure, even when taking into account its increased weight which increases the pressure on the sides.
 In Gothic style, function, structure, and decoration were united, more than in any other style. The building is a part of the ornament, which is why Gothic architecture requires collaboration between artists and engineers to create a synthesis between technical and aesthetic qualities. Only a person with a deep understanding of constructions could invent such a system.
          Gothic construction rules were very complex, and it was necessary to work as an apprentice for a long time, in order to be familiar with them. However, there were limits to the knowledge of architectural technology in Gothic cathedrals. Structures that collapsed in the cathedrals, such as the twin towers at the Cathedral of Laon, and the dome of the choir of Beauvais can testify to this.
       The architects worked
according to geometric proportions. They could not clearly define the pressure on each point in the walls of the building, and used to acquire their knowledge in the process of trial and error. After many attempts, they found the appropriate technical solutions. Thus, they took risks that not always brought the desired results, and sometimes caused serious disasters.
        Building a model of the cathedral in a large scale helped the architect in his work. The model served many functions such as introducing the design to the person who ordered it, troubleshooting construction issues, and proving the stability of the structure. All the parts of the building, including the height of columns, their width, and the area between them, were expressed in terms of module. Dealing with numbers was an important element in the "secrets" of medieval builders.
There were designs in the cathedrals, which were marked on the ground in a soft cast. Such floors have survived at the Cathedral of Wells and Yorkminster cathedral in England. Sometimes there were plans for cathedrals on parchment.
       The construction of Gothic cathedrals used local stone. The area around Paris is rich with quality stone. Transporting the stones from the quarry to the construction site was carried out by water or carts. Builders of the Cathedral of Laon, France, who used oxen to carry materials to the construction site, created reliefs of oxen peeping from the tops of the towers.
        Even when the distance from the quarry to the construction site was short, transportation was expensive. To save on shipping weight, considerable work has been done cutting stones on the quarry site. Stonemasons used special symbols to ensure being paid for the chiseled stones.
        Cathedrals were built on deep foundations with thick walls. Additional decorative elements helped to strengthen the weak spots in the cathedral.
         The architect was not limited to construction work, but was also occupied with the decoration. He instructed the artisans in the creation of stained glass, and integrating sculpture into the architectural work, friezes, and ornaments of the cathedral. In dark areas of the cathedral, high on the internal and external walls, where the details are not visible from the ground, the artists were allowed to use their imagination and created  grotesque and weird figures spiced with rude folk humor.
          The stained glass, which constituted an important component of the Gothic cathedral, required accuracy of the technique. These were, in fact, mosaics of glass. Reverend Theophilus, wrote in c.1100 a book called "The Art of Glass Worker", a guide for the people of that time telling how to create stained glass. The early creators of stained glass made a drawing in the size of the stained glass. They used a hot iron to cut pieces of glass in the required sizes. These were joined together in strips of lead, and this layout was placed in an iron frame. Painting glass has been achieved in a melting pot (at a temperature of 600-620 degrees C) in which acid metal was mixed with metal ores, to create a variety of colors. In the 12th century, 50 percent silica were used for manufacturing stained glass, compared to 75 percent that are used today. The glass could be produced only in small pieces, and gave the impression of a jewel. The pieces in various sizes and thickness produced different effects resulting from breaking light beams in different ways. According to Theophilus, cobalt acid was used for creating blue color, copper was used for creating red, green yellow was produced with chemical element antimony and violet with manganese.
We do know nothing about the architects who developed Gothic architecture, which presented many technological achievements. Abbot Suger makes no mention in his book of the architect of Saint Denis. To understand this, we must remember the anonymity of medieval artists. Artists have created the churches, but at that time, the artists' names were not considered. They contented themselves with working for a cause that was bigger than fame. On the degree of appreciation given to the architects, one can learn from the words of one of the preachers who complained that the construction managers received higher salaries than others did. He described their work, saying that they were walking with sticks, shouting commands, and not working.
         In order to correctly evaluate the technical and intellectual achievements of Gothic cathedrals architecture and design, we must remember that the Gothic cathedral was built by a man who was both an architect and engineer, or by a number of  engineers-architects who worked in succession  when building the church lasted for decades. The roots of the modern development that combines an engineer's work with that of an architect are found in the Gothic period, and earlier.
         Gothic cathedrals were built with tremendous effort, often endangering human life. Building the great cathedrals was a hard work and dangerous task. To reach the higher parts of the structure, scaffolding was built. William Of Sens, architect of  the choir of Canterbury Cathedral, fell from a scaffolding about 17 m high and became paralyzed.

  Gothic Cathedrals in France
        At a time when many regions in France continued to adhere to the Romanesque architecture, Gothic style developed in Ile-de- France with gates decorated with large statues, which inspired the great Gothic church façades. Gothic style in architecture appeared in the first half of the 12th century in the churches of St. Denis (1137-1220) and Sens (whose construction began in c.1140).
        The cathedrals of Chartres, Reims and Amiens laid the foundations of the vocabulary of Gothic cathedrals and served as a model for internal and external structure of the 13th century churches. They express the artistic qualities and define the characteristics of the Gothic style in Western Europe in the coming years. In their plan and nature, these cathedrals have common features, and yet each has its own individual character.
        The common elements in the French Gothic cathedral are the ground plan, and design approach. The ground plan is in a general form of rectangle ending in half a circle.
These churches are relatively broad in relation to their length, and extremely tall in relation to the area on which they are built. Often we will find in these churches side aisles flanking the nave, and support system including flying buttresses. The choir is half-a-circle-shaped surrounded by radiating chapels. The transepts protrude a little, or completely absent, and the area of the intersection is seldom highlighted by a central tower. In the exterior of the cathedral, the emphasis is on the entrances: the main western entrance of the church, and the entrances to the north and south of the transept. These are shaped like open and decorated niches with plenty of sculptures adapted to the architectural frame.
Chartres Cathedral, whose basic architectural principles defined the general character of Gothic churches, illustrates these elements. Reims and Amiens, from this aspect, were those who followed it.
        The number of Gothic cathedrals steadily increased. Among these cathedrals were Sens, Senlis, Noyon, Soisson, Laon, Notre Dame in Paris, Chartres, and Bourges. The cathedrals became constant construction sites and the enthusiasm was contagious.
        One notable aspect of the Gothic churches from the end of the 12th century was their dedication to Mary, Mother of God, and creating gates that present her. An expression to the importance of the cult of the Virgin in this period is found in Chartres, Amiens, and Reims, which were dedicated to Mary, and show her on their gates. In Chartres, she appears at the façade of the northern transept. In Amiens, we find her on the western façade, and in Rheims, in the main gate of the western façade.
        We have practically no information on the first cathedral builders. During the 12th century, and even more in the 13th century, the individual's self-confidence increased, and human personality began to be more appreciated. Then also, the architects' names were perpetuated. The names of the architects of Rheims and Amiens were recorded in a special way, on the floor of the church.

          St. Denis Cathedral
St. Denis Cathedral, which is located near the city of Paris, is considered the first Gothic cathedral. The name Saint Denis, originates in Saint Dionysius who was buried in that place in the fifth century. A legend ascribed to him tells that he brought the Gospel to France. According to Abbot Suger, due to Dionysius, the world was perceived as stone steps leading into the sky.

Image - St. Denis Cathedral, interior

In the Merovingian period (486-751), St. Denis Basilica became the royal abbey church. In the third time, a basilica was built here in the Carolingian period in 775. Its importance lies in the fact that kings were buried inside it, and this is where princes and nobles were brought up.
Abbot Suger turned the monastery of Saint Denis into the spiritual center of France, and the most magnificent cathedral. For this purpose, he began to rebuild the church in 1137. The western façade and narthex were completed in 1140 without the towers, and building the choir was completed in 1144. King Louis VII was he who promoted Gothic architecture. Without his support, Abbot Suger would not be able to fulfill his vision to build the cathedral.
          When Abbot Suger was called to rebuild the church of Saint Denis, it was time for the birth of Gothic architecture, which has created a tangible expression of the achievements of Western thought in the 13th century. The cathedral, besides being an architectural monument of the spirit of the times, was also more of a summa, an encyclopedia shaped in stone.
         The façade of the Church of Saint-Denis with its three gates surrounded by sculptured figures and a rose window above them, represented the gateway to heaven, and served as a model for the façades of Gothic churches. The gate remained faithful to the circular form of Romanesque arches. Sculpture, some of which survived in good condition, shows the influence of Burgundy. The central tympanum of the church is comparable to that of the abbey church of Beaulieu in Burgundy, which belonged to the Order of Cluny. The giant figure of Christ dominates the façade of the church. As in Beaulieu, in the tympanum of Saint Denis is presented the Last Judgment Day theme. The blessed appear to the right of Jesus, and to his left, the damned.

Image - The last Judgement Day. The tympanum of the church of Baulieu
A look on the plan of the cathedral of Saint Denis will show that it has familiar elements from the Romanesque choir, which had an ambulatory and radiating chapels, but here and in other Gothic cathedrals they have a different character. The chapels, which were separate units in the Romanesque church, radiate here from the apse, and create a series of ribbed vaults (here seven) based on pointed arch as continuous space, rather than separate units. The number seven was probably part of the symbolism of numbers of Dionysius, to which Abbot Suger was attracted.
The element that separates Saint-Denis from its predecessors is its lightness and light. The architectural elements are weightless compared to those of the Romanesque church. Large openings allow the penetration of large amount of light. Heavy buttresses take up the pressure from the vaults.
Laon Cathedral
       Notre Dame Cathedral in Laon, which is located 130 km to the northwest of Paris, was an early Gothic church. It was founded at the end of the fifth century, later burned in 1112, and rebuilt during the years 1160-1235.
        Image - Laon Cathedral
Laon Cathedral is unique in its sculptural appearance in the western façade. The gates were built under deep protective entrances. The windows also are sunk deep in the thick wall. The two towers in the façade are highlighted by their airy structure, rich in spaces. They appear as an integral part of the mass of the building, rather than just another supplement, as seen in the façade of St. Denis. The architect of Laon hid the front supporters in a so impressive way that it is hard to see that they start at the gates, and continue up to the windows.
        Laon's rose window, built of drilled stone, was an early example of a Gothic rose window. It is placed at the center of the façade and dominates its entirety. The façade of the Cathedral of Laon was highly regarded at the time, and was often imitated.   
Villard de Honecourt included in his book of drawings from the twenties of the 13th century a drawing of this church, and declared it a church with the most beautiful towers ever seen.
.       A pair of towers were supposed to be built in the façade of each transept, and a tower over the intersection area as well. Together with a pair of towers in the western façade, there were supposed to be seven towers, the perfect mystical number. (Number seven consists of three symbolizing the Holy Trinity, and four representing the four Gospels). In fact, eventually, only five towers were built.

     Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
        Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, (1163-1250), which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was an expression of conservative and progressive ideas. The construction began a few years after construction began in Laon Cathedral. During this period, Paris was a political and economic center. No expense was spared in building the cathedral, which would reflect the prestige of the city. Paris needed a cathedral that would stand out more than other cathedrals that were built in cities such as Sens and Noyon. King Louis VII contributed greatly and encouraged the construction.

Image - Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
  Image - Notre Dame in Paris - ground plan 

The intention was that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris would be the tallest building in France, and its height would exceed the height of the cathedrals  built before. Its nave was taller than that of the other churches in one-third their height, even though its construction was relatively light. With a keystone at 33 m height, with a significantly larger roof, and with greater pressure as a result of exposing large areas to winds, a radical solution was required.
        Flying buttresses were added to the structure in 1180. These supports, which lean on pillars standing around the outer walls of the cathedral, absorb the pressure of the vault outward and downward. Thus, they liberate the walls from carrying the load. Unfortunately, the renovations made in the church after 1225, obscured the original building, and we cannot know how the problem was originally overcome. In the 19th century, restoration work was made in the church. Cracks were discovered in the walls forty years after the completion of construction and constant maintenance work has been required since then.
         The façade of the cathedral is designed as a big square divided by vertical and horizontal lines creating a grid pattern with rose window in the center. The entrance to the cathedral looks like a triumphal arch and radiates a sense of power, which is sometimes absent from the contemporary and later cathedrals. A row of statues representing the kings of France, expresses the continuation of the monarchy and its authority. Cautious balance between horizontal and vertical elements, achieves a quality of stability, making this one of the most successful façades in Gothic architecture.
The cathedral has a nave and four side aisles. In the nave can be seen a conservative approach keeping the "look of the wall" which is associated with Romanesque style rather than Gothic.  A Gothic look can be found in the ribbed vaults of six parts (sixpartite).
        Duran, a priest who lived in the 13th century during the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, points out that its towers represent the preachers. This statement is reinforced by the meaning attributed to the bells. These, according to him, remind the Christians the values ​​that they should adhere to if they want to reach the heights of the towers, which represent the image of perfection and exaltation of the soul.

           Chartres Cathedral
           Chartres Cathedral whom French sculptor Rodin called "the Acropolis of France," towered like a crown above the city of Chartres, and served as a symbol of the cult of the Virgin. People who approached the city could see it from a great distance. The foundation of Chartres cathedral is an earlier Romanesque church, from the beginning of the 11th century, which was burned down in 1194. It was exceptional at the rapidity of its construction and luckily survived almost intact. Because of the quality of its construction, neither reconstructions nor renovations were needed.
       In the year 876, Karl the bald, grandson of Charlemagne, introduced a relic, a piece of cloth presented to him in Constantinople, which was supposed to be part of tunic which, he said, the Virgin was wearing during the annunciation. Therefore, Chartres was regarded as her chosen place of residence.
       Under the influence of Bernard of Clairvaux, the Virgin was seen as a mediator between the faithful and humanity. As a link between the natural and the supernatural, the people of the period believed that she could understand the fragility of man more than anyone else could.
        To understand the construction of Chartres cathedral we must become familiar with the cult of relics and the cult of Virgin Mary. Contemporaries believed that Virgin Mary brought protection to Chartres, and ascribed to her a variety of miracles. When the Vikings sieged the city of Chartres in 911, the bishop held the tunic of Virgin Mary above the city walls, and thus frightened Raul the Viking and his men who went back to wherever they came from and fled. Raul accepted the Christian religion and became the first Duke of Normandy.
The terrible fire, which broke out in Chartres in 1194, has destroyed much of the city. The fire raged for two days, and the residents were concerned about the fate of the Virgin's gown. On the third day firing ceased, and clergy procession appeared trapped in the church, and carried on their shoulders the holy relic. Then, the fire was interpreted as an expression of the will of the Virgin that a new and more beautiful church would be built. The mother of God was seen as having ruined her own church. The good economic situation and the deep faith helped reestablish the church. Butchers, bakers, wine merchants and other traders, along with the clergy and the royal family, contributed to the construction.
We have today chronicles telling of the spirit of the period in the 12th century, when the cathedrals were built. Robert De Mont St. Michel described in 1144 the construction of Chartres cathedral. He tells that its towers grew marvelously into the sky, but it also happened in other cathedrals, everywhere in France, Normandy, and elsewhere. According to his writings, people everywhere were modest, repentant and forgave their enemies.
       The economic situation of the people of Chartres largely depended on the success of the four fairs, which were held simultaneously and were all associated with the life of the Virgin. Most customers at the fairs were pilgrims who were attracted to the place due to the relics of the Virgin. Thus, economics and religion were incorporated together.
The construction of the Royal main gate of the cathedral was completed in 1155. The two towers on the western façade are not the same. The northern tower was completed in 1150, and later was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt in 1513. The construction of the southern tower was completed in 1160. The rose window, which is huge, was built in the 13th century and covers an area of ​​3150 square meters. Like in Laon, it was built in drilled stone. While in Laon's cathedral, the rose window has eight openings, in the rose window of Chartres there are twelve openings.
  Image - Chartres Cathedral

 As already mentioned, at the Cathedral of Chartres the Golden Section is a key to the design. The western façade shows a game of proportions in the division of the wall into horizontal and vertical areas. The use of units of two and three parts, appears repeatedly. The arches in the façade appear in pairs and threes.

 Chartres Cathedral - ground plan

 When entering Chartres Cathedral, there is a sense of unlimited space in which light is part of the structure. The clerestory is connected to the arcade by the windows, which are divided into four parts (in the area of the triforium). Thus is created a contrast between the horizontal gallery area and the vertical area, which is dominated by the bays.
One of the great achievements of the architect of Chartres Cathedral, whose identity is unknown to us, was the design of the nave, which perfectly combined the structural needs and visual effect. A sheaf of five columns is growing most clearly from each complex pillar in the arcade, and flows into the vaults.
Chartres Cathedral demonstrates the tremendous advantage of the pointed arch. We can see a combination of the pointed arch with rectangular and irregular bays, and the total liberation of the ground plan. Here was enabled the construction of various heights of ribbed vaults growing from one column. The height of the pointed arch could be totally controlled by the designer.
         As for stained glass, Chartres Cathedral is the only one where the original light has survived. Except for eight windows at the choir and four windows in the transept, which were demolished in 1791, all the windows have survived since the Middle Ages. The interior of the church bathes in light dark purple light, and has an indescribable mysterious quality. The light creates a "supernatural" sense, expressing an escape from everyday life, and distancing from the material world.

    Reims Cathedral
        A Gothic cathedral, which continues the tradition of Gothic cathedrals, and also introduces innovations, is the Cathedral of Reims (1211-1299) which was a stage in the development of the  Gothic style, between Chartres and Amiens. This cathedral was closely related to the history of the kings of France, and was nicknamed "Queen of the French Churches." Its first architect was probably Jean D'Orbais.

Image - Reims Cathedral

As the coronation church of France, it was built with rich decoration, full of statues. Its supports are very elegant, and its façade majestic. The cathedral of Saint-Denis also enjoyed a close relationship with the kings of France, being the cathedral of St. Denis, the patron saint of the royal family in France.
         The novelty of Rheims lies in the refinement in architecture, and the tight integration between architecture and sculpture that had never been so close to each other as in this cathedral.
       While Chartres introduced technical solutions, Reims showed wealth of motifs in its details. The architect of Reims designed a completely new type of window, a window called "Gothic window" - a tracery window. In the uniform decoration of the capitals of columns, Rheims uses a unique decorative design that imitates natural leaves, to the extent that was possible.

         Amiens Cathedral
         In Amiens Cathedral the Gothic style reached the peak of its development. The fire that broke out in the cathedral in the site, allowed the construction of a new cathedral, which was built during the years 1220-1270. We know its architects' names - Robert De Luzarches, Thomas De Cormont and his son.

Image - Amiens Cathedral - western facade 

      In Amiens we find a skeletal structure, vertical look inside the church, and majestic proportions. In the 19th century people spoke of Amiens Cathedral as the Parthenon as of France.
While the towers of Chartres cathedral are heavy and thin until the edges, in Amiens Cathedral and in the Gothic cathedrals built following it, they fit into the space around them, and create an impression of melting contours with delicate leaves growing out of them. Thus, at the Cathedral of Amiens, these shapes of leaves, which are very naturalistic, break the dividing lines between the floors, and each straight line, in the gable, turret, or columns' capitals.

 Image - Amiens Cathedral - flying buttresses

 In the façade of the cathedral, whose towers  were never completed, the dominant line is vertical. This façade can be clearly divided into three vertical sections. Horizontal lines are very short in places where they appear, and give in to the vertical lines.
        The deep
gates of the cathedral create the connection between the interior and exterior. On the sides, there are statues and blind arches above them adorning the façade. Under the rose window are presented the kings of the Old Testament, the spiritual ancestors of the medieval French kings. On the gates, which were considered as gates of heaven, are depicted religious themes. Each gate is devoted to another theme. The main gate is dedicated to the Last Judgment Day, the right is dedicated to the Virgin, and the left is dedicated to the former bishop of Amiens and the patron saint of the cathedral, Saint Firmin.
         Inside the church, the relatively high arcade contributes to a sense of height. The proportions of the three areas of the wall of the nave changed here compared to the proportions customary in previous cathedrals. While in the cathedrals of Chartres and Reims the height of the arcade equals the height of the clerestory, the height of the arcade in Amiens Cathedral alone equals the total height
of both the triforium and clerestory. 
Image - Comparison of cathedrals' façades.

Patterns of leaf stripes separate the arcade and the triforium. Arcade of pointed arches, and columns that grow from the floor of the structure,  and run without interruption up to the tips of  pointed arches of the vaults, enhance the sense of vertical movement. The eye is led directly into the vaults. The lines dividing the floors are broken in the areas of the pillars.

     The Labyrinth
  The great Gothic cathedrals used a kind of stamp to commemorate the contribution of the architects to the achievement of their construction. This stamp has the shape of a labyrinth (maze) on the floor of the nave.
The drawing of the labyrinth on the floor of the church, probably symbolizes the labyrinth of the Minotaur in Crete, because it was the work of Daedalus, who is considered the father of architecture. The shape of the labyrinth was the  symbol of Daedalus, and the intent of the medieval architects was to remind of the praised father of all architects.
          Sometimes the labyrinth served as a substitute for pilgrimage to Jerusalem and hence its nickname "Roads to Jerusalem" (in French: "Chemins de Jerusalem"). When the labyrinth was used for repentance, believers would walk on it on their knees.
         In its location, the labyrinth is associated with the nave and choir. The pilgrim, who enters the church through the main gate finds that the labyrinth "blocks" his way in the passage from the western end of the church to its eastern end. This occurs when the chairs are not hiding the drawing of the labyrinth on the floor, and assuming that the pilgrim is aware of this "blocking".
       Some see the labyrinth as an expression of the long, winding journey that man goes through sometimes before he is ready to turn to God. This trip can be seen as a journey towards a spiritual union - an inner pilgrimage. In this sense, it is the homecoming to God, who is waiting patiently and lovingly to the return of his son, an image associated with the prodigal son. The pleasures of the world cannot meet his needs, and his thoughts direct him back to his home.
        The labyrinth of Amiens Cathedral was octagonal in shape. It was removed in 1825 because of the noise that the children made playing on it and disturbing the worship, and was replaced during the years 1894-1897. The central stones with the labyrinth designs have not survived, but there are texts that describe them. On the labyrinth in Amiens it was inscribed:
"In the year of grace 1220 this work first began. At that time
the bishop of this diocese was Evrard
blessed bishop. The king of France
was Louis who was the son of Philip the wise.
He who was master of the work was Master Robert de Luzarches. Master Thomas de Cormont was after him and afterwards his son Master Renaud,
who had this inscription placed at this place in the year of the incarnation 1288. "
           In Chartres Cathedral, the labyrinth (c.1200) which was circle-shaped about 13 m in diameter, extended to the full width of the nave, and the ways in the labyrinth are arranged in concentric shape. In the center is designed a rosette, a motif rich in symbolic meanings, including the meaning of enlightenment.

      Reims labyrinth has not survived, but we know it from drawings and documents. It had a general form of a square with a bulge at each corner of the   square. On these corners, there were portraits of the architects-builders. Jean d'Orbais is shown in the upper right corner of the drawing with a compass in his hand. He began building the choir in 1211.  Jean DeLoup apparently holding a square ruler in the upper left corner, finished building the choir and transept, and began building the façade. He died in 1247. Gauchet De Reims who is shown in the lower left corner, continued building the façade  from 1247 to 1255. Bernard De Soisson who appears at the bottom right, is seen drawing a rose window on the floor with a large compass. He built the great rose window on the western façade during the years 1255-1290. Robert De Courcy, who began the construction of the towers in 1290, is the architect presented in the place of honor in the center of the labyrinth. This architect was probably responsible for placing the floorboard with the portraits of his predecessors.

Image - The labyrinth of Reims

          Villard de Honnecourt
         An architect, whose drawings served as a model for Gothic builders, was Villard de Honnecourt from Cambrai in northern France. His drawings book describes the construction work, the technical process, and the artistic composition in the Gothic style. Villard de Honnecourt was active in the thirties of the 13th century, during the completion of the construction of Chartres cathedral and at a time when the cathedrals of Reims, Cambrai and Amiens were under construction. His book was designed for professional architects. In one of the pages, he suggests how to determine the height of a tower and how to build an arch. Apparently, inspired by Vitruvius, he wrote that an architect should have knowledge in the medical field.
           Apart from architectural drawings, the book of Villard de Honnecourt includes drawings of the crucifixion of Jesus, the Madonna, the personification of arrogance and humility, the triumphant church, Wheel of Fortune and more. In the book are also found drawings of boxers, men riding horses and the king with his entourage.            
       Approximately, 168 drawings of animals, some realistic and some imaginary, are presented too, in the book. As someone who was interested in taming lions, Villard de Honnecourt drew a lion tamer with dogs.

Image - A page of drawings from the book of Villard de Honnecourt

       Honnecourt's book, like all medieval text that discussed construction, also engaged in geometry. According to him, the divided square is the basis of art. Some of his drawings show plans that were not built, but we can learn from them about the basic characteristics of cathedrals architecture of his time. His drawings show the tracery window at the Cathedral of Reims, one of the most significant innovations in the vocabulary of the architecture of the cathedrals, which is perceived as very important in the history of architecture. Among other things, Honecourt drew the rose window of Chartres cathedral with slight alterations, and the tower on the western façade of Laon. This book of drawings, which accompanied Villard de Honnecourt in his travels, only partly survived, and is now found in the National Library in Paris

             New Records of Height
          Apart from being much occupied with modules and proportions, architects of cathedrals were also practicing absolute sizes of height of cathedrals. They sought to reach new peaks of height.
         Since the building of Notre-Dame de Paris in 1163, with a vault reaching a height of 33 m, began a kind of race of building to new heights. Religious architecture lost proportions and led to disasters. The vaults of Chartres Cathedral towered 37 m, and Reims Cathedral vaults rose to a height of 38 m.
        In 1220 the vaults of the Cathedral of Amiens reached a height of 43.2 meters. Finally, in 1225, the vaults of Beauvais Cathedral reached a height of 48 m, almost twice the height of the Church of Salisbury, England. It was the tallest structure ever built until then in Western Europe, and the most ambitious project of the Gothic style at its peak. In 1284, the vault of the choir in Beauvais whose construction was completed in 1272, collapsed and it was required to reinforce the structure by coupling the columns. One reason for the collapse of the choir was using poor quality stone that could not withstand the pressure from the structure. A tower reaching 151 m in Beauvais cathedral was built during the years 1558-1569, but collapsed in 1773, and has never been rebuilt. The nave of Beauvais has never been completed after the collapse of its vault in 1284. All that remains in this cathedral is the transept and the choir. Beauvais crossed the limits of possibilities of building to heights and reached the final stage of the art of building cathedrals.
         There were many explanations to the disastrous collapse in Beauvais' Cathedral. An attempt was made, among others, to create a connection between the collapse and the excessive pride of the builders who wanted to build a new Tower of Babel. In the 19th century, Violet le Duc saw in the collapse in Beauvais a turning point in the development of the Gothic style. From that moment on, he thought, imagination begins to make room for calculations. This was, according to him, an expression of art that reached maturity and was based on experience and calculation. Le Duc believed that the essence of Gothic architecture lied in rational and scientific approach.

Flamboyant Style in French Civil Architecture
         The Gothic style gradually became more picturesque. New architecture was born with reduced dimensions, and a purely decorative style, the style known as "flamboyant style", began in the late 13th century, and was characterized by an abundance of ornaments resembling flames, hence its name.
         The increase in importance of the bourgeoisie at the end of the Middle Ages led to the development of public and secular architecture. This style of religious architecture was  implemented in the late Middle Ages in the buildings of the nobility and the bourgeoisie, as it developed in military architecture.
        Palaces and castles (chateaux) of the nobles were built in the Gothic style. Their basic shape was four wings grouped around a rectangular square, and four powerful towers at the corners. Naturally, a castle as a fortress would not be influenced by the Gothic tendency to create skeletal structure. Likewise, decoration was limited.
         Civil construction during the 14th and 15th centuries, private, and public houses became the most magnificent and were designed in the flamboyant style. This style, which drew inspiration from the English Gothic architecture,  reached a peak of decoration. Decorative traceries, plenty of turrets, ornate reliefs and niches were  incorporated into it. The purpose of the architect was to hide the structural supports. Much attention has been paid to the building's appearance, be it religious or secular.
           A new concept of light is associated with this decorative architecture. The dark colors of the stain glass, which dominated the high Gothic style,   disappeared, and was replaced by large windows, flooding the interior with light.
          The Gothic palaces were built at a time when Renaissance style flowered in Italy, and palaces such as Palazzo Medici and Palazzo Rucellai were built for the Italian noble families in Florence  .

            The House of Jacques Coeur
          Urban houses of the nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie were numerous. Their appearance usually resembled a fortress, but the inner courtyard where wealth was presented combined sculpture and architectural ornaments. Such is the contrast that we find in the house of Jaques Coeur (1400-1456), built during the years 1442-1453, in the city of Bourges, France. Jacques Coeur was a rich bourgeois, a financier whose motto "To a valiant heart, nothing is impossible" (in French, "Coeur" literally means "heart"), was carved in the magnificent rooms of the house.
      Ironically, reality indeed proved that nothing was impossible, but not in the spirit of Jacques Coeur's intention, who has never moved to  the house because in 1451 King Charles the seventh suddenly arrested him, confiscated his property, and threw him in jail. Two years later, the rich bourgeois was sentenced to death and his sentence was mitigated with the papal intervention. These events occurred while the relations between Jacques Coeur and the king were the best, and after Jacques Coeur lent the king in 1449 sums of money that helped him return to power.
        The house of Jacques Coeur presents a particularly elegant example of a civil palace with a chapel as an integral part of it. The Gothic character of the house is reflected in the roofs and pointed turrets sometimes reaching more than half the height of the wall. Likewise, the Gothic style is reflected in the tracery windows, a decoration reminiscent of the flamboyant style in churches.
     This elegant house reflects the power of art to create illusions. The saints appearing in the façades  of the cathedrals, are replaced in the house of Jacques Coeur, with statues of servants waiting forever for their master whose sculpted figure is seen peering out the window.

        The Palace of the Popes in Avignon
            One of the most fortified palaces that were built in France, is the palace of the Popes in Avignon (1335-1352), which was built by Popes Benedict the 12th (served 1334-1342), and Clement VI (served 1342-1352).
          When Pope Clement V came to Avignon and was received by the Dominicans, he was not going to make Avignon a place of permanent residence, nor create a new capital to Christianity in Avignon, but this was the city's role since. Choosing Avignon as the capital of Christianity was the result of political events. The Pope did not want to get caught between the opposing schisms and be subject to uprisings and riots.
         During the first period in Avignon, between the years 1309-1376, six popes lived in Avignon. These 67 years have left their mark in the city whose population has grown significantly, and reached 40,000 people. Thus, Avignon became one of Europe's largest cities.
The construction of the Popes' Palace, a colossal fortified structure, raised the prestige of the city, which reached its peak when Pope Clement VI bought the city from the Queen Jeanne for 80,000 florins of gold.
      The palace of the Popes in Avignon was the largest Gothic palace built in Europe during the Middle Ages. Jean Froissart. A chronicler of medieval France called it "the most beautiful and fortified house in the world". The rigid architecture and decoration inside the palace bear witness to its glorious past.
The general structure of the palace consists of four main wings surrounding a rectangular courtyard. The only elements that create a division of the wall are niches with flat and high arches that surround the building whose outer walls are jagged.
         For a hundred years, the Popes lived in the palace until Rome returned to be the capital of Christendom. Throughout the city of Avignon, cardinals built homes competing their beauty and splendor.

        The Palace of Justice (Palais de Justice) in Rouen
       The Palace of Justice in Rouen, whose construction began in 1482 and continued in the early 16th century, presents an example of Gothic structure in the flamboyant style in northern France.
The division of the palace's wall is asymmetric and the decoration is influenced by English architecture. The arches of the windows in the main floor, and in the roof were designed in Tudor style. They are flattened with a pointed area in the center. On the ground floor, there are handles-shaped arches. These two types of arches first appeared in England and reached the mainland with the flamboyant Gothic style.

        In the Roofs can be seen an exaggerated amount of turrets, tracery decorations and flying buttresses, so that the windows themselves are lost in all this decoration. The roof's height, as in many Gothic palaces of this period, was more than half the height of the wall of the building.

       English Gothic Architecture
       Unlike French cathedrals, English Gothic cathedrals are moderate in height, and narrower. The transepts of the English Gothic cathedrals, unlike the French, are always noticeably sticking out from the nave at the sides. The central tower is very emphasized, and the eastern end of the church is square-shaped and serves as a substitute for Romanesque ambulatory. Rarely, the western towers competed with the central tower. The western façade was highlighted, but generally less than in France. The entrance with three gates was not customary.
          In most English Gothic cathedrals, unlike in the French Gothic churches, the English cathedrals' main entrance was not through the western doors, but through a side door, which had the most beautiful decoration.
         The English Gothic church was relatively isolated. About half of the English churches were founded by the monasteries. The parish churches borrowed their character from the monastery churches, building in them a chapter house and cloister. Besides being a place of worship, the English churches served as fortresses against barbaric tribes.
         In the 14th century, England began to build a chantry chapel designed for holding a Requiem in the church. After the Black Death outbreak, there was a need to express strong faith, and a special meaning was attached to the memory of the deceased. According to medieval belief, the arrival of the souls of the dead to heaven depended on the prayers made for them by the living left behind.     
        While still alive, many believers have paid for many Masses that were supposed to be read or chanted, in a particular church, and particular altar after their death. The word chantry derives from the Latin word "cantaria", meaning "Requiem."    
          The richest families afforded to build their own chapels in the memory of their dead relatives. These contained the graves of the dead and the altar. Across the continent, these chapels were built along the side of the naves in the large churches. In England, since the second half of the 14th century, such chapels were built as small separate edifices in the center of the church, in the shape of "a stone cage".

         It is customary to divide the period of Gothic architecture in England into three sub-periods:
Early Gothic period -  1170-1240.
Decorated style - 1240-1340.
Perpendicular style, which is the longest - 1340-1530.

         Early Gothic Style in England
         The Gothic style came to England through the Cistercian order whose Romanesque churches in Burgundy served as its inspiration. The round arches of English architecture began to be replaced by pointed arches. When the galleries were gone, the clerestory was taller, and the windows became larger. The entire interior of the church has changed, and the dim light has turned into glowing light.
        The most striking feature of early Gothic architecture (1170-1240) vs. Norman architecture is the pointed arch. The simple supports of the Norman architecture gave way to flying buttresses
absorbing the pressure from the weight of the roofs and walls. Tall sheaves of columns, often built of marble, have replaced the Norman massive pillars. Column capitals were decorated mostly with reliefs. The appearance of the chisel allowed a high degree of creative control.
       Other features of the early Gothic English style are an emphasis on simple lines with fine proportions and preference for fancy decoration, ribbed quadripartite vaults, tall towers, and lancet windows in singles or groups.
       One of the earliest monuments in the Gothic style in England is Canterbury Cathedral. In 1170, Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered (1118-1170) at the center of Canterbury Cathedral by the King Henry II. Soon after the murder, going to the grave has been institutionalized, and in 1173, the Pope declared him a saint. Years later the cathedral was burned (some considered it intentional). Rebuilding the choir led to one of the most impressive projects built in England for a long time. The architect who won the competition to build the new church was the French architect William of Sens who began the work in 1174, and had brought to the British island the building shapes from France. Canterbury Cathedral was revolutionary in England, equally revolutionary as Saint Denis in France. In the city of Sens, where William the architect came from, a new cathedral began to be built thirty years before the work started in Canterbury. Hence, the elements in Canterbury Cathedral, which are affected by the Cathedral in Sens.
        A unique English Gothic style began in the construction of the cathedrals of Wells (1175-1239) and Lincoln (1192-1280), which placed an emphasis on straight horizontal lines and planar eastern walls (without radiating chapels). Lincoln Cathedral was rebuilt with a double transept, after being severely damaged by an earthquake.
         Very impressive and most important among the churches of England during this period was Salisbury Cathedral, which was built during the years 1226-1270 and was dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus. This is the only English Gothic cathedral built according to plan, on virgin soil. Compared to its earlier structure that was located on a hill near the royal castle, the new cathedral was built in the valley, against a green field. Its longitudinal shape is distinctly English.

Image - Salisbury Cathedral

                The construction of Salisbury Cathedral began at the same year of the beginning of Amiens Cathedral construction. Salisbury Cathedral seems considerably longer than Amiens Cathedral although they are identical in length, reaching around 150 m. The different impression derives from the fact that Salisbury Cathedral is narrower, with emphasized horizontal lines, while in Amiens  the assemblage is dominated by vertical lines.

Image - The nave of Salisbury cathedral.

        Salisbury cathedral has heavy walls supporting the arches. Here we do not find the skeletal structure, which characterizes the French Gothic cathedrals. The division of the wall, the arcade, triforium, and clerestory, are highlighted by separating horizontal bars. The double transept cathedral is a phenomenon, which was rare in France. The double transept idea came, in fact, from Cluny. Since the 11th century, there were close relations between the Burgundy monasteries and the English ones.

Image - Ground plan of Salisbury Cathedral

           Both in the exterior and interior design, in Salisbury Cathedral there is a prominent emphasis on horizontal lines. The round Norman arch developed here into a pointed arch that turned the  building into a Gothic structure. The lancet windows create a sense of order, simplicity, and even monotony. The rib vaults are quadripartite. Originally, the stained glass of the cathedral were in dark and strong colors. In the 14th century, a tower dominating the complex was built in the intersection area, 123 m in height. Since then, almost nothing has changed in the cathedral, and it serves as a representative example of early Gothic English cathedrals.
        The great English cathedrals tended to be much shorter than the great contemporary French cathedrals. The division of the nave's wall into three horizontal zones - arcade, triforium, and clerestory, appears both in English and French cathedrals, but in the English cathedral, there is a clearer separation between the wall zones by highlighted horizontal lines.

         The Decorated Style in England

        The desire for rich decoration brought a change in the nature of architecture and the formation of a new style called "the decorated style" or the "flamboyant style" (1240-1340). The flying buttresses reduced the areas of the wall and magnificent tracery windows were designed. The windows became larger (in the choir of Lincoln Cathedral, they reach a height 18 m) and narrow lancet windows were grouped together under one broad arch. The lancet windows ranging from about 30 cm to 60 cm in width, were separated from each other by stone mullions. The stone which was widely used for strengthening the metal frame of the window, formed graceful decorations in the tracery windows. Decoration in stone was more flourishing and diverse, and the stain glass became more colorful.
        Artistic inventions were the focus of interest of architects in this style. Embossed leaves adorn the capitals and the gates. Wavy lines that were one of the prominent features of the decorative style replaced simple geometric forms that characterized the early English Gothic style.
        Compared to the French Gothic style at its height, which was dominated by an intellectual approach, the English Gothic style was rich in decorative detail. The vaults of the nave display its decorative wealth. Multiple lines beside arcades and arches, and sheaves of columns branching toward the vaults, distinguished the decorated English Gothic style from the early Gothic style.      
         In the focal point of the rib vaults were  featured grotesque faces, leaves and more. Among the patterns of leaves could be found leaves of ivy, oak, rose and vine. Such leaves were incorporated into a naturalistic decoration with reliefs of animals, birds and human figures. Likewise, there were decorations in shapes reminiscent of algae. Leaf shaped reliefs also covered tombs and monuments within the church.
        Unlike the early English Gothic style where the emphasis was on structure, in the decorative Gothic style, ornament occupies a more important place than the structure. Double S shapes, curved and reverse S shapes, and decorative tracery characterize the ornaments of windows.
          The decorative style shows preference for  unexpected shapes, especially diagonal. The design here is more flexible than it was in the early English Gothic style.
           The center of the decorative style was in the south - west of England. The first building of this style was Exeter Cathedral, which was renwed from west to east during the years 1280-1286. The interior was relatively small and dominated by a low vault. The windows were decorated with rich lattice design. During the years 1316-1342, worked in the church one of the most creative people of his time - Tomas of Witney, who was responsible for completing the construction of the western façade, and the furnishings of the choir. The flat façade has a large central window with rich decoration. The sculptures on the façade are a later addition dating to the 14th and 15th centuries.

         The decorative style can also be found in the Chapter House of Wells Cathedral, the Chapel of the Virgin in Ely Cathedral, in the choir of Lincoln Cathedral (1256-1320), in the nave, western façade and the Chapter House of York Minster, the nave of Lichfield Cathedral and at the choir of the Cathedral of St. Albans.
      The decorative style was directly inspired by the French flamboyant style.

       The Perpendicular Gothic Style in England
      During the decorative style, the perpendicular (literally "vertical line") style (1340-1530) whose name indicates its main feature - a vertical line, began to develop and played a significant role in structure, as in decoration. Emphasis on the vertical nave is expressed particularly in high arcades and high slender pillars. Another feature is the large tracery windows. The perpendicular style was a response to the excessively decorative style.
         Some associate the turning away from exaggerated ornament, with the disasters that brought the Black Death during the years 1348-1349. There were fewer builders available, and the dominating atmosphere was that of gloom and regret. Decoration was reduced in favor of straight and angular lines with an emphasis on vertical lines.
Decorative character did not completely disappear from the cathedrals. It was reflected in the vaults, which were shaped like fans - a phenomenon unique to the English Gothic architecture. The walls have been reduced to a minimum, creating a wonderful sense of light and space inside the building.
          The perpendicular style started in Lincoln Cathedral (1335). In Gloucester Cathedral (1337-1367), one giant window opens to the east and replaces the wall of the choir reaching the height of the vault. The tracery windows include lancet windows moving toward the vaults.
         Victorian Scholars contended that the perpendicular style was invented in the eastern part of Gloucester Cathedral, where it broke out, as Athena broke out from Zeus' head, into the surprised world. The real story is more complex. There were the previous British buildings where the perpendicular elements were tested.

Image - The Gloucester Cathedral Choir

       Arches, gates, and the top of the windows in the perpendicular style tended to be sharp at first. Over time, the arches became more flat and less pointed.
      Later churches which were built in the perpendicular style were Kings College Chapel, Cambridge (1446-1515) and Henry VII's Chapel in Westminster Abbey (1503-1519) where Henry VII is buried. In these churches, the vaults are fan vaults, unlike the Church of Gloucester, in which there are ribbed vaults. From a technical and artistic perspective, the English Gothic style of fan vaults of which many were built in wood, displays  wonderful masterpieces.

Along with enlarging the windows, and the increase in importance of the Church of England, we have witnessed the development of stained glass art, as in France. In the 15th century, there were, in most churches in England, various magnificent stained glass windows.

       Italian Gothic Architecture
      The vivid Italian Romanesque, which fed on classic roots, received the French Gothic style coldly. Since the basilica churches in early Christianity, the essence of Italian architecture was reflected in the balance of proportions based on human scale. The vertical orientation and skeletal structure that we found in the Gothic style in France, were strangers to Italy.
      The only Gothic elements adopted by the Italian Gothic cathedral, were usually decorative elements. Italian Gothic cathedrals generally have flat ceilings and relatively wide and low nave, without triforium. The windows remain small, and the wall surface is large.
        In the Italian Gothic cathedrals, there are certain structural elements, such as the pointed arch, sheaves of columns, and sometimes crossed and ribbed vaults. However, the Italian architects placed limits on the vertical symbolism.
        The Gothic style that developed in Italy, is an independent style contrary to the spirit of the French Gothic style. Byzantine style marble covered the exterior and interior walls of the cathedrals, which were built in bricks, as seen in the cathedrals of Siena, Florence, and Orvieto.
         The Cistercian monks, whose cathedrals put an emphasis on simplicity and modesty, were the first who introduced the Gothic forms to Italy. Their influence can be seen in the small windows and simple decoration.
                The architectural character of the Gothic churches in Italy was largely inspired by the ideologies of the new orders.  In 1209, St. Francis founded the Franciscan Order in Assisi, and in 1215, St. Dominic founded the order of Dominicans in central France. These both orders advocated severe asceticism and absolute poverty, following the example of Jesus. In the 12th century, the Cistercians had already obeyed similar rules. From the ascetic ideal were born rough-looking monasteries without ornament. Soon after, the simplicity of their buildings from the 13th century gave way to the rich architecture of Gothic cathedrals.
         Giving up the pleasures of the world found a new meaning in the Franciscan and Dominican orders. Compared to the Cistercian Order, for which the relinquishment of pleasures of the world was interpreted as the retreat from the world, the Franciscan and Dominican monasteries began to build monasteries and churches of their own, and settled in areas that suited them best, in the cities, in the poor districts where they found fertile ground for their preaching.
         Due to the importance of preaching for these orders, their churches were large and their naves were broad as possible, to fit large audiences. The surface of the walls was decorated with paintings, fresco cycles, which combined with the sermons, have been used as a visual aid for the faithful. The vaulted choir, like in the Cistercian churches, was long and narrow, and ended with a polygonal apse.  The part designated for the faithful who were not part of the clergy, was separated from the choir. Rarely a transept is found in these churches.
          The orders that encouraged poverty were simple and with almost no ornaments. In their churches, there were no towers, but only one small tower, a spire in the choir.
          The Franciscan and Dominican orders were rivals and both sought to increase their influence. While the Franciscans turned to the believers' feelings, the Dominicans emphasized the intellectual approach to faith, which was reflected in their connection with the universities. Compared to the Dominican structures, the Franciscan structures are simple looking.
       In 1226, St. Francis decided to build a church expressing the sanctity of poverty. Rules were set for building Franciscan churches, and they were the following: a vault in the choir only above the altar, no statues, and a ban on building belfries. Likewise, according to the rules, the church should be marked by a severe and simple look. The paintings on the walls, depicting the lives of the saints, play an important role. They are not only decorative, but also teach the faithful, reminding them the sermons.

          The Church of St. Francis in Assisi
         Immediately after the death of St. Francis in 1228, construction of his church began in Assisi. It was the mother Church of the Franciscan Order, which opened a new era in architecture and historic culture of Italy. The church was established as a burial structure for St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) who in his death was announced a saint in Assisi. The church was dedicated to him in 1253. According to the descriptions of his life in Christian literature, St. Francis lived in poverty and humility with compassion for all creatures, giving up the pleasures of the world.
       The church of St. Francis in Assisi was built on two levels with a nave and without side aisles and transept and with polygonal choir. The lower floor was dim, being Romanesque in style, and the upper one was the first example of Italian Gothic architecture. It is referred to as a Gothic church because of the many Gothic elements found inside it such as the lines flowing upwards, the much light  entering into it, the pointed arches and ribbed vaults. All these elements have made it a model for the architecture of Gothic churches all over Italy.

Image - St. Francis in Assisi, interior

           In fact, the spirit rising from the upper floor of St. Francis of Assisi is Romanesque rather than  Gothic. Instead of stained glass, there are cycles of paintings on the walls. Giotto (some think that it is not his work) and others painted the cycle of paintings in this floor describing St. Francis' life.
          The church's bell tower is from the 11th and 12th centuries and its style is Lombardian.
          In recent years, an effort was made to restore the church building and its artistic treasures, which were badly damaged by an earthquake.

             The Church of Santa Maria Novella
        The Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence (1278-1360), which was built in c.900 instead of  the church of Santa Maria della Vigna, has set new standards for the construction of churches in Italy. Here is adopted the ground plan of the Cistercian churches where the nave and the  side aisles are arranged with quadratic chapels, and  the square choir with a flat ceiling replaces the apse.

Image- Santa Maria Novella. Interior of the church

        The only Gothic element that is prominent in the church is the crossed vaults in the nave, highlighted by marbles in black and white. The pillars supporting the arcades are slender, and half columns are attached to them. The lines flowing uninterrupted from the floor to the center tops of the vaults contribute to the sense of verticality. The window flooding the eastern end of the cathedral with light, displays another Gothic element in the church, but these windows are round-arch shaped rather than pointed-arch shaped, which is more typical of the Gothic style.
        The division of the wall is innovative and unique. Relatively high side aisles leave little room for a clerestory. There is no indication of separation between the arcade and the wall above it where oculi (round windows) are located instead of pointed Gothic windows which were customary in  France.
     The façade of the church was built during the years 1439-1442 by Alberti.

        The Church of Santa Croce
        In 1295, Arnolfo Di Cambio (1245-1302) planned the Franciscan church of Santa Croce, which was the largest Franciscan church in Florence (138 m in length and 39 m in width). Construction took a long time and ended only in 1442. Vasari wrote in his book that Arnolfo Di Cambio was widely considered the best architect in Tuscany. He built the outer walls of Florence in 1284, churches, and many monasteries in the city.


Image - Santa Croce - looking toward the apse
         Santa Croce combined Gothic style with Franciscan simplicity. Under the influence of the Cistercian order, the Church of Santa Croce has a very simple basilica plan in which there is a nave with two side aisles, transept, and a short polygonal choir much narrower than the nave. Like in the design of churches from the early Christian basilica, the triumphal arch separates the choir and the nave.       
         Octagonal pillars replace the complex pillars, which we found in Santa Maria Novella. Here, influenced by local Tuscan tradition, the roof is built of wood and eliminates the need for heavy pillars. The walls are full and there is no room for stain glass. The Gothic influence is evident in the high inner space and the bright light that enters the church through the large group of windows at the eastern end of the church.
       Five rectangular chapels open on each side of the transept to the east. This is inspired by the formula adopted by the Cistercians. The construction of chapels was financed by families of bankers, who have established for themselves monuments in the form of frescoes of Giotto, Gaddi, and other artists.
         The Franciscans were well aware of the gap between the spiritual heritage of their founder, which was based on the poverty and simplicity, and their association with wealth and power. However, Santa Croce was built at great cost. The aspiration of the church is expressed in its great dimensions, and its interior is clear and marked by simple decoration. The only decorative elements are pilasters growing from the capitals of pillars and the dividing line between the arcade and the clerestory, emphasizing the horizontal direction.
         The façade of Santa Croce was restored during the years 1857-1863.

           Siena Cathedral
         Siena Cathedral was built by Arnolfo di Cambio during the years 1284-1299. The upper part of the cathedral was completed in the 14th century. The nave was initially designed in Siena Cathedral (1245) as a transept of a larger cathedral, but because of the plague from 1348, the original plan has never been completed.

Image - The Cathedral of Siena

        The cathedral was built in Italian Gothic-style, and is part of the city plan. Its façade is decorated with zebra-colored marble, and with no structural innovation. It was built at the same time when  Amiens Cathedral was built in France. The western façade was designed by Giovanni Pisano (1250-1314), an artist who was familiar with the French architecture. We can see the influence of the western Gothic façades on the façade of the Cathedral of Siena, but unlike them, here there are no towers, such as in the French Gothic cathedrals. The arches of the gates on the western façade are circular rather than pointed as we found in the French Gothic cathedrals. Coating the church with black and white marble, and the separated bell tower were borrowed from the Italian Romanesque heritage.
        The three gates, which are at the same height, the gables, blind arcades, rose window and many towers, make up the façade. Most of these elements serve for dividing the façade rather than for functional purpose. The vertical and horizontal lines are designed in a balanced way, and contribute to a sense of stability.

                Orvieto Cathedral
      The cathedral of Orvieto (1290-1500), also designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, was built under the patronage of the Pope. The façade of the cathedral was designed by Lorenzo Maitani in the 14th century, drawing inspiration from the Cathedral of Siena. The picturesque impression of the façade is achieved by colorful mosaics.
Image - Orvieto Cathedral , facade

     Figure columns of the typical French Gothic gate, have never been adopted by the Italians. Here, instead of these, Romanesque forms of architectural sculpture cover the wall's surface. Lorenzo Maitani (in c.1320) covered the wide pilasters between the gates, with reliefs of whose existence, the believers were aware, only when they got close to it. On the southernmost pilaster is displayed the torture of the damned reminiscent of the façades of the Romanesque churches where the Last Judgment is depicted in sculpture.
          Here, as in Santa Croce, the church roof was built of wood.

           Milan Cathedral
          Extraordinary Gothic cathedral is the Cathedral of Milan in Italy (1386 to the 15th  century) whose character is closer to that of the French Gothic cathedrals. The construction entrepreneur Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1351-1402) was the sole ruler, the first Duke of Milan after the murder of his uncle in 1385. Under his rule, there was a time of prosperity which was considered a golden age of Milan, and he built a cathedral designed to compete with the great Gothic cathedrals.
Image - Milan Cathedral , facade

           Milan Cathedral had been the largest church in Europe until the church of San Peter's in Rome was rebuilt. Local builders of Milan Cathedral encountered difficulties during the construction, and consulted with French and German builders who were more familiar with Gothic construction principles. It became a cosmopolitan cathedral   made by Italian, French, and German architects, a fact, which justifies, in this case, the name of the style known as "International Gothic".
         In Milan Cathedral plan, there are a nave with two side aisles on each side, transept with side aisles, and polygonal choir with an ambulatory reminiscent of the great northern cathedrals. In the façade of the cathedral can be seen a clear geometric division, introducing the internal division with the nave flanked by the side aisles.
        This cathedral, which is stranger to Italy in its character, is "the most Gothic" of all Italian cathedrals. Pillars made of sheaves of columns support pointed vaults, barely lit by small windows on the top floor. In this church can be found the effect of the decorative flamboyant style. Like the gothic cathedrals built in France, the cathedral's contours fit the space around them, and create an impression of melting in space by using delicate leaves that grow out of them.
        As mentioned earlier, Gothic architecture had classical roots. A drawing of the Cathedral of Milan, which was drawn by Cesariano, shows the connection between the structure of the Gothic cathedral and the method of Plato's triangles, and thus presents the relations between Gothic style and antiquity.
 Image - A drawing of Cesare Cesariano showing the Cathedral of Milan as consisting of squares, triangles, and circles, 1521
             Civil Gothic Building in Italy
         When the early cities became self-governing communities, the main building in the city was the city hall, which, first appeared in the 12th century and many such buildings were built in the 13th century. In France, only in the late 15th century there were many municipal buildings. Until this period, residents usually gathered in churches and monasteries to discuss their matters. The most typical town hall in the cities of France was a two - story building. The first floor was a large hall usually designed for public meetings, court proceedings, etc. On days of public celebrations, or during an emergency, citizens would be called by the bell tower of the city hall, whose sound was heard throughout the city.
        Major cities in Lombardy and Tuscan, for the most part, built their city halls in the 12th century (Pisa in 1162), and expanded them in the 13th century. In several cities, the Roman forum site survived as a square, and provided a suitable platform for a municipal palace. Such continuity can be found in Todi and Assisi.

         Palazzo Vecchio
       In Italy, the cities, which were separate governmental entities, constantly fought each other and naturally, the town hall took a shape of a castle. Elegance was sacrificed for the sake of security. Palazzo Vecchio (literally: "old palace" or               "ancient palace") (1299-1310) the government building in Florence, which was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, is a clear example of this.


Image - Palazzo Vecchio

        Originally, a palace was built in this site in 1200, but was destroyed in 1235. The new City Hall construction began in 1299. The municipal palace symbolized the power and influence of the family that built it. During this period rival families tried to rise above each other in their accomplishments, and the new palace was named after its predecessor, Palazzo Vecchio, which was perceived as a victory for the Uberti family whose palace was demolished to make room for the new palace and the piazza della Signoria, where it was built.
       This building, where the authorities were located, was prominent throughout the city. It was built of local stone in a shape of a jagged box with a high tower, and with an inner courtyard. Its fortified appearance is achieved by a coarse rustication (rough surface made of squared block masonry, with clearly seen joints) on the exterior wall. The jagged appearance at the top of the structure and tower reinforces the sense of fortification.
            At the top of the tower, there was an open room on stilts, with a bell, by which the rulers appealed to the residents to gather in case of emergency to protect their city. The tower that was originally built was considered inadequate, and in 1310 was replaced by a tower built on the basis of the existing tower.
           In its severe form, Palazzo Vecchio heralds the Renaissance palace.

                Palazzo Publico in Siena
         In Siena, the town hall (Palazzo Pubblico) (City Hall today) (1297 – 15th century) which was the seat of the ruler (podestà) and of the council, has a fortified look like Palazzo Vecchio, but it looks a bit richer. It is found in the city's main square - Piazza del Campo. Red bricks typical of Siena, were used for building it, and travertine stone was used for building its base. The lower floors were built during the years 1297-1309, and the upper floor was added in the 15th century, but kept the style of the lower floors. The tower here is taller than that of the town hall of Florence. Blind arcade on the ground floor shows the activity of trade at the site.

Image - Palazzo Publico in Siena  

         The windows with stone bars were used as a source of inspiration for other civilian buildings that were built later in Siena.


          The Duke's Palace in Venice
        In Venice, which was very strong and calm, as exemplified by its nickname, "serenissima" (in Italian, literally "the most serene"), one could build a Gothic public building, without the fortified character which we found in Florence. This city has developed a unique style combining Byzantine grace and wealth with western gothic elements. An example of such a successful integration can be seen in the Doge's Palace - Palazzo Ducale, whose façade faces the water. The building was built by the architects Giovanni and Batolomeo Buon during the years 1309-1424 after being rebuilt several times since the ninth century, and had a great impact on civil architecture in Venice.

     Image - The Doge's Palace in Venice  
       The palace was the seat of the Duke and at the same time, there were in the palace many political and social institutions. It is a building rich in decoration, built around a large rectangular courtyard with three wings. Facing the fourth side, is St Mark's Cathedral.
         The building looks like a box, about 152 m in length. On the ground floor, there is a portico with pointed arcades supported by large round pillars. Originally, they stood on the stylobate above three steps. Today they grow from the floor without a base. Above this floor, on the second floor there are arches with columns decorated with great care. Over these both floors, which are completely open arches, the upper floor is massive and its wall is coated with polychromic marble creating ornaments in pink and shades of gray. This floor, with its windows placed in irregular order, appears to be floating above the two floors below. The design of the windows combines Muslim influences with local tradition. On the roof there are delicate ornaments.
       In the corner of the palace is displayed in high relief drunken Noah, beside a winding tree trunk whose branches cast a shadow on him. Noah is supposed to lie under a tree, but the space does not allow it because the relief is part of the corner's pillar and arcade, which are integrating with the architectural structure.

            Ca d'Oro Palace in Venice
        Another palace in Venice, which reflects the peaceful life in the city of Venice, is Ca d'Oro, meaning "Golden House". This name was given to it, because originally, many architectural decorations in the façade were covered with gold. It was a gesture of extravagance without parallel even in the Doge's palace, which was the seat of government in the quiet Republic.
          Ca d'Oro was designed by Giovanni Buono in 1430. The man who commissioned it was the noble Marino Contarini. The Gothic character of the building is reflected in the lace-like skeletal structure, which occupies much of the façade of the building, and the pointed arches with the quadrefoil (four-leaf)-like shapes, which are typical of Gothic style.
      Apart from the Gothic character, we can find in Ca d'Oro Byzantine elements in the capitals of columns in the arcades, and Romanesque elements in the architectural decoration.

Image - Ca d'Oro in Venice

      The Legacy of Gothic Architecture
    Gothic architecture heralds modern architecture. Gothic characteristics that we find in modern architecture are: skeletal structure, transparency, and the emphasis on the power of line which was adopted by the movement of Art Nouveau, and which can be clearly seen in the works of Victor Horta in Brussels.
        Gothic architecture also left behind a vertical orientation that we find in the modern era sky scrapers. The aspiration to reach records of height is prevalent today, as it was in the Gothic period.
       Another element that modern times inherited from the Gothic style is asymmetric approach that is found in Chartres and in Palacio Vecchio. In modern times, many asymmetric buildings were built, including buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mendelsohn, Gerriet Rietveld and others.
        Many twentieth-century architectural designs were based on basic shapes, such as triangles, which we found in Gothic churches under the influence of Pythagoras and the Greek philosophers.
       In twentieth century architecture, the basic shapes appear as part of modular systems. The idea of tetrahedron that we found in Milan Cathedral reappears in another way in the geodesic dome, which was designed by Buckminster Fuller in the 20th century.

               The Medieval City

            Cities in Middle Ages were centers of religious worship. Most of the streets led to the cathedral or church of the city, which for both practical and symbolic reasons, was usually placed in the city center.
       Cathedrals were large and dominated the urban landscape. In most cases, they were elevated largely above the buildings around them. This can be seen even today in the towns that preserved their medieval character.
         The choir of St. Pierre de Beauvais Cathedral was such an example. The difference between the height of church towers and the houses around them symbolized the difference between the sacred and the profane.
        Only Cities could support the priests. The bourgeoisie saw the cathedral structure as "theirs". In Chartres Cathedral, each stained glass praised the economic activity of the body that funded it. In France, Spain, and England, the word "cathedral" is used for describing a church in which the seat of the bishop is found. In Germany and Italy, there is no such distinction. In Germany, the terms are "Dom" or "Munster", and in Italy "Il Duomo".
        Each medieval city had a patron saint (a tradition that continues even today) or patron saints, as each city in antiquity had a patron god. St. Mark is the patron saint of the city of Venice, St. Ambrogio is the patron saint of Milan, Florence is the city of Saint John, St. Peter is the patron saint of Rome, St.Denis and St. Genviève are the patron saints of Paris and Ulric is the patron saint of Augsburg. Each patron god had a cathedral dedicated to him. When it came to St. John, baptisteries were dedicated to him.
             The cathedral, besides being a religious center, was the focus of social and economic activity. To this contributed the fact that the church was the only large public building in the city. Its area became both a kind of agora and acropolis.       
        In Chartres Cathedral, various kinds of goods were sold under license from the authorities, in each gate of the church. Wine was sold in the church's basement, to avoid taxes. Likewise, a workers market was held in the church where certain artisans could be hired. With all these activities, to which was added the reception of the pilgrims and hosting them, the interior of the church became an urban space, no less than the urban space outside.
       The Christian religion was a major factor in the lives of medieval Europeans, which led to excluding the use of some public buildings from the Roman Empire. There was no more justification for the existence of the Circus. Sport was reserved for the aristocracy during the Middle Ages, and was expressed in military training. The attitude to the body changed during early Christianity. There was no place for the baths either, but in late Middle Ages, the baths returned to the urban landscape. In the 13th century, there were no less than 32 public baths in Paris, for men and women, but it was not allowed to use them as brothels. From contemporary miniatures, we can learn that the bath was a meeting place where people would gossip, eat, drink, and have a social life, sometimes with the opposite sex.
          As there were ancient structures that were no longer in use, new types of structures were created as well. A structure not known previously, was the public clock tower, which was a kind of framework for the activities during the day. It announced the time by a bell, and served as the representative of the cosmos as well.
        Public clocks were first introduced in Florence in 1325, and were followed by other cities in Italy. Before the municipal buildings appeared in the urban landscape, the bell tower with the clock, was the only public civil building of the community in the city. In Nuremberg and cities in southern  Germany, the clock counted the hours since sunrise to sunset. The first hour after sunrise, the clock bell rang once and it was 1:00 o'clock in the morning. Thus, the first hour after sunset was 1:00 o'clock at night, and the second time was at 2:00 o'clock, and so on. In a short day, there were 8 hours, and at the night of that day, there were 16 hours. In Nuremberg, the clock worked in this way until 1488.
           Another new type of structures that has been added to the urban landscape was that of charitable institutions, which were built following the strengthening spirit of faith in the Middle Ages. Rich people used to donate out of concern for their spiritual redemption rather than out of concern for others. The rich brought salvation to the poor in this world, and the poor helped the rich to gain redemption in the afterlife.
          As each district in the city had a church, there was also a hospital. In the late 13th century, Toulouse had 13 hospitals and seven special hospitals for lepers. In the late Middle Ages, nursing homes for the elderly appeared. Hostels and inns did not exist in the west at that time. Only convents served as hostels for pilgrims and other passengers.
          Many characteristics of the medieval city vanished with the extensive construction during the period starting in the 17th century and ending in the 20th century. Some of the medieval cities were destroyed, or their walls were destroyed, and some have been changed beyond recognition. Canals became sidewalks, and municipal buildings and churches were rebuilt. Medieval construction had a negative image, which Camillo Sitte tried to fix in late 19th century, and Lewis Mumford in the 20th century, by describing the medieval cities as clean attractive towns.
        When we discuss the medieval cities, we must distinguish between the Byzantine city, which kept its character as a center of commerce, and the city in Western Europe, whose population had dwindled of inhabitants since the fall of the Roman Empire, and came back to life in the 11th and 12th centuries.

           The Byzantine City
     Like in the ancient world, government, administration and cultural life of the Byzantine Empire, centered in the cities. Since the early Byzantine period, the Byzantine rulers invested great effort in improving the quality of life in cities. The city dwellers spent their free time in inns, and sporting events. In inns, they used to play luck games, chess, and backgammon.
         The laws of Theodosius in the fourth century, ordered the provincial rulers to take care of building new walls to cities, or strengthen the the old ones.
        Procopius, in his book "Justinian's Buildings" describes the work done under the rule of Justinian to improve the quality of life in the cities of Mesopotamia. He describes the construction on the ruins of Edessa (today Urfa in Turkey) in Mesopotamia and the creation of a new river channel in order to divert it and prevent the flooding of the city.

        In order to mark the beginning of a new era based on Christian faith, Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire in 326 to the city of Byzantium.  Byzantium was then an ancient Greek colony of a thousand years, on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait, on the junction connecting Europe with Asia, and the Black Sea with the Aegean Sea. Constantine changed the name of Byzantium to "Constantinopol"- literally: "city of Constantine" (Istanbul since 1930).

Image - The map of Contantinople in the 10th centurry

       Protected on three sides by water and on the fourth side by a massive terrestrial fort, Constantinople and the empire survived more than eleven hundred years. Constantinople and the Constantine Empire defended the city by building a wall along its shores in 313. The new outline of the city was five times greater than that of the ancient Byzantium, which was founded in 658 BCE and have known many vicissitudes since. After expanding, Theodosius II built a new line of wall in 414. Water flowed in underground aqueducts that could not be harmed.
         Constantinople was the first Christian city, the only major city in Europe during the Middle Ages, and one of the world's great cities at the time. Its population, at its peak, reached around a million inhabitants, while the second most populous city in Europe numbered 50,000 people. It was a cosmopolitan city where the Greeks were a minority. Its inhabitants were Armenian, Persian, Italian, Syrian, Arab, Ethiopian, Goth, Norman Celt, Russian, Bulgarian, and others. Christian Constantinople invented the ghetto - a section of the city occupied by Jews. This was a precedent of Jewish ghettos, which appeared repeatedly throughout Europe until the 20th century.
        Constantine's ambition was to turn the city into "new Rome", and in order to fulfill it he offered the Romans generous lands for construction and promised them oil, meat and wheat. Thus, some of the population of Rome moved to Byzantium. The walls of the city assured its defense for a thousand years.
        Throughout the Middle Ages, Constantinople was the center of glittering treasures and gold-plated palaces. It served as a model of the luxury world. All this wealth was a result of trade and economic flourishing. Unlike cities in Western - Europe where the population has seen trading as humble occupation, Constantinople was a cosmopolitan city, an industrial, export, and international trade center.
         The city of Constantinople has provided entertainment for its residents. These were expressed in magnificent ceremonies of the emperor and the clergy. Most of all, the hippodrome entertained the citizens of Constantinople. Like Rome during Augustus, jugglers, dancers, and charlatans attracted the people in cities. Life of the Byzantines, after they became Christians, remained similar to that in pagan Rome. Theaters were full, and churches were empty. Theaters presented parodies referring to religious texts, and mocked the cult of the Virgin Mary, who the Conference of Euphesus (431 AD) tried to bring closer to the people. Theaters' favorite theme was adultery, and the actors appeared nude on stage sometimes.
    The real designer of the city of Constantinople was Emperor Justinian (ruled 527-565). During his  reign, there were in Constantinople around 900,000 inhabitants. In the 13th century, the population reached 1.2 million. Only in the 19th century, there was in Europe a city (London) with a population this size. At the end of the rule of Justinian Constantinople was the richest city in Europe. Along the avenues, there were marble columns and statues of marble and bronze.
        Byzantium remained pagan, while its emperors were pious. During the period of Justinian, the three most important buildings in town were close to each other: the Imperial Palace, Church of Hagia Sophia and the hippodrome, where competitions were held. Among these magnificent buildings, in the square, a statue of Justinian stood. They used to say in Byzantium that the hippodrome belonged to the people, the palace belonged to the emperor, and Hagia Sophia to God.
          The palace buildings were built on a layout  of gardens and terraces on different levels with summer pavilions, churches and public halls. From the palace complex there was a direct access into the imperial hippodrome, which was built by Septimus Severus in 200 CE, and expanded during Constantine's rule. Here were held fights between wild animals, riding contests and performances by clowns, jugglers, acrobats, musicians, dwarves, and imitators. The most exciting were the horse racing contests at the hippodrome of Constantinople, where fiery political meetings were also held.
      The hippodrome was the second in importance after Hagia Sophia Church. There were there                       30,000 seats. Its arena was 450 meters in length, and 80 meters in width. Constantine made it bigger and longer reaching around 500 meters. On the separating wall of the hippodrome (spina) stood various monuments, three of which are still standing there today. One of these is the obelisk of Theodosius I, which was brought from the temple of Karnak in Egypt.
         The public buildings were generous gifts of the ruler to his subjects, and at the same time served for glorifying his name. Justinian built more than any other Christian emperor did. Among others, he built hospitals for the poor. To please his wife Theodora, he built a park linking the public baths in a place called Arcadianae with the beach of Marmara Sea. Marble-paved courtyard was built on the beach. It was a large area surrounded by colonnade and roofed by marble. All this space was decorated with bronze statues. People used to go there to enjoy the cool breeze and the view. A statue of Theodora stood above a porphyry column.
in the courtyard.
       Monumental memorial columns were placed around Constantinople. In this city with its topography including mountains and valleys, the memorial columns prominent in the city skyline were a constant reminder of the building projects initiated by the emperors in the city.
     Already in Constantinople, we find a policy relating to the city's appearance. The width of streets and the size of windows facing the street were set by law. Streets and fora (plural of forum) were decorated with columns, and showed characteristics similar to those of cities in antiquity.
        In the side-streets of the city there were houses with arched windows, facing the street. Through the narrow streets usually were walking load donkeys, camels, and many porters who were preferred for being cheaper than load animals. The streets were filled with animals often transported to market.
                In the main streets could be seen ladies in carriages hauled by mules. The rich and government officials were riding on horseback. There were streets leading to plazas rich in fountains and vegetation. The main streets and squares were filled with not only commercial activities, but also social life. People used to meet every day before the Grand Palace, walk, talk and browse the books displayed for sale at stands in the square.
        According to the fourth crusade historian (1202-1204), Robert de Clary, in the city of Constantinople there were 4388 palaces, houses, many hospitals, orphanages, homes for the poor, thousands of churches and a university founded in 849. Likewise, there were in the city luxury private homes, public baths, bridges, magnificent churches, and on the other hand, slums.

                 Justiniana Prima
      The City of Justiniana Prima, with a population no more than several hundred, was founded by Emperor Justinian in 530, near his birthplace, and its years of existence were too short even shorter than his life. It was intended to serve as the religious administration seat of the province of northern Illyricum, mentioned by Procopius.          
     Justiniana Prima was built according to the perceptions of an ideal city of the period, as far as possible under the circumstances. This intention is evident in the layout of the city and its conveniently provided facilities. In its center there was a round square only 22 m in diameter, which was located at the intersection where the two main streets, the cardo and decumanos cross each other, leading from the southern gate and east gate. The square, which was surrounded by a colonnade, had never served as a center of commerce or administration. North-east to it stood a church and private houses built along a paved steep road running down to the south. In the east, along the short street leading to the eastern gate, were very small buildings, each with two rooms. Researchers believe that these were stores.
       Procopius, who described the city, wrote that it had churches, fountains, aqueduct, baths, paved streets, homes, and colonnades.

The European City from the 5th Century to                  
                      The 10th Century
       During the early Christian period, when the emperor's figure replaced the city's patron god to some extent, the Ostrogothic king Theodoric loved  building and restoring cities, as is demonstrated by Anonymus Valerianus. Valerianus wrote that in his capital cities – Ravenna, Pavia and Verona, Theodoric, built not just walls, but also other structures, such as porticos, aqueducts, baths, and amphitheaters. In these works, Theodoric hoped to establish the legitimacy of his rule. His determination to connect to the glorious Roman past was also reflected in the method of construction. He ordered restoring ancient building materials and encouraged reuse of old stones. This was not due to economic hardship, or inability to build with new stones, but to the desire to continue the ancient tradition.
In northern Italy, most Roman cities continued to exist in the middle ages, and kept their appearance from the time of the Roman Empire. They inherited the city walls and streets plan. However, there were elements that did not keep the Roman character. Public building, which gave the Roman cities their distinctive character, have survived, if any, in the form of debris.
The invasion of the Lombards in 568, created a real separation from the past. The ruling class has changed radically when Lombard military commanders replaced the Latin bureaucrats. The new rulers have adopted a different approach from that of their predecessors to city buildings. The generosity of the Lombard kings found expression especially in buildings. While during Theodoric's rule, the emphasis was on restoration of ancient buildings, during the Lombard rule new churches were built in cities and suburbs.
Here in northern Italy, the present was perceived as more important than the past, and there was no nostalgia for ancient times. The belief in the superiority of the present over the past was associated with national Lombard anti-Roman tendency. The attitude of the Lombards toward classical architectural heritage was only practical. The buildings, which had been used, have been saved. Others were abandoned and sometimes disappeared. The fact that most of the walls of the Lombard Roman cities have been preserved until the late 12th century is credited to the repairs, which the Lombards made.
                  A large Italian city, the only one that was born during the middle ages, as opposed to the great Italian cities that have already existed during  the Roman Empire, was Venice. The mythical date of its establishment was March 25, 421, about noon, but in fact, inhabitants of northern Italy, who found refuge from the Lombard invasions, founded it in 586 CE.
The city of Venice began as a group of settlement in the 12 small islands (today there are there 118 islands), where powerful families built their palaces. Although Venice was part of the Byzantine Empire, it had in fact an autonomous government. The doge (duke) was elected in 697 to unite the people against the invading Lombards and Slavs, and in 775 was founded the city-state of Venice. The ground plan of the city is set by the natural topography. Its streets are canals and its main artery, Merceria, passes between the Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge. Piazza San Marco was probably a market area near the place of early settlement in Venice on the island then called Olivolo.

Image - Piazza San Marco in Venice

  The character of the city of Venice has changed in 827, when the body of St. Mark was brought from Alexandria, but its commercial basis has never disappeared. The location of the market adjacent to the cathedral also strengthened its economic power. The crusades and the development of commerce between Venice and Asia, made Venice a center of commerce with the East.
         In other areas in Europe, following the devastating barbaric nomadic tribes, and the fall of the Roman Empire, life in the city was in decline, and disappeared almost completely. The period from the fifth to the tenth century, five centuries of violence, paralysis, and uncertainty, caused a deep desire for security. City dwellers everywhere were forced to abandon their homes, and go to the villages to grow their own food.
          Between the years 410-560 CE, the population of Rome, which was the largest city in the west, with around a million people, was reduced to several thousand who lived by begging money from the church. It was hard to abandon the rural life, even when the agricultural crop was not enough to support life of the city. In any case, life in the city assured less means for living than life in the country.
    The urban settlements were very small according to modern concepts (usually less than 2,000 people). The urban population did not exceed ten percent of Europe's population, and their influence on the development of Europe was very much out of all proportion to their demographic weight.
     Most cities in the middle ages were smaller than two square kilometers. Only a few were larger. Carolingian convents became cities. The city of St. Riquier, according to a census from 831, numbered 2500 civilian homes with inhabitants reaching 19,000. This is a significant number in this period. The Roman fortifications lost their value, and no longer assured safety.
      The view of life in the Middle Ages did not encourage economic activity. The social ideal opposed accumulation of property and wealth. Medieval literature condemned all extravagant and flamboyant clothing. Glorification of poverty found the peak of its expression in the person of St. Francis of Assisi, who consecrated the mystic marriage with Mrs. Poverty. This saint saw   poverty as a virtue, and had no intention to redeem the poor from their poverty.
      The houses of the poor, in town and countryside, were very small (according to the findings of archaeological excavations), and were built of wood. Architectural works were carried out for the rich. The Carolingians used the ancient cities as places of residence, and as fortified settlements, from which they could dominate the villages. The city walls were a comfortable legacy of an earlier age. Bishops and nobles improved them, and built themselves castles and cathedrals. The settlements of merchants outside the walls were small.
        In the early years of Charlemagne in power, it seemed that he was facing an eternal peace. This found its expression in destroying cities' walls, including Reims, Francoforte, Ratisbon and Beauvais. The destruction of the walls, ultimately, led to enlarged towns and development of new urban systems imitating the health and care systems that were found in the monasteries as a result of  the reforms carried out inside them.
      In England during the Middle Ages, there was never an intensive urbanism. Ninety five percent of the population was rural until 1500. This proportion has not changed significantly, for two hundred years. Cities were very small. The English cities often had rural characteristics, so it was hard to distinguish them from the villages. For foreign visitors, especially Italians who came to England, it was surprising to see how small the dimensions of urbanization were.
          At the end of the tenth century, real city life existed in less than a dozen cities across the continent of Europe, and in none of them, the population exceeded 10,000 people. A hundred years later, there were several dozen cities, including several populations reaching 20,000 people and more. This was the beginning of re-awakened urbanism after a long period. Major cities that began to flourish in the 11th century were Rouen and Paris in France, Hamburg and Cologne in Germany, and Genoa, and Venice, Pisa and Amalfi in Italy. The pattern of city growth was different in each place.

             The City since the 11th Century
  The second half of the 11th century was a time of danger and instability in Europe. Forty-eight years of the 11th century, were years of famine, which caused movement of people. During difficult periods in Middle Ages people moved from place to place to look for work, whether in the city, in the lord's castle, or the king's court.
The increase in population and commerce created a need for markets that were not needed during early Middle Ages, when people of the city had small gardens of their own, and food trade was modest.
The city growth was the result of what historians call a commercial revolution. Settlement of merchants in town brought prosperity. Economic power was expressed, first, in a market, which was next to the cathedral. Compared with the great Roman cities, which were military and political in nature, with more consumers than producers, the medieval city was a market town that manufactured products. Following the awakening city, cultural life in Europe woke up. The cities were strong and powerful. Like a magnet, the larger a city was the more powerful and attractive it became.
The city developed from trade and became a rational entity. Two buildings were in competition with the church. These were the town hall and the university. Near the cathedrals, schools were built for the clergy. The city hall, as a center of political and social activity, also served as a market and its ground floor was used for storage. The University, as a place of learning, competed with the convent.

           Cities in Italy
          Cities were revived when the guilds, unions of traders and craftsmen accumulated political power and control over the economy of the city. The house of the guild has become over time the city hall. Italian cities had city halls before the 13th century. The rulers of Florence would meet in private homes, until c.1250.
The first city that built a city hall was Rome (in 1152). In the 13th century, the civic centre was the palace of the senators. City halls have been built in the cities of Tuscany since the mid-13th century.
In Florence the city hall was Palazzo Vecchio  which was discussed at length in the chapter on civil Gothic architecture in Italy. As a prototype of nobles' palaces built following it, Palazzo Vecchio was one of the most original buildings of Italian architecture. The square in front of it, Piazza della Signoria, was pure political center with no commercial activity, which was customary in other squares of government buildings in other cities.
Tuscan public squares, as opposed to squares in Lombardy, were not connected to the cathedral but to the new city halls. Likewise, in Siena and Florence, the cathedral was somewhat distant from the center created by a new square. The early city halls were built in a fortified style, usually of stone and brick, at a time when most of the residential buildings were built of wood. Most of the towns had a meeting hall on the ground floor, and a large room for judges, on the first floor. These usually had many windows and balconies from which the rulers were able to address the public.
The tower of the town hall was a source of confidence for the rulers and citizens. Squares in Italy contributed to the pride of the cities. In the 13th century already began the maintaining of a uniform appearance of the square, with emphasis on the use of the same type of windows in the surrounding buildings.
          A prominent element in the medieval cities in Italy was the private tower. In the 60s of the 12th  century, the Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela  was impressed by the picturesque character of Italian cities. About Genoa, he wrote: "and the city was walled... and every one of them had a tower in his house, and when arguments took place they were fighting each other from the heads of the towers". Of Pisa, he wrote: "it is a big city with ten thousand towers in their homes, to fight at a time of  dispute". 
Of course, we cannot accept the numbers noted by Benjamin of Tudela as facts. He meant numerous. Some of the towers that he saw were very old already at his time. The tower, which was built mainly out of fear, was the family's shelter, where it convened at times of disaster. Its function was defensive. Some towers were very close together, as can be seen today in the cities of San Gimignano and Bologna. Under these circumstances, when a war broke out between towers, as described by Benjamin of Tudela, the tallest tower had an advantage.

Image - San Gimignano

The destruction of the tower was a heavy social penalty because it deprived powerful people of their means of self-defense. Such a punishment was imposed in Genoa in 1161 against "rebels", and again in 1187 against certain nobles and others who were responsible for the death of the consul. Later heretics were punished in this way.
No less significant motives for building the towers, were fashion, taste and ostentation. Through the tower, families showed their strength and prestige.
       The first attempt to limit the maximum height of the towers was in 1100 in Pisa, where there was a law according to which a person who assaulted another person through the tower, would be fined. The noble of the city were not allowed to build towers for the city hall, and in 1337 demolition order was issued to private towers in the city. In Florence, the height of private towers was limited to 29 meters. In Genoa, the threat to destroy towers that passed the height limit was implemented in 1196.
The debris of the ruined tower were reused for building for the community.

Medieval Roman Cities and New Medieval Cities Inspired by them
 In the 11th century, there were two types of cities: the surviving ancient cities with partial urban activity centers since antiquity, such as Paris (Parisorium Lutelia), and the cities that grew around monasteries, cathedrals, castles, markets, or a combination thereof, which were often oval shaped with streets radiating out from the public building.
          In medieval England, the English rulers used the remains of Roman walled cities and main roads, as administrative centers. These cities, which had a grid plan, include Winchester, Chester, Chichester, Exeter, Bath, and more. The names of the cities sometimes can teach us about their nature and origin. The Latin name of the city of Chester, was probably Castra Legionum, which means "The fortress of the legion".

Image - Map of the city of Winchester
 in the 12th century

Inspired by the grid plan of Roman cities, some of the cities built from a castle during the middle ages had a grid plan and attracted residents. Thus was built the city of Ludlow in England. Other medieval cities built in grid plan include, among others, Winchelsea and New Salisbury (1220).

Cities Originating in Monasteries
New towns were initially the result of the power of faith. Monasteries and churches offered shelter to people, and attracted residents. Monastic orders, such as the Benedictine, built the first monasteries at the margins of the city beside the gates, but when the city spread out, buildings surrounded the monasteries. Names such as  Moutier in French, Münster in German, or Minster in English, indicate cities which were born from monasteries. Market towns often grew around the isolated monasteries such as Cluny, Saint Denis, and Conques.
          From the development of the city of Cluny we can learn about the development of other cities that were founded around monasteries.
In 893, Duke William inherited from his sister Ava, the area, in which the monastery of Cluny was built. With the founding of the Church of Cluny Abbey in 910, William passed the ownership of the territory in which it was built, to Saints Peter and Paul. The area was basically agricultural, and there was no sign of urban development when the monastery was built in it. Cluny was then, apparently, fortified. Three factors that promoted the development of the city around the monastery were the peaceful and quiet place, the abbey church being a pilgrimage center, and the wealth of the monastery where many servants were employed. From an isolated place, Cluny monastery became in 1049, a center, surrounded by buildings to its south and west.
          There were cities that developed around monasteries engaging in commerce. The combination of commercial activity with the activities of the monastery accelerated the development of these cities. From the chronicles of the English monk Jocelin who entered a monastery in 1173, we can learn about the monasteries' activity in the markets of England. He writes that in 1201 an abbot from another monastery came to his monastery and asked to move the market activity from Sunday to Monday, which aroused opposition. T
he same abbot, as Jocelin writes, wanted to move the market day from Sunday to Monday in other cities in England as well. He goes on telling - "in the same year, the monks of Ely set up a market for buying and selling at Lakenheath, for which they had the assent and charter of the king. But we, at first, with our friends and neighbours, labouring peacefully, sent messengers to the chapter of Ely, and also at first letters to the lord of Ely, praying that they would desist from that which had been begun. And we added that we would in a friendly manner pay the fifteen marks which had been given for the charter obtained from the king for the sake of peace, and for the securing of the maintenance of mutual affection. What more need be said? They would not desist, and threatening words went to and fro, and spears threatened spears."
Coventry is an example of a city that developed around the Benedictine monastery from the 11th century, and was one of the largest cities in England in the 14th century. However, we should  remember that founding of a monastery has not always led to building a city following it. There were monasteries, which remained isolated, such as Saint-Michel de Cuxa in France. We will not meet the phenomenon of cities developing around the   Franciscan and Dominican monasteries, which began to operate in the middle of the 13th century, because they were originally located inside cities.

          Cities Originating in Castles
          Like monasteries, fortified castles attracted residents and were the basis for the growth of a city. The castle was, essentially, the lord's residence. Development of castles began in Western Europe in the ninth century, and lasted until the 10th century. At first, castles appeared in France, and later, in Germany. The reason of its first appearance in France, and later in Germany, is related to the differences in the feudal development in these countries. In France, after the fall of Carolingians, there was a chaos, which was followed by the formation of a centralized state. In Germany the process was reversed, political disintegration and fragmentation led to the formation of small sovereignties.
 Medieval castles were commissioned by the lord, whose wealth stemmed generally from farming. A group of knights who lived there took part in military operations and defended the lord's castle. These elements were the feature of the feudal structure. The castles, which were required to protect the land, were built in strategic areas, usually in high places that dominated their environment.
       The word "Town" in English, comes from the word "tun" in Old English, which has two meanings: a fortress or a camp, and a closed place: a field, garden, or courtyard, a closed place usually found next to a residence. The Norman and French word "ville" (city), like the English word "village" is an extension of the Latin word "villa" (literally in Latin: "country house". The word "Borough" (City), originates in the Old English word "Burh", meaning "fortress" or "city", and sometimes, both meanings together. In Chinese, there is also a direct link between the word "city", and fortification. The word "Chéng" in Chinese means both "city", and "wall".
         The names of many French cities include the word "chateau" as prefix, or as their suffix. Thus, we find in cities' names the words "Castel", "Comte" and "Duc", indicating that they originate in medieval forts. Such cities are Castelnaudry, Chateauroux, Bar-Le-Duc and Fontenay-Le-Comte. In England, eighty percent of the first towns built between the years 1066-1100 originated in a fortified palace.
Houses that were built around the fortified castles were often the nucleus that grew into a market city. Sometimes, it is unclear whether the castle was there before or after the city was built. The castle was one of the important symbols of the ruler's power in relation to his enemies and neighbors. The shape, structure, and function of castles, varied by region. Several castles dominated the land routes, and grew rich from taxes collected for the right to cross their feudal stronghold.
         Protecting the castle was no easy task. Deep trenches around the wall were effective defenses. Prominent towers defended the walls. The gates were few and highly protected. Standard tactics of attack was the siege. The city under siege was a kind of big collective required to be able to supply its own needs for a long time, and serve as a great fortress always standing on the lookout.
Over time, dukes provided for residents sources of income, thus causing the influx of people to the area of their ​​residence. Sometimes the dukes built their cities in collaboration with the local bishops. Four crosses were set up in the four cardinal points to indicate the boundaries of the city. Within the specified limits, the future city was built with a church, market, town hall, and simple geometric blocks in a grid plan. Typical examples of cities with such planning were Monpazier (1284), Monferrand and Aigues-Mortes (1240), all of them in France.
Paris in the 12th century was a collection of fortified castles, each with a church, monastery, and gardens within the walls. There was no collective city life. Philippe Auguste (ruled 1180-1223), who added protection and ammunition to the city, turned it into one unified city with French bourgeois citizens (Francs Bourgeois). People flocked to the city and its population grew. Arts and commerce flourished and prospered. Guilbert de Metz wrote in "Description of Paris" (Description de Paris) in 1400 that many people passed every day on the big bridge, so that always was seen there a white preacher, or a white horse.
Since the 12th century, there were princes who built their castles within the city limits. Such examples are found in Munich and Vienna. Some moved their residence to castles in the outskirts of the city, to detach themselves from the residents whom they ruled. The king of France moved from the Palais De La Cité to the Louvre palace and the castle of the Duke of Munich was transferred from the city center to its northern end.
          The bishops also were in need of castles to protect their rule. Their limited territorial power often led them to build their castles on a hill. Wurzburg and Salzburg are the most typical examples of this phenomenon. In the early Middle Ages, illustrations, drawings and manuscripts presented the castle as an object in the landscape, dominating it and isolated, but as time passed, it became a city of commerce and small industry, and from a distant object, it became the residents' own environment.

 Fortifications and Walls
        The development of fortifications in the Gothic period continued the Romanesque tradition. The need for defense made the people gather together to ensure their protection. For obvious reasons, when life and death depend on a structure, function is more important than style.

Image - the city of Carcassonne  

One of the fortifications from the Middle Ages that survived in the most complete manner is the fortified town of Carcassonne in France, which has already begun construction in the Roman period. Two lines of defense surround Carcassonne. The outer one, 1500 meters in length, was built in the late 13th century, and the inner one, 1200 meters in length is probably from the years 400-600 CE,. This is a masterpiece of military architecture. The fortress dominates the market below the city. The fortifications of Carcassonne were largely restored by the architect Violet le Doc (1844).
   Among construction projects, fortifications were often larger and more common than other construction projects, and were given priority in funding. The fortifications included unusually thick round towers, and bulging side platforms designed for combat. The vocabulary and construction techniques of the fortifications served also for  building castles and churches.
         The Wall, which marked the city limits, was one of the most prominent elements of medieval city design. It had three elements that continued the Roman tradition: the wall itself, towers and gates. The thickness of the wall was one meter or two, and its height sometimes reached 20 meters. Round or square towers rose about 30 m apart. The towers were military outposts that enabled attacking the enemies. The gates, being the most sensitive places, were protected by particularly large towers.
        Until the 12th century, only few cities were surrounded by walls. Most of the city's fortifications are dated to the 13th century. During the years 1100-1500, a period when fighting techniques became more sophisticated, the early walls that were built with earth and wood, were replaced by heavy stone buildings and fortifications, which have been improved steadily. The wall served as protection against military attacks, and also against thieves. In addition, it was a status symbol, a sign of wealth and power.
          Expression of the defensive character of the city wall, is symbolically displayed in a miniature from the 13th century, depicting the lion-shaped map of Rome. The wall around the city on this map, is actually an outline of a drawing of a lion, which adds a symbolic meaning of a powerful long barrier impenetrable to enemies.
             We should not forget the psychological significance of the wall and the sense of belonging and security that it instilled among residents. People lived inside or outside the wall. They belonged to the city, or did not belong to it. When the gates of the city were closed at sunset, the city was isolated from the outside world, and a unity was created among its people. Their sense of isolation increased with the lack of highways between cities. During starvation or siege, the moral in the city was similar to that in a sinking ship.
     The wall surrounded a separate area of administration and government. The gate of the wall was the meeting place between urban and rural, between domestic and foreign. The entrances to the city, which were few, had an architectural significance because through them passed various main streets of the city. Here was reflected the functional approach to the organization of the medieval city.
In the city's main gate there was a custom house, a sort of passport office and the department of immigration which collected taxes, checked goods, and collected tariffs, which constituted an important source of income for the city. Traffic was flowing slowly through the gates because taxes were often paid in goods rather than money. Those arriving after the closing of the gate, had to wait until they were opened. There they were talking, eating, drinking, and sleeping. To serve them, inns were built outside the city walls, near the gate. These were followed by expanded settlement, and thus were created suburbs where there was no sense of security even in times of peace.
Like in ancient Greek cities, the size of the medieval city was supposed to be final. The hearing distance from the church bells sometimes defined the city limits. It was the same in London. Until the mass media were invented in the 19th  century, these were the effective limits of the city growth, in addition to the limit of the land supplying the needs of the residents who depended  on it.
.                Although the expansion of the city was limited by walls, the walls were not permanent borders. It was possible to expand the city by settling the growing population, and new walls were built to protect the areas added to it. Sometimes the residents built new cities in uninhabited areas, or went to war to annex land. Any increase in the diameter of the city was involved with increasing construction costs, maintenance, and defense. Richer cities expanded and built new fortifications.
          The walls of cities, like rings of tree trunks, indicate periods of cities' growth. Florence added, in a hundred years, two walls: one in 1078 and the other during the years 1172-1175. Not less than one hundred years later (in 1299), a new wall was built around an even larger area. The city size enclosed within the new wall was five times the size of a large city enclosed within the ancient walls. The new wall was built in optimistic anticipation of a further expansion of the city, but expectations were disappointed. Large open area that lay between the populated center and the wall remained empty until the 19th century.
        Five lines of walls were built in Paris, between the years 1180-1845. The city walls were adjusted to the topography, and sometimes built along the hillsides, as the medieval town plan adapted to the site where it was built.
Across Europe, there were also cities that were not fortified. English market towns, and half of the Spanish settlements in the Netherlands, were built without walls. In some cases, the reason was poverty, or opposition to the lord. In periods of relative stability, the walls were unnecessary. An example of this can be found in market towns that existed for centuries without walls. The focus of activity of such a city was the market and next to it was located the church which replaced the ancient temple, and was the town's main building during the Middle Ages. In many cities, the side walls of the church were used as part of the back of market stalls.

    The Medieval City Plan
          The medieval city design was intuitive and environmentally conscious as a whole. A building in the city was an integral part of its surroundings. Most houses were built of wood, and often fires broke out and destroyed entire quarters. After such events, when the houses were built anew, they were built according to a plan.
         The re-awakening of cities in the 11th and 12th centuries was gradual. Most of them grew slowly and irregularly. Non-regularity of a city plan is one of the main characteristics of the cities that developed spontaneously. The houses were built according to the interest of homeowners, along roads leading to ports, and urban centers.
        Most medieval cities were circular, unlike the Roman cities, which were usually rectangular. Some see the circle shaped medieval city as an expression of Christianity, if paradise on earth is perceived as a circle. The Huns built their cities in the shape of concentric rings. Most of all, Jerusalem is a circular city model as it appears in manuscripts' illuminations, but the Romans built it in right angles.
         We must remember that the perimeter of the city does not indicate its plan. We have seen that ancient cities had various shapes such as square, rectangle, and circle, but these are mere frames or outlines. More important is the internal plan of the city within the frame. There are three circle-shaped plan options: a chaotic city, a city with grid plan and a radio-concentric plan.

Image - The Medieval city of Neubrandenburg (from the 13th century). A grid within circular frame

Medieval builders were not fond of symmetry for its own sake. It was simpler for them to follow the nature's lines. Winding streets of the city prevent the ability to look at a greater distance, and thus, direct the attention of the person walking in them to close details around him. When walking in medieval city, the church's tower can be seen from everywhere. This increases the feeling of familiarity and confidence. The city of Siena in Italy represents these properties. The streets follow the topographical lines and meet in the main square - Piazza Del Campo, which is a kind of living room of the entire city where the church stood.

In cities that look like a maze, without a logical form, the layout of the streets is very functional. In the early medieval cities, there was no distinction between types of streets because it was not necessary. With the growing cities, where traffic increased, and various types of movement were evident, various types of streets developed.  The traffic from the city gates to the central square required direct and convenient route. The streets leading to the houses were narrow, less regular, and sometimes dead-end. Remains of these cities can be found even today in Italy, France, Germany, and England.
           The street system, even when it seemed completely lacking logical order, was well calculated and expressed the living conditions. Every street, road, corner, and square, were well known to the residents of the community. For them, the city system was not confusing at all. The opposite is true. For them, it was functional, familiar, and above all, pleasing in its intimate nature. Even the cathedral had no formal shape. Often, in cities that expanded organically, the market area was irregular in shape, sometimes triangular, polygonal, oval, with serrated or twisted shape.
A labyrinthine system of the city was justified. Foreign people were rarely flocking into the city, and when they were, their intentions were unfriendly. During the middle ages, which was a cruel period full of risks, there was no reason to allow the enemy an easy way to enter the city. Straight and comfortable streets would have made it easier, compared to maze-shaped streets, which being confusing, were defensive in nature.
The shape characteristic of early medieval cities was the grid, especially in the colonial settlements during the Roman Empire. Cities that have evolved spontaneously were usually radio-centric, while the planned cities were grid shaped.
Expansion of the city around a monastery or castle was a natural growth that began at the gates, continued along the road, and took radio - concentric shape. Such a city where everything comes from the center, expresses the idea of ​​hierarchy. In the center is the power - the royal palace and city hall. Most districts are equidistant from the center. While the centralistic plan attaches great importance to the center, the grid plan ascribes to each point in the city, the same level of importance.
        Compared with the cities that most of them have a round plan, among the churches, we find a few round structures. Most churches had a basilica plan. A quadratic city plan was not typical in the Middle Ages, but it appeared in rare cases. Square shape, unlike the round shape, represented a stable character.
        An outstanding example of a ground plan  from the Middle Ages, is the ideal plan of the Carolingian monastery of St. Gallen which is discussed in the chapter on Carolingian architecture. The layout of stone buildings of the monastery was like a small town that provides its own needs. This is a geometric plan, where a rectangle is the basis for its division. The plan uses straight lines and right angles. The monastery's plan gives an idea, not only of the church planning but also of buildings designed for teaching and patient care.
 In the plan, we find the dormitory of the monastery (the monks' building designed for sleeping), a large stable, guesthouses, shops, warehouses, and other buildings.
The basic rectangular shape of the plan, and the entire layout of the plan originate in the Roman design heritage of forts and military camps. St. Gallen plan is the earliest example surviving from existing medieval plans. This document represents undoubtedly many others that have not survived.
The round plan of the city, which was designed to protect it in the 13th century, was abandoned, and an orthogonal shape has taken over Europe in the 14th century. Traders had founded cities so they could freely engage in trade. In many cities in southern France there were in the Middle Ages streets carrying names associated with right angle. Street named "Rue Droite, which means "straight street" is located in Nice,  and in Agen there is a street called  "Rue de L'angle Droite" (literally: right angle street). These streets are not always straight as indicated by their names. The names reflect, perhaps, these streets' preference.

Streets, Intersections and Squares
Medieval cities were centers controlling agricultural land, and to access this land it took a half-day walk. The main means of transportation were legs, and the street system was made, above all, for walking. Typically, the streets were curved and had an informal and intimate character.
Camillo Sitte (in the late 19th century) indicated, when referring to medieval streets, that they were a closed unit. He thought that there is a comfortable feeling in a place where the gaze is not lost in infinity. Roads, or rather, pavements, had variable width to facilitate the movement of the crowd, and make it easy and natural. In central areas, the streets were enlarged.
In the 12th century, street width of three meters was enough for transportation in Paris. In new towns where land was expensive, the width of the street, often reached eight meters. There were  places where the width of the street reached ten or eleven meters. In ancient cities, the street width was usually no more than one meter. This is how it was also in Paris before the changes made in the 19th century. In Brussels this kind of street was called "one man's road", where only one person could walk, and it was impossible to pass him. The narrow streets provided convenient activities outside the home, in all seasons. In summer, they protected the pedestrians from the sun, and in winter, they protected them from winds and rain.
         A first step in turning medieval alleys into city streets, was made by Philip August the king of France during the years 1180-1223. According to his biographer, one day in 1184, he stood at the window of his palace when carriages were stuck in the mud. The mud emitted stench that caused a great inconvenience to the king, and then he ordered the mayor of Paris to pave the streets and public squares with "strong and hard stones." The streets were paved with large stones of various sizes, whose remains were found, and some are preserved in the museum of Cluny.
Every street had its own identity, but street names began to appear only in the 13th century, and testified to the progress in the field of urbanism. Before that, there were names of streets only in exceptional circumstances. In various texts, street names already appear in 970. Simple avenues, alleys and roads leading to suburbs, remained anonymous.
  Many names of medieval streets had the suffix  "gate", which earlier had been "gath", such as  Crossgate and Alvertonegate in Durham, England. The word "gate" originates in the period of the occupation of the Vikings in whose language the word "Geate" meant "street". Sometimes the street names indicate geographic features as in South Street, which was the main street in Durham leading to south.
Names of medieval streets, many of which have survived until today, attest to the role that they played at that time. In London, streets names like Hay Market, Commarket, and Poultry testify to their role in the past as marketplace. The simplest form of a market square was usually found in small rural towns, in the wide and long section of the street. There were places where homes were demolished to make room for the market. Such an example is St. Louis square in Metz, which was a local extension of the "money changers" street. Its name was then "money changers square."
Squares of medieval cities that developed spontaneously were usually irregular in shape. They had two main shapes: square and round. Less common was triangular, like Dauphin square in Paris. Triangle was usually formed in the meeting of three streets, such as in the English cities Sevenoaks and Ormskirk. Sometimes the market square was cross shaped as in Warrington and  Maidson in England.
Intersections in the main streets in medieval towns were considered a sacred symbol, and people got used to the idea that the urban order was associated with the world order. The typical cross created by the cardo and decomanos, can be seen in  the cities of Gloucester and Chichester which have been preserved to this day.

The center of the city was in the squares. As the church replaced the ancient temple, the fora  (plural of forum) were replaced by squares near  cathedrals, city halls and other public buildings in the cities. These squares were informal, but impressive. They served for public meetings, ceremonies and trade, as fora functioned in ancient towns.
The square in front of the cathedral was usually big enough so that a person who stood facing the church could see it entirely. Here guilds used to hold Christian plays. Here too criminals and heretics were punished being burnt at the stake, or hung.
       In a typical medieval square there was one tree that stood isolated in contrast to most squares today. The French expression "Wait for me under the elm tree" ("attendez moi sous l'orme") illustrates this. In Middle Ages isolated trees were preferred. Thus, we find in Paris the "Street of the dry wood" (La Rue De L'Aabre Sec). In Avignon, in many squares there was only one tree. In Place St. Pierre in Avignon there was an elm tree since 1158. Such small squares were found also in Venice and the cities of Greece.

       The Division of the City into Districts
        Today urban researchers tend to divide the city into areas according to their function: industrial, commercial and residential. This division has already been found in the Middle Ages.
In a letter sent by the abbot of Rheims monastery to the abbot of Saint-Denis, he described the city of Ratisbon in the 11th century, telling that the city was divided into three sections: clerical district (pagus clericum), residential district (pagus residos), and the commercial district(pagus mercatorum).
          Some names of streets in medieval cities have survived to this day and indicate the division  of the city into areas according to the occupations of their residents. Paris, for example, had street names such as "the old cloth" (Vieille Draperie), "The old weaving" (Vieille Tisseranderie), and "The old currency" (La Rue De La Vieille Monaie).      
The regions of slaughterhouses and butcher shops were always isolated. In the ninth century, , workers and artisans of St. Riquier were located around the monastery in streets according to their professions. There was the "merchants' street", "metalworkers Street", "shoemakers Street", etc.  In Limoges of early 20th century, the butchers Street was still inhabited, almost exclusively with butchers. In the case of butchers business, the government intervened to set the location considering public hygiene. In British cities, street names have survived, among them, Corn Market Street, Milk Street and Bread Street.
              Another division of the city into areas, was an ethnic division. The ghetto is the most familiar example of this. A special district designated for Jews originally appeared in Byzantium. The first ghettos were in Salonika and Constantinople, in the Eastern Empire. The word "ghetto" originates in an order issued in Venice in 1516 for a "new ghetto" (Ghetto Nuovo) forcing Jews to live on a small island with two entrances that could be easily closed at sunset. It was not far from downtown and was designed to protect the Jewish people from the  non-Jewish population's hostility. The word "ghetto" later received a broader meaning, which included isolation of other ethnic groups.
          Typically, the ghettos were not closed. In Thessaloniki, there were Jewish, Turk, and French quarters. The idea of ​​the ghetto moved to the west. In Paris there was a street of Jews, as there was a Lombards' street and an English Street. Jewish quarters were usually inside the fortified city, but at its edge. The "Jewish street" was found near some industrial quarters. The difference between Jews and other ethnic groups, was that the Jews were the only ethnic group forced to live in their area according to law.
The phenomenon of concentration of a particular ethnic group in the city is familiar to us today. We find Chinatown in New York, San Francisco and London, as we find a district of African - Americans (Harlem) in New York.
Another type of zoning in the medieval cities was a division according to social class. The upper classes were located close to religious and administrative buildings that were the center of the city, while the poor were pushed to the periphery. Such an urban texture characterized Italian cities as it characterized Paris and other northern cities. Small English towns had a different structure. They were built on both sides of a main street, which was expanded in a particular segment that served as a market. Social hierarchy was reflected in the distance from the main street, rather than the distance from the center. Houses of the higher social classes were closer to the main street.

            Environment and Beautifying the City
        Until the 14th century, cities were surrounded by rural areas, which preserved the health of residents. Many residents had private gardens and rural occupations. A strong rural influence can be seen in early medieval city plans. During this period, the cities that did not retain their Roman character and were not limited by topographical restrictions, had gardens at the rear of their houses. It was common to build rows of houses. Within the city, there were often pastures, gardens, and orchards, which were also found in the suburbs outside the city.
Medieval cities were far more spacious than we imagine. There were there wide market streets, small lakes, wells, rivers, grasslands and gardens of all types. In London there were many small gardens separated by walls and fences where the landlords grew fruits and vegetables. In late Middle Ages, the  density increased, and very few houses were built with adjacent gardens. Each community had  a courtyard. In the Tower of London there was a garden and vineyard stretching between the fortified palace and the city wall. Large gardens in the city were generally square shaped or rectangular.
           The medieval cities were
noisy, and their transportation grew due to the exploitation of horsepower. Paving streets, building bridges, walls and gates for the city, were considered the most prestigious municipal works of the period. Roman bridges were too few, and sometimes in desperate  situation, new bridges were built to replace them.
In France, works to improve the city were usually initiated by the ruler. In Paris, it was the king who initiated public works and laws, which improved the living conditions in the city. The eldest son of King Louis VI, was killed when he was 14 years old in 1130 when a pig made him fall off a horse. The king, in his grief, prohibited animals' straying in the city.
           During the rule of King Philip-August, paving the streets brought with it attempts to clean the city. Presence of pigs was banned in the city walls. All pigs found were killed, and a fine was imposed on the owner. In addition, residents were required to remove the garbage in front of their homes, and bring it out of town.
                    Most major cities were paved in the 14th  century. Paved streets were found in cities such as Troyes, Amiens, Dijon and more. Avignon, during the years 1376-1391, spent part of its income to pavement works in the city. Florence began paving the city in 1235 and Lübeck in 1310. Until 1339 the city of Florence was all paved. Siena paved its main square, Piazza del Campo, in 1333-4.
        In the medieval city of Durham, the responsibility to repair and maintain streets was of the feudal lords and the bishops. The latter took care of the individual areas that they dominated. There is no evidence that bishops contributed to repairing streets outside their area. In other cities, the responsibility for the streets fell on the homeowners nearby. There were people who built their street segment on a level higher than that of their neighbors. Thus, the level of the streets rose repeatedly until it reached a height of 6 m above the Roman streets buried beneath them. Such streets can be found in London. During the reign of King Edward I (ruled 1272 -1307) the maintenance of the street was the responsibility of the city councils, which built new ways to replace the old ones.
  The medieval city of Cambridge in England was very dirty, and its streets were not paved. In 1330, university lecturers complained about it before the king. The mayor and bailiffs of the court ordered that any resident would pave the segment  of the road near his home. Thus, Cambridge residents were supposed to pave the roads in their town. This was also the way that the roads were built during the reign of Henry VIII (1509-1547) and George III (1760-1820).
        A sense of order and cleanliness, which was a stranger to the village, and began to be more prevalent in the city, did not solve the ecological problem caused by the imbalance between population density and the level of public hygiene. Sanitation has been a constant problem in many cities in the Middle Ages. Open canals flowed through the main streets. Many stables were open to the street, and piles of garbage piled in the passageways. In the houses, there were no lavatories or sewage. Feces and dirt were thrown into the street or ditch. The result was frequent outbreaks of epidemics, and the stench did not cease until the 19th century.
              Most of the inhabitants possessed pigs, which were a cheap and convenient food source. With houses, which were small, and gardens even smaller, pigs roamed the streets for food, and were a nuisance. However, they had a great deal of benefit, serving together with the dogs as the streets cleaners until 1850. This was the case also in Manchester and New York. Most of the waste was organic and rotted in the ground. Fires that broke out served as antibacterial.
        Attention has been given, at times, to the uniform look of the façades. Since 1297, according to a regulation, the windows facing the square in Siena had to have small columns, and without any bumps. The goal was to create a uniform look in the buildings facing the square. Regulations violators were sentenced to a fine. One hundred seventy years later, the law was still in force.
        Medieval homes were usually built in wood, which caused the destruction of many cities as a result of fires. In German cities, in early Middle Ages, the buildings were built in stone on the street corners, to prevent the spread of fires. Stone building has evolved slowly, and initially was used by the nobility and the well to do.

         The City as a Symbol
         As in painting, sculpture and architecture during the Middle Ages, symbols were of central importance, referring to the city. St. Augustine wrote "City of God". Cain, the first farmer, after killing Abel, founded the first city, east of Eden. The first founder of the city killed his brother. According to Augustine, the first city is a house of crime and curse of God.
In the Christian holy writings, there was a clear distinction between the sinful city of Babylon and the holy city of Jerusalem. Babylon is an earthly city, the Satan's city, whose name means disorder and confusion. Jerusalem is the heavenly city, the enemy of Babylon. According to St. Augustine, in the earthly city, the good is temporary, and peace is earthy. In contrast, the heavenly city is a city where eternal peace prevails. Rome, according to him was a symbol of vanity and materialism.
 Heavenly Jerusalem is described in the writings and works of medieval art, in opposition to Babylon, the sinful city described in Revelation (Apocalypse) of John as "a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit" (Apocalypse 18, 2). The contrast between Babylon and Jerusalem appears in the synagogue of Dura Europos in which the Jewish Temple and the Temple of the Sun express religious and ethical opposites. In Christian literature, Babylon was the city of Antichrist, a symbol of evil, cruelty, and vanity. On the other hand, Jerusalem is the holy city. The descriptions of the city of Jerusalem and the temple are based on the vision of Ezekiel in Book of Ezekiel (40-43), and Kings I (6-7) and Chronicles II (3).
John, in his vision of Revelation, creates an echo to the vision of Ezekiel who indicates the measurements of heavenly Jerusalem. In this vision, an angel used golden rod to measure the city, its gates, and walls. The city is cube shaped - its length equals its width and height. The Apocalypse mentioned two temples: one divine and one earthly. All texts emphasize the importance of the quadrangle in the temple. The city itself is pure gold (Revelation, 21, 18). It is quadratic, and the Temple, as well, is square-shaped. The equality of the four sides, symbolizes the cosmos. The four pillars in the corners represent the four elements.
       In the Middle Ages, heavenly Jerusalem is described in architecture, sculpture and painting. As opposed to presenting it as a quadratic city in the Bible, it was usually drawn in a circle shape that indicates a divine symbol of life after death. This shape of the city can be seen in many maps of the Land of Israel. The circular area of ​​Jerusalem is divided into four quarters by the two main axes that cross each other, at right angle.