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



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Each generation writes its autobiography in the buildings it creates.

Louis Mumford

Friday, September 2, 2011


             Historical Background
         After the death of Justinian, the Lombards (in Latin: Langobardī) invaded Italy in 565, and established a German kingdom in northern Italy. The period of their rule lasted until 774. The Lombard occupation broke Rome off from the rest of Byzantine Italy, and the Pope became a secular governor alongside his being a spiritual leader.
  During this period, Islam founded in 622 by Muhammad appeared. The Muslims expanded their faith and established a huge empire that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to West India. The Land of Israel was conquered in 634. In 711, after taking over North Africa, the Muslim Empire invaded Spain and was pushed by the Franks who prevented their penetration to France in 732.
       The Nomadic Seljuk Turks (called so after their leader whose name was Seljuq) who accepted the religion of Islam fanatically, a fact which did not stop them from fighting other Muslims, conquered in the 11th century the eastern part of the Muslim state, and Jerusalem itself (in 1071) .
Crusades began in 1096 to save the Holy Sepulcher from the Turks, and led to the liberation of Jerusalem and the establishment of Crusaders' state in the Holy Land. The prevalent belief among many of the pilgrims was that the crusade would guarantee them a share in the kingdom of heaven. Their religious enthusiasm was combined with adventurous, economic, and political motives. It was their way to escape from slavery, burden of taxes and poverty.
          The Crusades had
much effect on the entire economic and political life, being Europe's economic impetus, and increasing the movement of people and goods across the continent. Pilgrimages to holy and far places became popular. Many enjoyed it as contemporary tourists do.
       The absence of knights in the countries of the crusaders' origin expanded the power of the kings of England and France, and increased the nationalist sentiment in their countries. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Mediterranean trade was revived and developed in Europe. The fiefs, known to us today from the word "bourg" which was added to the names of cities, attracted the trade routes to them. These were the seeds, from which the market towns developed. Economic life was renewed and cities developed.
             During the years 1060-1091, the Normans conquered Sicily from the Muslims, and at the end of the tenth century, they often attacked England. King Edward the Confessor appointed Normans positions in the church and encouraged Normans to immigrate to England. In 1066, William, the Duke of Normandy, conquered England, and became the king of England. The Norman Conquest turned England into a province of French culture and French language became the language of the nobles.
             William and his successors continued to rule Normandy. A large part of France, first Normandy, and later the Kingdom of Anjou, remained subject to the power of the kings of England until the early 13th century. The situation where England intervened in the political affairs of France, led to wars that lasted hundreds of years between England and France.
           During this phase began the rise and strengthening of Western European countries, and Europe started to get its modern shape. Between the years 1070 -1130, the middle classes in many cities revolted to gain political independence of the feudal system. Kings in the various countries subdued the noble feudal lords and the citizens of the cities, and thus formed a national unity. The English, who were the first to set up a national state, were followed by the French and later by the Spaniards.
           With the revival of city life in Europe in the 12th century, began an intellectual renaissance. Schools of law and medicine, philosophy and theology received new impetus. Secular universities were founded in Italy. Bologna University was known as center of law studies, and in Paris, there was a university center of theological studies. Unlike the schools of monasteries, which were located in isolated rural areas, unable to hold opinions exchange, the universities were in the cities.

         The Romanesque Architectural Concept
           Like many other names given to periods and styles, the name "Romanesque" (literally: "a Roman") was not coined by its contemporaries, but appeared later. It was coined in the early 19th century in Normandy, when medieval art was rediscovered and its monumentality stirred up enthusiasm. Some see the name "Renaissance" fitting this period not less than that of the 15th century in Italy.
           In the tenth century, which is considered pre-Romanesque, we already find the characteristics of Romanesque architecture. A
bove the nave appeared a vault, and a dome above squinches. In decoration appeared "Lombard bands" and niches. The main areas where we find the beginnings of Romanesque architecture are Catalonia (in the tenth century), which was influenced by Muslim art in Spain, and Lombardy in northern Italy.
          Romanesque architecture is based on Roman traditions and Roman construction in early Christianity. Roman remains found in areas that were once provinces of the Roman Empire influenced the medieval builders, and were natural role models.

    The Romanesque style can be understood in the light of the Carolingian and Ottonian styles, which precede it. Some characteristics of the Romanesque style that already appeared during these periods were the westwerk – a massive western façade with pair of towers flanking it, the complex in the eastern part of the church, and the rhythm created by placing pillars and columns in alternation. In Germany, Romanesque style remains very connected to the previous Ottonian style.
           The most prominent features of the Romanesque style are: round arches, massive stone building resembling its Roman precedent, barrel vaults, crossing vaults, and heavy pillars that support them. In Romanesque buildings, we find large wall areas. Stone slabs placed one on the top of the other create a massive wall. The appearance of fortified buildings, including churches, during this period can be attributed to the abundance of civil wars during this period.
          In Romanesque architecture we find horizontal and vertical divisions of the internal and external walls of the church. The need for massive vaults led to building thick supporting walls and small openings, which influenced the nature of light inside the church.
            One of the innovations of Romanesque architecture
was the big gate in the front of the church and its rich sculpture. Likewise, a new design characterized the capitals. For the first time we find capitals showing stories in high relief such as the story of Noah's Ark, scenes from the life of Jesus' childhood and scenes from the lives of saints.

In Byzantine churches, we found capitals of columns showing reliefs of plants and animals, but narrative descriptions such as those in the Romanesque capitals were not presented there. Here, as in ancient temples, where the reliefs were very distant from the observer, and it took binoculars to see them, so too the Romanesque capitals were far from the observer. It seems that the figures described in the capitals have a life of their own, and they do not need to share it with the worshipers in the church.
        Since Imperial Roman architecture, Romanesque style was the first to conquer the whole of Europe. The spread of the style can be attributed to the relative mobility of people during this period. Merchants, nobles, knights, artisans and peasants moved around Europe for trade and pilgrimage. Pilgrimage routes helped spread the style.

Materials and Construction Techniques
       As the architects in early Christianity, during the Romanesque, builders were forced to build without the pozzolana mortar as the basis for concrete construction in Rome. A strong type of cement, such as the erosion of the Rhine river, or scaly stone mentioned by Palladio, were found in several places, but these materials were not common, and had no effect on construction techniques that were prevalent during Romanesque architecture. In many buildings constructed during this period, weak cement was used for construction. The result of this construction was that water, inevitably seeps over time, and tends to infiltrate and carry out the mortar, leaving spaces sometimes causing the collapse of the building. This was not a big problem for a few generations after the construction, but was felt later. This is why there were structure problems requiring constant repairs, which characterize Romanesque buildings.
         Comparing the Romanesque construction  with its Roman predecessor, shows a distinct advantage of Roman concrete construction with pozzolana cement. The
preservation level of Roman buildings, although they are older, is much higher than that of the Romanesque buildings.

 During the Romanesque period, the great basilica churches were roofed with massive stone vaults designed to replace the flat wooden ceilings from the early Christian era, which were prone to fires as a result of lightning. Due to the massive walls during the Romanesque period, there were inevitable limitations on the design of the construction, and especially the size of the windows. They were small and few in order not to weaken the wall and for reasons of protection from attack by enemies. Stone vaults had precedents in early Middle Ages when they were used in small buildings and crypts.

The most common vault in Romanesque architecture was the barrel vault. The simple curved shape of the vault helped in dispersing the weight of the ceiling on the walls, but there was a limit on the width of the barrel vault that could be built. As for domes, as they were smaller, it was easier to ensure their stability. Therefore, the architects created a plan consisting of small units called bays. These are units of square or rectangular vaulted area. Such a unit typically served as a module, the basic measure unit whose multiples constituted the dimensions of other organs of the architectural structure.
         The Romanesque builders had to solve two problems: to ensure the stability of the structure, and illuminate its interior, without compromising its stability. The lighting in Romanesque buildings is usually not enough. In order to support the structure, the builders used double arches inside the church to strengthen the vaults. These arches always protrude from the barrel vault, but they do not appear in all areas where Romanesque was the style. In Auburn, for example, they do not appear. The pillar bearing the weight of the Romanesque structure is heavy and massive, round, polygonal or complex shaped.
         Means used by the builders to strengthen the structure were massive buttresses, which can be seen on the exterior of the building. Their appearance is simple and their function is to strengthen the walls and neutralize the pressure from the arches. Sometimes flying buttresses were added to them to strengthen the resistance of the wall.
         In England, Romanesque construction method (called Norman) was simple. This can be  attributed to unskilled Saxon workers who were used to build in wood rather than in stone. The massive appearance of the Norman buildings can be misleading. In most cases, the pillars are made of simple bricks or stone exterior stuffed with gravel.
          Romanesque construction technique does not always take into account the weather. The writer Prosper Mérimée
(1803 – 1870), who also studied medieval art, wrote that it was amazing to see how climate had little effect on the roofs of the northern churches, which, being flat, did not suit weather conditions. He noted that in the East, construction more suited the weather conditions.

    The Romanesque Church
        A typical Romanesque church combines, in one way or another, a basilica plan with stone vaults. Emphasis was placed on length, rather than height. Its ground plan is Latin cross shaped which can be seen when looking from above at the church. The highlighted cross became a central element later in Gothic church architecture.
Over the square of the intersection typically appears a Romanesque dome, and above it, a bell tower. These presented a hierarchical scheme vertically oriented in addition to the horizontal orientation.

The square of the intersection is the place that connects heaven and earth. The dome symbolizes the sky while the shape of the square symbolizes the four elements of the world, the four winds of heaven and the four Gospel writers whose symbols often appeared at the four corners of the dome. The intersection area is where the church marks the Ascension, and the call to Jesus, the God - man, to return.

In the Romanesque churches, we find crossing vaults, leaning on the four points from which are growing arches that cross each other. These vaults usually do not appear in the nave, but in the side aisles. The vault brought into the architecture the  rhythm of the circle - an image of the cycle of time, a perfect never-ending line, the most obvious symbol of eternity - a symbol of paradise to which the worshiper seeks to reach on the day he died.
        Domes on a square base are found in many churches built in Romanesque style. Compared with the Byzantine architects, Romanesque architects built a dome in the shape of half-full ball  carried over a base of pendentives and arches. The use of squinches, usually appears in bell towers whose square base on which the squinches are placed, becomes an octagon.
            Another type of vault, which we find in the Romanesque church, besides the barrel vault and the vault placed on square basis is the vault shaped like a half-dome, characteristic of the apse and the radiating chapels.
           The nave in the Romanesque church is usually taller and narrower than that in churches from previous periods, to allow more room for windows in the clerestory. These windows were small and often decorated with moldings, reliefs and sculptures. I
n the clerestory of the church of Autun, in each bay, there is a window, which occupies only one third of the length of the bay. In Paray Le Monial there are three windows in one bay, but their height occupies only a small part of the height of the clerestory. As a result, the nave  and choir are relatively dim.

The pilgrimage churches in the Romanesque period differ from the early Christian churches in the choir, which is found beyond the transept. Here, as we have already seen in the Carolingian and Ottonian architecture, the side aisles continue around the choir, to create the ambulatory from which chapels are radiating. This design was intended to satisfy the demands of the cult of relics.
            The plan of the church also suited the requirements of the liturgy, which were a large crowd, chorus of singing priests and the separation between the priests and the crowd. The vaults significantly improved the acoustics of the church and played an important role in musical rituals.
          One of the innovations in Romanesque style is the design of the gate. For the first time we find archivolts, decorated with concentric arches getting smaller and smaller into the depth of the gate. Such design of arches is also found in the arcades, vaults and windows. In the front gate a tympanum (the area between the arch of the gate and between the beam) is often found.   

Romanesque architecture reached a perfect harmonization between ornament and structure. Romanesque sculpture did not develop as independent art, but as part of the architectural system. Thus, we find statues, which adapt themselves to the format of the column's capital, the tympanum in the façade of the church and the archivolts.

Sculptures were attached to the columns and emphasized the vertical architectural organs supporting the structure. The use of sculpture as part of the overall architectural plan heralds the sculpture as an integral part of Gothic architecture, as shown in Chartres, Amiens and other Gothic cathedrals.

Compared to early Christian churches whose exterior was kept simple while their interior was magnificent, Romanesque architecture is rich with sculptural decoration inside and out. Facades full of statues were common in the 12th century churches throughout Europe. The sculpture is often naive, without maintaining natural body proportions. The body was sometimes excessively long or too short. These compositions express honest feelings of powerful religious enthusiasm.

Some themes appeared more often in the facades of churches following the revival of monumental sculpture. Façades of the churches of the Order of Cluny, from the last decades of the 11th century, tympana (plural of tympanum), present the judgment day with the blessed in heaven to the right of Jesus, and the damned in hell, to his left. The most famous example of such a description is found in the Façade of St. Lazare Cathedral in Autun, France. Another favorite subject, which appeared in Tympana, was glorious Jesus, sitting in a mandorla (almond shape) - shaped medallion, surrounded by symbols of the gospel writers.

In the Romanesque churches, we can find statues of dragons, and a recurring motif of a pair of animals with one head. This art came to Europe from Iran and Turkey, with Hun invasions in the early Middle Ages.
           Sometimes to the religious significance of the statues was added their function as guardians of the place. Thus, statues of lions were placed to guard the church.

According to allegorical medieval books about animals (Bestiary), lions are supposed to sleep with their eyes open, and thus their guarding power is increased. Statues of monstrous appearance aroused the opposition of Bernard of Clairvaux, whom I will discuss later.

The Cistercian Order of Bernard of Clairvaux opposed the use of sculpture, stain glass, or colors in the church. The colored stain glass was replaced by glass without color whose ornament was achieved by lead designs in decorative patterns. The only thing that Bernard of Clairvaux allowed was using silver goblets.

Romanesque churches were usually multi – colored. Medieval churches were not considered complete as long as the works of colors and decoration were not completed. On the walls of the nave were described narrative cycles - iconographic plans that presented principles of Christianity. Most medieval statues were painted, and remains of color can be found on them.

Recurring theme in the architectural decorations of the church is round arches, which constitute a central element in Romanesque architecture. We find small blind arches, which appear to be attached to the walls. They are found in all areas where Romanesque style was found, and could be found adorning every part of the structure. Arches also appeared in the triforium windows, which sometimes were false, without any openings. Triforium of this type can be often found in Burgundy.

In Romanesque architecture, we distinguish two types of ornaments: geometric patterns such as zigzag, vertical lines, spirals, and elements with stylized motifs from nature, such as flowers with four, or eight petals. The complexity of Romanesque decoration is extreme. We find a mixture of various sources of inspiration such as fabrics, items made of ivory, and other imported items. In the decoration there is also a Muslim influence, which can be found in the major churches, which are located on the pilgrimage routes to the church of Santiago in Compostela, Spain.

Wittkower wrote that Romanesque church interior looked oriental, more than we would consider today. Romanesque churches did not present walls and large spaces to which we are accustomed. Textile works were hung between columns, around the altar and along the clerestory.

In c.1150, Abbot Suger from the Church of Saint Denis wrote that there were treasures of pure gold and silver hung on the walls, the pillars, and arches. Tapestries elaborately decorated with gold and pearls were hung in the church. This was achieved by donations of believers.
        Most of the construction activity of Romanesque churches was financed by communities of monks. Abbots were responsible for building the monasteries. They initiated the construction and raised money to finance it. Less often, a patron who was a citizen financed it.   

Monks often participated in the construction itself. Architects of churches travelled and saw structures, before they began their work. In some cases, patrons asked them to look at a building which they regarded as worthy of emulation. Architects and builders often travelled. When work was suspended because of financing, political, or other reasons, they were forced to move from place to place.
         Many churches and cathedrals built during the Romanesque were largely modified or replaced later by other churches. In some places Romanesque forms dominate, with Gothic additions.

The Orders of Cluny and Cîtaux (the Cistercian order)
          The Romanesque period was the golden age of monasteries. Communities of monks in Cluny and Cîtaux, both in Burgundy, became not only spiritual centers, but also intellectual, artistic, and political centers, which were within a short period, international centers.

 The monastery was a closed society that had little contact with the surrounding world. The community of monks was like a big family having vast areas of land and many servants. At the entrance to the monastery, pilgrims were inhabited, and food was distributed to the poor.

The role of the monks was to pray for the community as a whole, and serve as spiritual mediators for the believers. Until the 11th century, they lived in isolation and provided their own needs, but the pilgrimages put pressure on the monasteries to be open for guests who were thirsty for miracles. As a result, new monasteries were situated near the ancient basilica churches, which were built over the graves of saints. Trading reliquaries spread, and the faithful flocked to the abbey churches, which purchased them.

In the sixth century St. Benedict drew up the rules on which was based the daily life in the Benedictine monasteries. His approach, which combines spiritual life with manual labor, served as a guiding principle for both monastic orders - the Order of Cluny, and the Cistercian Order.

In 910, Duke William of Aquitaine founded the monastery of Cluny in Burgundy, which greatly influenced life in Western Europe. In a few years, and in a brutal feudal world, about one thousand four hundred monasteries of the Order of Cluny were established, and spread throughout Europe, from England to Italy and from Portugal to Germany.

Raul Glaber (985-1046) who was a monk in a monastery of Cluny wrote in his Chronicle that three years after the year of the millennium, there was a big boost in the construction of churches. People vied with one another to build a church more noble. "It was as if the whole world were shaking itself free, shrugging off the past, and cladding itself everywhere in a white mantle of churches".
           When we refer to the Romanesque churches, we must remember the importance of pilgrimage routes to the churches of Santiago in Compostela, Rome, and Jerusalem. Europe became a network of pilgrimage routes. The routes to Santiago in Compostela pilgrimage spread across France and led to the Pyrenees. One of the routes passed through Chartres, Orleans, Tours and Poitiers. Another route passed through Vezeley, Puy and Conque, and a third passed through Earl, San Gilles and Toulouse. Thus, we can understand the obvious similarity between the churches of Santiago in Compostela, San Sernin in Toulouse and St. Martial de Limoges (which no longer exists).
          The Order of Cluny contributed greatly to the development of immigration routes. The characteristics of Cluny, such as ambulatory and radiating chapels, which were designed to facilitate the access of the faithful to the relics, can be found in most abbey churches along the pilgrimage routes, even when they were integrated into local traditions. Such ambulatory and chapels we have already seen in the plan of the monastery of Saint Gallen from the ninth century.

The monastery churches of Cluny were open to the faithful who were invited to enjoy their splendor and liturgical singing. The faithful who came to the churches often contributed to them, and thus the Order of Cluny accumulated assets and wealth which, inevitably aroused criticism. The most prominent of these critics was Bernard of Clairvaux, who condemned the richness and abundance of the order. Bernard wanted to return to the original rules of St. Benedict, which required a combination of physical work, prayer and abstinence from all luxuries.
          In 1098 was established the monastery of Cîteaux in Burgundy, which gave its name to the Cistercian Order, which was designed to reform the order of Cluny, and live according to the rules of St. Benedict, as they are written. The Cistercian rules dictated the establishment of monasteries out of town, and in isolated areas. The new order of Citaux, which was joined by Bernard of Clairvaux in 1112, had in 1152, the year of Bernard's death, 343 monasteries, and in 1200 CE, approximately 700 monasteries.

Bernard of Clairvaux influenced all aspects of life of the monks, in his letters, writings, and sermons. He thought that the church needed reform, and attacked corruptions wherever he noticed them. Likewise, he attacked the placing of monstrous sculptured creatures in the church. In a letter that he sent to the Abbot of the Monastery of St. Thierry he wrote in this regard:

"What excuse can there be for these ridiculous monstrosities in the cloisters… Here we find filthy monkeys and fierce lions, fearful centaurs, harpies, and striped tigers…Here is one head with many bodies, there is one body with many heads…" (From: "Apologia" to William abbot of St. Thierry) see: 

Bernard attacked the grotesque aspect of Romanesque art. He saw in it a hideous ridicule, and asked what wild monkeys and lions had to do with a church. What these monstrous centaurs, half-human creatures do in the church. He also condemned the vastness of the Church of Cluny. As a follower of St. Augustine, St. Bernard was very interested in the connection between musical harmony, visual beauty, and absolute truth. His attitude tending to simplicity, which was expressed regarding the religious building beautification, remained in the visual arts, but did not include music.
          While the success of the Order of Cluny stemmed from the desire of Europe to distance  itself from the barbarism of the tenth and eleventh centuries, the success of the Cistercian Order derived from the ambition to strictness and desire to break away from the pleasures of the Western world. The Cistercian Order and its spiritual leader, Bernard of Clairvaux, abandoned the life of luxury and preached the love of God. They moved away from all the pleasures of the world, to devote themselves in body and soul to God.

The Cistercian's worldview influenced the location of the monasteries and their shape. Convents of the order moved away from society, and were situated in forests, in areas rich in water resources. The order's strict approach dictated the lack of colonnades, towers, statues, and stained glass in the monasteries. Glass had no color. The monasteries of the order were plain looking, and had the same shape. The churches of the monasteries had a rectangular apse, and two floors including a clerestory. Compared with the churches of the Order of Cluny, which had plenty of paintings and gold, the Cistercian churches were whitewashed.
          The only Cistercian church that kept its original appearance, is Fontenay monastery (founded in 1119, built during the years 1139-1147), which represents the Cistercian ideals. It is located in a forested area, surrounded by a wall and in its center was a cloister. The church, whose ground plan is cross-shaped, is simple in its exterior and interior, and has no decorations. ​​Beauty is achieved by the simplicity of the building. In the nave, which has a pointed barrel vault, dominates dim light, which creates a mysterious atmosphere.

The side aisles, as the nave, have a pointed barrel vault. In the division of the wall of the nave and the side aisles, there is great simplicity. Square pillars with adjacent columns, support arcades with pointed arches. The wall is smooth, without decoration, and is separated from a vault by a simple cornice. The crossing arches are powerful. Each arch of the nave has a barrel vault in the side aisle, perpendicular to the axis of the nave.

Each bay of the nave opens to the adjoining bay, through a low arch that connects the two bays. The windows high in the outer walls, and windows in the eastern wall, are the only sources of light. In the capitals of the columns, there are delicate and simple reliefs. In the eastern part of the church, there is a rectangular apse, which serves as the choir.

Image - Fontenay monastery, a look at the apse

The architecture of the Cistercian Order is characterized by severe lines through which it expresses opposition to the spirit of the Order of Cluny. Unlike the Order of Cluny, which invited the community into the convent, in Fontany, no structures were intended for the public. There was no structure for guests nor hospital. The monastery stayed away from the world around it.
Image - Fontenay Monastery plan

Most Cistercian churches adopted the rectangular shape of the choir. Since the liturgy in the Cistercian church took place in the nave, there was no need for big eastern part of the church. The roof of the church was generally flat, even when the apse was round.

The Cistercian architecture passed its  powerful expression, clarity, and emphasis on simplicity to the Gothic art. It serves as an example of clarity, without disguise. The ribbed vaults which were prevalent in the Cistercian churches, were one of the keys for the passage from Romanesque to Gothic style.
           The purity of forms and lack of ornament, fit well with the spiritual aspirations of the Cistercian Order expressing the mysteries of faith and the light of reason. In the 11th century, no one doubted
the priority of faith over reason. The Order of Citaux saw the Virgin as protecting the Cistercian churches. Accordingly, during the 12th century, most churches were called "Notre Dame" (literally in French: "Our Lady") - "Notre Dame de Lyon", "Notre Dame d'Amiens", "Notre Dame de Paris" and the like. Leonardo da Vinci wrote about it, that many, who believe in the Son, build temples only for the mother.

The iconography of the Romanesque churches to some extent heralds Gothic iconography in its general interpretation of the New Testament and the Old Testament, and in the expression given to  the cult of saints.


One way to get closer to God and to gain his favor, in addition to donations to the church, was the pilgrimage - a trip to a sacred place. The Pilgrim had set himself the date of his pilgrimage and destination. People left their families and set off to a way of hardships which waited the pilgrim during the Middle Ages from the moment he left his home. It was an act of repentance and purification of the soul. In the act of pilgrimage, the pilgrim imitated the chosen people on his way to the land of Israel - the Promised Land. The pilgrims believed that the holy relics (remains of the holy saints) would reward them for their visit, and help fill their requests. Medieval books such as "The Miracles of the St. Foy", and "The Miracles of St. Benedict", described the effectiveness of pilgrimage with lists of evidences.

Hoping that miracles would happen to them, the pilgrims would stop in every church where the holy relics were displayed. The flocking of pilgrims to churches brought them to life-threatening situations, Abbot Suger of Saint Denis tells: "A man could stand like a marble statue there, paralyzed, and free to shout out loud. Meanwhile, women in the crowd suffered greatly, being squashed between strong men, like vines under a press, until death seemed dancing before their eyes. Blood was pouring from their faces and they shouted as if they had labor pains. Some were left barefoot, and had to be carried over the heads in the audience by kind people ... As for the monks who were responsible for the relics, they often had to flee with the relics through the windows ..."

As the number of pilgrim increased, new holy places were added to the list of destinations, but there were three main sites, of utmost importance: the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, St. Peter's tomb Rome and the tomb of St. James in Compostela in northwest Spain.

In mid-tenth century, Christians in Gaul (France) began the pilgrimage to St. James Tomb (Santiago) in the church Saint Iago in Compostela, which was dedicated to him. Sant Iago is Jacob, son of Zebedee, an apostle of Christ, and brother of John the Baptist. He was beheaded between the years 41-44 CE and his burial place was forgotten.    

The Golden Legend (where the lives of the saints are narrated) tells that after St. James was beheaded in Judea, his disciples put his body secretly on a boat without oars. They crossed the sea and arrived to the shore of Galicia in Spain where they buried the saint.

According to Christian tradition, in the early ninth century a Spanish monk to whom an angel appeared and showed the burial site of the Holy Apostle, found the tomb. When King Alfonso the second heard about the discovery, he immediately built three churches on the site. The discovery of the remains of the saint brought great momentum to the motivation of the Christian army to fight against the Muslim conquerors, and St. James became the symbol of protection of Christian Spain and Spain's patron saint. As a result, he was seen as a powerful warrior who fights against the Muslims, hence, his nickname Matamoros (kills Moors). He was also the patron saint of the poor and pilgrims.

Pilgrims and donations flooded the church of Santiago in Compostela, and the city was built around the mausoleum. Since 844, the Church of Santiago in Compostela was a major center of pilgrimage. The tomb of St. James was popular and attracted more believers than the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.

The pilgrimage lasted months. The pilgrims were never sure if they would reach their destination safely, and return safely to their homes. On their way to Compostela, they could rest in pilgrims' churches, which were located on the route that they chose. When they would reach the church of Santiago, before undergoing the process of cleansing the soul, they would wear new clothes, and thereafter, receive a certificate attesting to their visit in the Church of Santiago in Compostela and the penitence for their sins.

It was expected from the pilgrims to give offerings generously to the church, according to their means. With no gifts to the church, the pilgrimage was worthless. It was told about a woman who brought expensive ring to the church of Conque, and would not give it to St Foy. This woman was cursed, fell ill and had nightmares. Another woman, who had left the church of Conque with the ring still in her hand, fell ill and did not regain health until she gave the ring to the church's treasury.

Instilling fear among believers led to increasing amounts of donations to the church. The donor hoped that on Judgment Day he and his family would gain salvation for his contribution to church. These gifts ruined the aristocracy and enriched the church.

        Local Romanesque Styles in Architecture
        There was no such period in the history of architecture, which has introduced large variety of façades and plans of churches, as the Romanesque period. Multiplicity of architectural styles reflects the feudal fragmentation that existed during this period. Below are presented the unique architectural features in the various regions in France, Italy, England (where Romanesque is called Norman), and the Rhine in Germany.

            Romanesque France
          French Romanesque architecture can be divided into two major stylistic groups: one group is churches with a nave and two or four side aisles, transepts and apses, a choir with ambulatory and radiating chapels. A significant feature of these churches is the weswerk. A direct light is penetrating to the side aisles and galleries, and the nave is lit indirectly. The second group is churches that show Byzantine and Muslim influence, and are characterized by a series of domes. These churches have no side aisles, but sometimes they have transepts. Apses are in the same width as the nave, and sometimes they have radiating chapels. A more detailed outline of the Romanesque style in France shows the various characteristics of each region. The regions are Provence, Auvergne and Languedoc, Aquitaine, Poitou, Burgundy and Normandy.

Romanesque in Provence

Provence region in southeastern France, more than any other region of Romanesque architecture, was inspired by Antiquity. The area is called "Provence" because it was a Roman province since 118 BCE. While other areas of ancient Gaul were under military rule, as occupied territory, Provence region was dominated by the Roman Senate. Magnificent Roman buildings survived from the Roman period in Arles, Nimes, Orange, and other Roman cities.
          The architects of Provence built little churches with harmonic proportions. Among the ancient elements that we find in these churches are façades decorated with gables, entablatures, and fluted pilasters with Corinthian capitals. In the sculptures can be seen heavy and parallel folds reminiscent of statues of the Gallo - Roman tombs. Decorative elements resemble decorative elements of Roman architecture.
Image - Church of St. Tropez in Arles

Churches with an especially ornate façade in Provence are St. Trophime in Arles (1180), and St. Gilles du Gard (1161). These churches have a gate reminiscent of Roman triumphal arch, or a gate of a City. St. Tropez in Arles is a masterpiece of Romanesque Provence. Its façade has a shape of a triumphal arch with one arch. On both sides of the gate are presented the apostles in niches framed by fluted columns. The architectural decoration is borrowed from ancient Roman buildings.

The façade of St. Gilles du Gard shows three central arches, reminiscent of the Roman triumphal arch, with the central larger arch. The classic character is particularly expressed by the pilasters, portico, columns, and entablature. The tympanum (a copy of the original Romanesque made in the 17th century) shows the main gate with Jesus on the throne, and the symbols of Evangelists. The tympana flanking it show the Crucifixion and the admiration of the magi. Between the arches, statues in niches are framed by fluted pilasters.

The facades of these churches were built irrespective of their internal structure. The interior and exterior seem like two independent architectural units, feeding on the ancient tradition. On the façades of the churches in Provence, there were sculptures inspired by the pagan Roman heritage in the service of the victorious church.

A typical major element in churches in Provence was double reinforced vault arches. In most Romanesque churches in this area, we can find pillars with pilasters. The influence of Lombard Romanesque can be seen in lion statues, which support the columns.

The bell tower of St. Trophime in Arles is typical of the region of Provence. The square tower, which has three floors, was designed so that each additional floor retreats slightly from the lower floor, and is defined by a cornice. The first two floors are decorated with Lombard stripes  (vertical stripes in low relief whose tops are connected to each other by a series of small arches that are part of the same low relief), and the third is decorated with fluted pilasters with sculptured capitals.
        The interior of the church of St Trophime in Arles represents the Romanesque architecture in Provence. To the pillars are attached pilasters, which support large arcades. The arches, which are high, define the high position of the windows. The small dimensions of these windows allow some light penetration. To the darkness of the church contributes the fact that from the side aisles there is no direct light to enter the nave. The vaults are very high, and they seem to lack decorative detail. In its severe look, this assemblage represents the culmination, and the end of the Romanesque style in Provence.
            In Provence region, the construction technique has changed over time. Using rubble was replaced by the use of stones placed in rows, one atop the other.
            The main churches in Provence include, in addition to St. Gilles du Gard and St. Tropez in Arles, the Cathedrals of Avignon, Sisteron, and Carpendra.

    Romanesque in Auvergne and Languedoc
        Auvergne area is in central France, and Languedoc ("langue" in French, literally "tongue", and "oc" in the local dialect - "Yes") is a historical province in southern France bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the south, and the river Rhone in the east. In 121 BCE, Languedoc became part of the Roman province. In the ninth century, Toulouse develop into the cultural center of Languedoc and in 924 CE passed to the hands of the dukes of Languedoc. Here developed a culture based on a unique dialect of the French language, after which the region was named. In this region, the word "Yes" is "oc", as opposed to "oil" (Today "oui").
        In the mountainous region of Auvergne, there is a group of abbey churches built since the late 11th century. The most striking feature is half- barrel vaults over the side aisles, built according to the principle of the flying buttresses supporting the structure in Gothic cathedrals, which will be discussed later on. These vaults support the barrel vault which is over the nave. Light enters the church through the windows in the side aisles and galleries, and as a result, the lighting in these churches is inadequate, and the interior of the church is always dim.
         The main type of church in Auvergne is a church with a large nave, and galleries above the side aisles. A narthex usually precedes the nave. The various parts of the church are always covered with barrel vaults. Columns are adjacent to the corners of the pillars. Another important feature is the ambulatory, from which chapels are radiating.

A massive octagonal bell tower above the intersection area is the most striking exterior element in the churches of Auvergne. Beside the intersection, to the north and south of the dome, are raised the side aisles forming a shoulder like addition to the dome. The transition between a the square of the intersection and the dome, is made with squinches. Such is the plan in St. Nectaire whose construction began in 1080, St. Paul Issoire (c.1130), St. Austremoine in  Orcival (the beginning of the 12th century), and the Church of Notre Dame Du Port De Clermont Ferrand (c.1100) which was built on the ruins of a church from the sixth century. The heavy vaults and the little light in the church, contribute to the atmosphere of mystery and severity. However, the many elements that make up the vaults inside the church convey a glorious sense of space.
Image - St. Nectar church

Side aisles with half barrel vaults, supporting the nave, are found in St. Etienne at Nevers and Paray Le Monial.
          The church of Notre Dame de Clermont Ferrand represents well the character of the churches of Auvergne. All the characteristics of the churches of Auvergne are found in this church, except for the columns that attached only to two pillars in the nave.

The churches of Languedoc, like St. Sernin in Toulouse, and St. Foy de Conques are of the same type of those in Auvergne. They have a large nave  with side aisles and galleries, a large transept, choir, ambulatory with radiating chapels and an octagonal  tower in the intersection.
         The church of St. Sernin, which was dedicated to St. Saturninus who brought the Gospel to Languedoc, is a church of pilgrims, located on the route of pilgrimage to Santiago in Compostela. It was built during the years 1150-1060 and was dedicated in 1096. The main building material was re-used Roman bricks.

The plan of St. Sernin resembles that of St. Foy in Conques, St. Martial in Limoges, St. Martin in Tours and Santiago in Compostela, which are all found on the pilgrimage route.

Image - St Sernin in Toulouse            

      The church of St. Sernin is a large monument with a wide cross-shaped ground plan. Its nave is divided into two wall zones: arcade and gallery.      Like the church of San Pietro in Rome, or the Church of Cluny III, San Sernin is a large church, with a nave and four side aisles.

 Similar to other pilgrimage churches, it is designed to accept a large crowd of believers and facilitate the movement of pilgrims in the church. The internal side aisles and galleries, continue along around the transept. Thus, the space of the transept has three aisles. Chapels are connected to the transept on its east side.

The choir is surrounded by an ambulatory with five radiating chapels. The worshiper would enter from one side of the church, pass through the side aisle leading him through a side transept and then along the ambulatory. He would continue in the second part of the transept and leave through the side aisle, on the other side of the church. Thus, multitudes of pilgrims passed through the church without disturbing the monks' liturgical activity.

The plan of St. Sernin Church is based on a module in the size of a bay in the side aisle. He who enters the church has a sense of infinite length. The barrel vault is dark. The light in the nave is dim because light penetrate the windows which are located on the side aisles and a little light reaches the nave. The galleries also prevent direct day light The light's intensity decreases as the distance from the side aisles to the nave increases. It was impossible to create openings for windows in the vault of the nave because they would undermine its stability.

The half columns that are attached to the pillars reach the height of the galleries, and their capitals take in the double arches of the barrel vault. These arches, crossing the ceiling of the nave, divide the vault into bays, which are connected to the bays of the side aisles. The vertical direction of the half-columns that are attached to the pillars, creates a sense of striving to heights, and balances the horizontal direction of the great arcades and galleries. The nave is very long, and leads to the eastern part of the church, which is rich and complex.

Two towers were designed for the western front of the church, but they have never been built. Thus, the tower in the intersection is the only vertical element of the structure, which is sticking out when looking at the church from the outside. This octagonal tower, tall and powerful, gathers all the structures around it. It balances the long horizontal nave, and draws the eye upwards.
      The upper floors of the tower were added in the 13th century.

A church similar to the church of San Sernin in its plan, but in smaller scale, is the church of St. Foy in Conques (1052-1130), a small church located on a hill and dominating the landscape. In the countryside where it is located, the land is not fertile and the climate is not easy. The arrival of the  relics of Saint Foy ("Foy" in French, literally: "Faith") was the salvation of the region, which won the grace of God due to the saint, not only spiritually, but also economically. In 880 CE, monks of a neighboring monastery church stole the holy relics. Such phenomenon was not unusual in the Middle Ages.

The structure of the church of St. Foy demonstrates an architectural plan of a pilgrimage church. Like the plan of San Sernin in Toulouse, here too, the transept has side aisles. Likewise, here also, the ambulatory has radiating chapels, and there is an octagonal tower in intersection area. The plan of San Foy, like that of San Sernin, is based on a module in the size of a bay of a side aisle. However, unlike San Sernin, where there are four side aisles, in St Foy there are only two side aisles. The verticality of the nave in St. Foy is more emphasized than in San Sernin. Like the whole space itself, the bays, arches, galleries, and most of all the arcades, are boldly towering upward. The high altitude of the arcades around the choir, especially contributes to the general vertical look of the church. In the nave, half columns attached to the pillars alternate with pilasters reaching the height of the galleries and continuing as half columns to the height of the barrel vault. The side aisles have crossing vaults.

 The entrance to the church of St. Foy is highlighted by two towers, and gives an idea of ​​the façade that was supposed to be built in San Sernin in Toulouse. The flat front wall is divided into three vertical areas - the central one being linked with the nave, and the lateral ones - with the side aisles that are narrower and lower.

In the center of the façade opens a large gate, whose tympanum (c.1140) presents in sculpture, the last judgment day theme. The general organization of this façade cannot be understood without understanding the impact of church architecture in Normandy, where this type of gate, was built a hundred years earlier.

The towers of the church end in pyramidal shape. The front wall, which reduces the effect of lofty towers, is the dominant element.
       The impact of the schools of Auvergne and Languedoc, reached Spain. The ground plan and side section of the church of Santiago in Compostela (1078-1128) were significantly influenced by those of the church of San Sernin in Toulouse. The nave has galleries. Around the choir, there are the ambulatory and radiating chapels. The nave and the transepts have lower side aisles. Barrel vaults cover the entire structure. Over the area of intersection towers an octagonal tower. In the western façade, there are two towers.

  Romanesque in Aquitaine

The architecture of Aquitaine in western France, shows a type of architecture, which was clearly influenced by Byzantine architecture. This effect is the result of the Crusades and trade relations with Venice. The most prominent element in the churches of Aquitaine is domes supported by pendentives or squinches. These churches have a  Greek or Latin cross-shaped ground plan, with domes supported by massive pillars. The interior from which decoration was absent almost entirely, consists of many spaces covered by domes, adjacent to each another.
          St. Front de Perigueux Cathedral, built mostly in the second quarter of the 12th century (restored, and in fact rebuilt in the 19th century), represents well the architecture of Equitaine. It was built on a site where there was a small church from the 10-11th centuries, which was destroyed by fire in 1120.      

St. Front de Perigueux is Greek cross shaped, with a dome over each of the arms of the cross, and above the square of intersection. Although the general appearance of the church is central, it is  oriented toward the apses. At the eastern end of St. Front de Perigueux, there are apses facing the east, one in the northern arm of the cross, and the other in the southern arm. A larger apse is located between these two apses, in the eastern arm of the cross.
        Image - St. Front in Perigueux                         


 The structure of St. Front de Perigueux is very similar to that of the Church of St. Mark's (San Marco) in Venice from the 11th century. Venice maintained active trade relations and highly significant with the Eastern Empire and Constantinople. St. Mark's Church is Greek cross shaped with five domes of which the largest above the square of the intersection. The church of San Mark in Venice and the church of St. Front de Perigueux were built after the model of the Apostles' church, which was built by Justinian in Constantinople at the beginning of his reign.

The main difference between the Church of San Mark in Venice and the churches in Equitaine, is that in Venice and the East domes were built in bricks, while the churches in Aquitaine were built in stone.

Compared to San Mark which was decorated with mosaics and fancy capitals according to the   Byzantine tradition, there is no decoration in St. Front de Perigueux. Pure and noble architectural forms replace the decorative splendor.

There is a distinct difference between the layout of domes in the East and in Venice and between the domes of Aquitaine. In Aquitaine, the church generally has an elongated shape, and the domes are lined up along the nave, whereas in Eastern architecture the domes are arranged in a radiating shape.

In St. Pierre Angoulême (1105-1128) we find three pendentives with domes along the nave, and a dome in the area of intersection. Such a layout of   domes in an elongated shape has already appeared in Roman construction in the ancient Roman city of Aquitaine.

In the façade of the church of Saint Pierre in Angoulême, there is a monumental sculptural work on which a great restoration work was made in the 19th century.

The most important churches built in Aquitaine are St. Front de Perigueux, Perron, Cathedral of St. Pierre Angouleme, Cahors and Souillac.

Architecture in Poitou
        The region of Poitou, located in central  western France, was conquered by the Romans in 56 BCE, and became part of Aquitaine province. The Visigoths took over this area in 418, but it fell in the hands of the Franks in 507. In 732 Emperor Charles Martel pushed the Muslim invasion to Poitiers. In the 11th and 12th centuries the dukes of Poitou were also the dukes of Aquitaine, and the importance of Poitiers increased. In 1152, Poitou passed to British rule when Eleonora of Aquitaine married Henry II who later became King of England.
       One notable aspect of the architecture of Poitou region, is covering the nave and side aisles with pitched roof, the height of the nave hardly rises above the level of the side aisles. These churches have no galleries or clerestories. Instead, there are tall pillars that reach the vaults. Designing the church in this way allows the penetration of light only through the windows of the outer walls of the side aisles.
           In the facades of churches in this area, the surface of the entire wall is adorned with statues and creates at a distance a strong impression of decoration. Sometimes the figures are exceedingly elongated to match the lines of the archivolts. In Poitou region there is no tympanum in the church. In these churches, there are a nave and side aisles, transept, and a choir with ambulatory and radiating chapels.
           The oldest church with vaults in Poitou is the Church of St. Savin, which was built in the 11th century. A pointed barrel vault rises in the nave above large arcades that are also pointed and made of round and slender columns.

The fresco on the barrel vault shows a cycle of scenes including the Apocalypse, Tower of Babel and Noah's ark. This is the only structure where  can be seen on the nave an authentic medieval colorful decoration. The paintings were painted directly on the vaults on an area of ​​412 square meters.

In the churches of Poitou, most of the effort is concentrated in the façade whose decor is almost exaggerated. Notre Dame La Grande De Poitiers (c.1100 -1150), is the main monument of Poitou. This church has the richest decoration of the churches of French Romanesque. The façade of the church is divided by three arches in the ground floor, which is separated from the top floor by a cornice. The central arch, which is large and round, is flanked by two blind arches, slightly pointed. Within each of these blind arches, there is a pair of blind arches. Statues of figures sitting and standing are framed by arcades. There is almost no free space in the façade between the statues. The scenes presented in these sculptures are Adam and Eve, kings and prophets from the Old and New testaments, and more. Jesus is shown in the pediment between the evangelical symbols. The corners of the façade are highlighted by round towers ending in a conical shape. The towers to which half columns are adjacent, echo the pillars inside the church, which are made of groups of columns.
Image - Notre Dame La Grand de Poitier

The typical belfry in the churches of Poitou is square, one or two storeys high, and its top is pyramid or cone shaped, with a coating in the form of scales. The pillars within these churches are generally shaped like four petals. In fact, they consist of four half columns. Such are the pillars in Notre Dame la Grande, which support the barrel vaults of the nave. This shape of pillar is also found in Aulnay and Chavigny.

Facades full of statues are also found in the smallest churches in Poitou. Often, ornate facades are also found in the entrance to the transept. Abundance of statues in the façade of the church can also be found in Civary, Echilais, Petit Palais, Aulnay and more.
        The Romanesque churches of Poitou, also include, besides those mentioned, St. Europe and Sainte Croix in Bordeaux.

          The Romanesque of Burgundy

Burgundy region in the center of eastern France, benefited from the fact that the Cistercian and Cluny Orders grew on its land. The Order of Cluny built large churches richly decorated with sculpture, among them Cluny Abbey Church and  La Charité sur Loire. The Cistercian Order however, built churches devoid of ornament, which include the church of the Cîteaux Monastery, Pontigny and Clairvaux.

During the years of passage from the first millennium to the second, Burgundy region played an important role in architecture. Here, to the basilica, which preserved its tradition were added a barrel vault and crossing vaults in most grandiose style. Burgundy architects understood the advantages of the pointed arch, before the advent of Gothic architecture. The pointed arch has an advantages compared to the circular arch. It has a great resistance to compression compared to the round arch, and it allows the structure to reach a height greater than that of a round arch, which is supported by pillars of the same height.

Burgundian churches used this advantage and the pointed barrel vaults reached a great height. Pointed barrel vaults can be found in Autun, Paray Le Monial and Beaune.

In the Church of the Madeleine in Vezeley  (built after 1120) for the first time crossed vaults were built but they were limited to the side aisles. Such crossed vaults are also found in other churches in Burgundy: Anzy Le Duc, Gourdon and Pontaubert.

The wall of the nave of the Church de la Madeleine is divided into two floors and above them is the barrel vault. Stones in two alternating colors compose the arches and the arcades that cross the nave. This design in alternating black and white stones is the result of Syrian or Muslim influence. Repetitive patterns of rosettes, ribbons and leaves, emphasize the arcades and the stringcourses. These lines of ornament very clearly highlight the architectural structure.

 The pillars of the Church of Vezeley are famous for their elegance and composition.
Image - The church of the Madeleine in Vezeley, the nave

  The Romanesque sculpture in Burgundy is remarkable. The aspiration for rich decoration came from the Church of Cluny and reached its peak in the first half of the 11th century. Before the reconstruction of Cluny, was founded the Church of St. Etienne in Nevers (1063-1097), which is part of a monastery built by the Order of Cluny. This church has a nave, two side aisles with a transept and side chapels radiating from it. An Ambulatory surrounds the choir, and three chapels are radiating from it. A side section of the church, shows three floors: large arcades, galleries and clerestory located high under the barrel vault. The windows of the clerestory are relatively small because the weight of the vault requires massive walls.

An important church from the end of the tenth century is the church of St. Martin de Tours. As is the case Cluny II, nothing has survived of it. New construction in this church was carried out during the years 997-1015. Here for the first time appeared the ambulatory with radiating chapels. This type of planning was adopted by many French Romanesque churches.
            The first building of the Church of Cluny, Cluny I, established in 910, was not of great importance, being small in dimensions. The monastery church had only a nave without side aisles.      

   The second building, Cluny II, was built during the years 954-981. The innovation of Cluny II was the multiple vaults. The narthex of St. Philibert De Tournu (Built in 1000) was built, apparently in imitation of Cluny II, and we can learn from it about its model. The narthex, which was built in hewn stone, had two stories. In the first floor, there are a nave and two side aisles equal in height. Round massive pillars bear impressive stone arches.

The plans of Cluny II and Cluny Cluny III, show a nave and four side aisles, double transept with radiating chapels, and a half - circle choir with ambulatory from which radiate five chapels. In the side section of the nave and the transepts, one can see three floors. The nave and the arms of the transepts have a barrel vault. The ambulatory has an annular barrel vault. Beside the square of intersection, at the ends of the transepts, there are octagonal domes on stone arches, allowing the passage from a square shape to octagon. From the outside above these domes, there are several stories high towers.
Image - Cluny - plan and elevation

Image - Abbey church of Cluny

The abbey church of Cluny III was rebuilt during the years 1080-1120 by Abbot Hugh Semur (1049-1109), one of the greatest builders of all time. He headed the Order of Cluny for sixty years, until his death, and had personally approved building plans of nearly a thousand churches. Cluny III was the largest church in its time and the most impressive in the Christian world (its length was 198 m and its vaults reached a height of about 30 m). Popes, kings and emperors would often visit the church and it was synonymous with spirituality, art, contemplation, and politics.

The eastern end of the church was dedicated in 1095; the construction of the transepts ended in the year 1100, and the construction of the nave was completed in 1120. The vaults of the nave collapsed in 1125 and were rebuilt in 1130, apparently with flying buttresses.
       The façade of Cluny III had two towers. The plan of the church and the buildings adjacent to it followed the requirements of the Order. There were four side aisles, and a narthex leading to them. In addition, there were also two transepts and an apse with ambulatory and radiating chapels.     

The wall of the nave was divided into three horizontal areas. Sculptures of the most beautiful Romanesque sculptures decorate the church.
Until the church of St. Peter in Rome was built in the 16th and 17th centuries, Cluny III was the largest church in the West. Its colossal dimensions reflected the aspirations of the Order of Cluny to prestige and universality. Following the French Revolution, its buildings were destroyed during the years 1798-1823. The southern arm of the great transept has survived along with capitals from the  apse.
           The abbey church of Cluny was one of the most important monuments of early Romanesque architecture in France. The disappearance of this structure is one of the big losses in the history of architecture, as it is a missing link.

Cluny's model was inspired by many churches, including the Church of St. Lazare of Autun,  Saulieu, and Semur en Brionnais.

The church of St. Lazare in Autun was built in c.1130, a date associated with the construction of the Church of Cluny III. Its ground plan shows a nave and side aisles, transept, and choir. The choir is elongated and flanked by lower side aisles. The vault, unlike in Cluny, ends in three chapels without ambulatory. There are three main wall areas in the nave: large arcades, false triforium, and tall windows with pillars between them, with pilasters reaching the beginning of the vault area and ending with capitals.

An important characteristic in Burgundian Romanesque is the use of crossed arches in the nave. The most representative examples of this are found in Madeleine Church in Vezelay and the Church of St. Mary in Anzy Le Duc.

The Madeleine church in Vezelay is a  Benedictine church dedicated to Mary Magdalene, whose remains were kept in the church. This church was very important and famous among the pilgrims that made their way to Santiago in Compostela. Like San Sernin in Toulouse, masses of pilgrims passed through it. Building the choir and transept of the Madeleine's Church ended in 1104, but these structures were replaced in the late 12th century by a Gothic building. In Vezelay, all the shapes indicate a decorative tendency. The archivolts and cornices are decorated. The lintels are made of stones in different colors that may appear alternately, like in German Ottonian architecture. Decoration does not eliminate the effect and power that the structure conveys, but rather reinforces it.
Vezelay is the starting point from which Gothic architecture would develop. The openings in the wall of the triforium with gallery and clerestory are typical of Burgundy. The tall tower in the intersection originates in local tradition. The façade, not including the tower, is divided into three floors. The entrance gate on the first floor consists of three arcades, and above this floor there are two floors separated by cornices. This division matches the division of the wall zones inside the church. Such is also the division in Notre Dame in Dijon. This division apparently drew inspiration from Italian architecture. Possibly the inspiration comes from the church of Santa Maria della Pieve in Arezzo. These influences reached France and there they went through changes that made the church look more elegant. The combination of strength and gentleness is the essence of the Burgundian Romanesque style.
         It is important to note that the first step in the development of the crossed vault and the openings in the walls took place in Normandy. In  Romanesque architecture of Normandy, the walls support the pointed arches, but the full expression of these would appear decades later, with the development of the Gothic style. The first pointed arches would appear in the Cathedral of Durham in England.

            The fact that the Roman construction in Burgundy was not dominant, explains why gradually opening the wall in French Romanesque churches began right here, and why Gothic architecture began here rather than in other regions.

            Romanesque in Normandy

Romanesque architecture in Normandy in northern France is close to the English Romanesque architecture, known as Norman architecture. The name "Normandy" comes from the Viking invaders - "North men". This area belonged to the English throne, before being taken in 1204 by the French king Philip Auguste (1165-1223). During the period of William the Conqueror (1028-1087), who brought the new architecture to England, we find in this area churches such as the Monastery of St. Etienne, St. Trinité in Caen, Jumièges and Mont St. Michel (whose construction began after the year 1060).

In these churches, began the division of the wall into three zones, with an emphasis on verticality, preceding the Gothic style. The three areas on the wall are an arcade, gallery, and clerestory. The ceiling was originally made of wood. This enabled the construction of a large nave. A façade with two powerful towers and a gable between them is another architectural feature in this region.
          Significant progress in shaping the nave's walls was achieved at the Church of Notre Dame in Jumièges (1040-1067). This is the most ancient church in this area, and we know the date of its construction. Today one can see its ruins attesting to the splendor and grandeur of the church, which was the most important in Normandy. Its western facade, with its tall towers reaching a height exceeding 50 m, is the earliest examples of a westwerk with gable located in the center. This is also the first church in this area with pointed vaults.
Image - The Abbey of Jumieges

        The abbey of Jumièges used the formula of proportions, according to which the size of a square shaped bay in the nave equals two rectangular bays of the side aisles. One can see the buttresses appearing alternately (between any two arches in the arcade), and very high clerestory.

In St. Etienne in Caen (1064) and other Romanesque churches in Normandy, the wall is largely open, and much light penetrates the church. The side aisles, galleries, and the choir, accomplished the ideal of maximum light flooding   the structure. The skeleton of the building, which is created by the vertical lines of pillars and columns adjacent to them, allow more open wall. The principle of reducing the wall surface could not get far without the adoption of ribbed vaults, and without the flying buttresses that opened new possibilities. During the years 1130-1135, the wooden ceiling was replaced in St. Etienne by ribbed vaults heralding the Gothic vaults. The pillars and arches of St. Etienne were much stronger and decorated with more numerous columns than those of its contemporary churches from the Ile de France,.
Image - St. Etienne in Caen

At the end of the 12th century, a new Gothic apse was built at St Etienne, close in its ground plan to that of the Church of Saint-Denis. The architecture of the church itself is more influenced by the old church of St. Etienne. The architect used the thick wall (Mur Épais) which can split into several layers of wall, one by one. He created in the spandrels (where the column and the arch meet) of the arcades openings into the wall in the shape of rosettes. The stability of the walls depends, most of all on their thicknesses. A thick wall made of several layers, which is called "mur épais" is more resistant to pressure from the sides than a regular wall of the same weight.
Image - St. Trinite in Caen, Facade

    In St. Etienne in Caen the tower that was originally in the area of intersection collapsed in 1566. In the Church of St. Etienne and St. Trinité, both in Caen, there is a façade with two towers. The façade is divided into three vertical sections, so that the internal division into three parts is already seen on the exteriors. The nave is flanked by two side aisles.
Image - St Trinite in Caen , the nave

The Church of the Trinity (Trinité) in Caen monastery was founded in 1059 by Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror, and was dedicated in 1066, before the construction was completed. This church was the church of the nuns and the burial place of Matilda. Like St. Etienne, this church was modified. All the upper parts of the nave were added at the beginning of the 12th century. Large windows on two floors open the wall's surface. The vaults today are modern. The lower part of the front of the church of St. Etienne in Caen, has survived since the 12th century to present day. The upper parts of the towers in the abbey churches in Caen were altered in the 18th century.

While throughout France, the vault was adopted as the ceiling of the nave, in Burgundy architects continued to use wooden ceiling until the Gothic period. The choir is usually taller than the nave and is illuminated by windows. The bell tower, which is located above the area of intersection, also directly illuminates the choir. This is called "lantern tower" (tower through which light enters). The belfries of Normandy are renowned for the elegance of their proportions. While in church architecture in Germany the towers dominate the façade, in Normandy, the emphasis is on the lower part of the façade, from which the towers grow.

The first pointed arches in Normandy appeared in c.1100; they released the structure from the restrictions of the circular arch and allowed construction to reach new heights. Pointed arches crossing each other, create ribbed vaults with four parts (Quadropartite) and with six parts (Sexpartite). Thus, Normandy architecture finds means to create a strong impression of verticality.

Norman Architecture - Romanesque in England
          Romanesque architecture took root across Europe and reached England. The term "Norman style" was coined in the 19th century England to describe a style of Romanesque art of Normandy in northwestern France and in the regions occupied by the French Normans in England. Today this term is attributed only to English Romanesque.

Romanesque architecture in England began in fact with the Norman conquest by William the Conqueror in 1066 and continued until 1180. With the involvement of William the Conqueror, English architecture takes the character of French Normandy. Until the 13th century, Norman inscriptions could be found in churches in England. The whole culture received a French character during the French occupation. In the The Romanesque church in Jumiege and in the two churches in Caen sprouted the Norman architecture in England.

As a direct import of the Romanesque of Normandy, the Norman style had very little original English character. These works are not national, but associated with European culture and especially the Benedictine monasteries. Romanesque architecture in the 12th century reflected a relationship between free people in a free world, that the love of God connected them.  Norman cathedrals were united out of fear of attack from foreigners.

Norman architecture is characterized by massiveness and creates the impression of a more stable architecture than the Saxon architecture, which preceded it. The cathedral's walls were very thick and reached a thickness of about 7 m at the base.
       The great Norman abbey church had the shape of a Latin cross, deep gate, thick walls and pillars. The nave was long, the transept was doubled and the apse was rectangular. The nave initially had a flat wooden ceiling later replaced by vaults. The side aisles had crossed vaults. The side section of the church typically has three floors almost equal in height, with large galleries. Cloisters and other monastery buildings, stand along the church. The western part of the church was usually the last to be built, which explains their being built in the latest style. This part of the Norman church sometimes expanded and became a large structure in the westwerk style, probably inspired by German examples, rather than by French ones.

The most interesting part of the Norman church is its eastern part. The apse usually ended in a curved line. In some of the churches whose construction began before the year 1100, there was a series of parallel apses that were separated by a massive wall, but this type of structure has not survived. The ceiling of the Norman church was typically constructed of wood, and the tower in the area of intersection was relatively low.

In the largest Norman churches, especially those built in the transition from the 11th century to the 12th century, the side aisles continue through the ambulatory and around the eastern end of the church. An arcade that was built to separate the nave and the side aisles, continued behind the high altar, a design that created an impressive effect.

Decorative patterns were few in the 11th century, and when there were any, the notable among them were geometric shapes. The most common in Norman churches was the zigzag pattern, which was often found on frames of doors and windows. In the 12th century appeared very luxurious decoration such as star patterns with four corners, diamond patterns, and patterns of carved waves in low relief. Only in the 13th century, high reliefs were designed.

The most outstanding example of Norman architecture remaining almost unchanged is Durham Cathedral whose construction started in 1093 and was dedicated in 1133. Its ground plan is Latin cross shaped and its façade resembles that  of St. Etienne in Caen with two towers that dominate its appearance. The upper parts of the façade have never been built. In the intersection area of ​​Durham is located a great powerful tower which conveys a sense of massiveness. A sense of massiveness is also obtained inside the church, which has a nave and two side aisles, transept and apses. The side aisles end in a chapel in the form of an apse inside the church, but in quadratic shape in its exterior. This reflects the Norman character of the churches, which have a quadratic form at the eastern end. The crossed vaults above the choir were built between the years1096-1104 and were replaced in 1235. Roofing the nave was probably made during the years 1128-1233.
           Image - Durham Cathedral interior                                             

 In the 12th century, when the cult of the Virgin Mary was at its height, the builders tried to build the Chapel of the Virgin in Durham Cathedral behind the altar of Saint Cuthbert. The foundations of the chapel of the Virgin were not stable and there were cracks on the wall. The residents of the area saw it as a sign that the saint did not want to be too close to women. Then, the Chapel of the Virgin (called Galilee) was built at the western end of the Church
        The division of the wall of the nave in Durham is typical of the division of the walls of naves in Normandy. The wall is divided into three floors: arcade, gallery floor with two bays next to each bay of the nave, and clerestory.

The most remarkable element is the appearance of the pointed stone arches, which replaced the flat wooden ceiling. The replacement of the wooden ceiling by stone was made for aesthetic reasons and for safety against fire as well. This was the first church in England whose entire ceiling consisted of stone vaults. It was also the first church in Europe where there were flying buttresses, pointed arches, and ribbed vaults. The barrel vault and the ribbed vaults create an integration between the wall and ceiling. The vaults grow naturally off the walls, and the nave looks taller than it actually is.

In its innovations, Durham's Romanesque aesthetic achievement heralds the European Gothic style in the 13th century.
       The pillars in Durham show an original rich decoration. They are round, and in each of them dominates a repetitive bold pattern such as zigzag, lines and diamond, appearing alternately, and creating a complex rhythm. These patterns conceal the bulky nature of the pillars. Their capitals, however, are simple. The arcades and the arches of the gallery are carved with decoration of zigzag patterns, echoing the zigzag patterns that appear in some of the pillars.

In England was made greater use of decoration than in the mainland. In this context, Durham expresses secluded Romanesque style. Tendency to ornament will increase, as will develop the Gothic architecture in England.
       Apart from the Church of Durham, there were Norman churches such as Ely (1081 CE), Peterborough Abbey (1118), Southwell (1108 - 1114), and Fountains Abbey (founded in 1135) which were close to the churches in Normandy in their characteristics. These are large structures with galleries, thick walls and massive pillars, high ceilings in the nave, usually built of wood, stone vaults in the side aisles and a tower of illumination (lanterna) over the area of intersection.

     Romanesque in Italy
      Like in France, the different character of the various regions of Romanesque architecture in Italy reflects lack of political unity. The main versions of Italian Romanesque, are those that developed in Lombardy, Tuscany and Sicily. Lombardy in northern Italy began the revival of Roman architecture, which led to the development of Romanesque architecture in Italy. Here in a prosperous region in Europe emerged an architectural style whose influence expanded to Germany and Spain. Tuscany has created a style combining classic influences with Byzantine ones. Sicilian Romanesque style combines Norman, Muslim and Byzantine influences.

       Lombard Romanesque
        Lombard Romanesque flourished mainly in Lombardy, a region in northern Italy, from Milan in the west to Bologna in the east. It feeds on Roman tradition and early Christian period that includes the monuments of Ravenna. Churches of the basilica-type from early Christian era, and the type of the Byzantine churches in Ravenna, were built in this region by mid 11th century, and in some areas even later.

Church architecture characteristics in this area are basilica without transept plan, lack of a clerestory, towers out of the external walls of the church, building in bricks, heavy pointed arches supported by small and large pillars that appear intermittently, and an atrium or a preceding courtyard reflecting the adherence to the early Christian traditions.

In some churches in Lombardy, there is a crypt beneath the choir, and the level of the choir is a few steps above the level of the church itself. Characteristic of this region, are Lombard bands, which can be found on the outside walls of churches, over arcades, around the apse, along the façade and under the gables.

In Lombardy during this period there were several examples of naves with ribbed vaults that did not diminish the impression of a Romanesque  church. The strongest expression of the Lombard style is found at St. Ambrogio church in Milan which is the most important Romanesque church in this area. The first church in this place was built in the fourth century and was dedicated by St. Ambrogio after whom the church is named. A new church replaced it in the ninth century. The collapse of several bays in the western part of the church led to rebuilding and strengthening the structure in the late 12th century. The church has two bell towers, the southern one, which was built in the ninth century, and the northern, rising higher, which was built during the years 1128-1144. The church was restored in 1863.
Image - St. Ambrogio in Milan

In St. Ambogio, the nave, which was apparently roofed in 1117, is low. It has three crossed vaults. Smaller crossed vaults cover the side aisles and galleries. Massive pillars and lighter columns are displayed alternately. The interior of the church, which is preceded by an atrium, is dark. The nave has four square bays connected to the half-sized bays in the side aisles. The width of each side aisle equals half the size of a bay in the nave.  The proportions method is powerfully applied here. In the church, there is no transept, and the nave leads directly to the apse. Crossed vaults were built over the square bays of the nave. Each of the side aisles opens into a small apse, beside the central apse.       

The continuation of early Christian tradition is reflected here in the atrium preceding the church. An octagonal tower rises above the last bay of the nave, which indoors is covered by a dome. The other parts of nave are have pointed and heavy vaults. Some of the side aisles have barrel vaults. The pillars supporting the vaults show some degree of non-dependency on the wall.
Lombard bands decorate the church, internally and in externally.

        Tuscan Romanesque
      Tuscan Romanesque is lighter and more elegant than that of the northern cities. Except for the side aisles of the Cathedral of Pisa, which were vaulted, churches had wooden ceilings, which allowed the use of columns instead of pillars separating between the nave and the side aisles. The façades were decorated with lush decoration almost all over their walls, or blind arcades, as is seen in Pisa. Sometimes the entire wall is divided into marble panels in black and white, like in San Miniato al Monte.

Medieval Tuscan Romanesque remained true to the classical tradition and incorporated Byzantine decoration. For the capitals, Corinthian and acanthus leaves served as ornaments. Influenced by the Byzantines who had close trade relations with Pisa, marble panels were used and characterized Florentine architecture, and later the Gothic Italian architecture.

A baptistery, which faithfully represents Tuscan Romanesque, is the Baptistery of San Giovanni (1060-1150) in Florence. Marble panels in black and white and blind arcades of classic nature line the outer walls of the building. Renaissance people mistakenly believed that this was an ancient structure. To this testify the  writings of Filarete from the 16th century, according to which, it was a temple to the god Mars.
Image - St Giovani Baptistery in Florence

Typical Tuscan Benedictine monastery church is the church of San Miniato at Monte (c. 1140) in Florence, which was built on a hill. Similar to the early Christian churches, it has a nave and two side aisles with wooden ceiling, without transept. The façade is divided into two horizontal parts. Marble inlays, some of which are only painted, enhance the sense of harmony.
       The arcades of the nave, which are arranged in threes and separated by massive pillars, to which are attached half columns with Corinthian capitals, support the arches that cross the nave.
Image - St. Miniato al Monte          

Designing walls in various colors can also be seen at the Cathedral of Pisa, but in San Miniato, the design is more expressive. Instead of the mosaic that we found in early Christianity, here, marble panels coat the entire building.

The most prominent expression of Romanesque Italy appears at the Cathedral of Pisa. This complex of buildings is known as the "field of miracles" (Campo Dei Miracoli). The first element in the layout was the cathedral, and to its north was originally a baptistery, which was replaced in 1153 by a new one. The cathedral which was built in 1063, probably served as an offering of gratitude to the Virgin who according to the faith of the period brought about the dramatic success of the fleet of Pisa near Sicily. It was dedicated in 1118 but the construction was completed later by Buschetus during the years 1261-72.
     The cathedral, which is dominated by horizontal lines, has a Latin cross shaped ground plan, with a nave and four side aisles. The side aisles open into the transept, which also has side aisles. A dome is towering above the intersection area. The eastern part of the church was built during the years 1264-1270.

The wall of the nave in the Cathedral of Pisa, is divided into three zones: an arcade of columns and pillars, triforium and clerestory. Strips of alternating black and white marble panels cover the interior and exterior walls of the church. Thus an extensive use was made of materials that are abundant in this area.
The field of miracles , Pisa

       The complex of buildings of the cathedral  include the baptistery (from 1153) planned by Diotisalvi, a bell tower (from 1173) known as the "Leaning Tower" (about 55 m in height) and the Campo Santo cemetery (literally "holy field ") (from 1278). The baptistery draws inspiration from the rotunda at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, whose central space is covered with cone-shaped dome. The cemetery is surrounded by a portico with arcades, and covered with earth brought from the Holy Land.
he complex of buildings constituted a significant innovation. Camillo Sitte (1843-1903) compares the plan of the Pisa Duomo Square to that of the Acropolis in Athens. This impressive square is unique, being isolated from the world around it, with no civilian buildings to remind of everyday life.
            Some see a connection between the complex of buildings in Pisa and the temple on the Temple Mount site in Jerusalem. The connection that was created by the Crusades between the Holy Land and Europe during this period, explains the similarities between the "field of miracles" and the complex of mosques on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

    The composition of line and circle in the Field of miracles echoed the composition of the temple site in Jerusalem. The circle that has inspired the baptistery is the Dome of the Rock, which was familiar to the people of Pisa who then called it the "Temple of God". The straight line that inspired the Cathedral of Pisa was the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which was then called the Temple of Solomon. When the construction of the complex of structures in Pisa was completed, it was more spectacular than its prototype in the Holy Land.
         The monotonous repetition of
patterns, which we find in the Cathedral of Pisa, is typical Italian, and appears inside the church and on its exterior. Even the dome in the intersection area is not the prominent point in the structure. Lack of towers that are part of the cathedral's structure is typical of the Italian churches from this period. The bell tower was built near the church, apart from it, a characteristic unique to the architecture of churches in Italy.

       Romanesque in Sicily
        Romanesque architecture in Sicily fed on foreign sources of inspiration. The Arab rule in Sicily, which began in 827, and the Normans who came to Sicily in 1030, left their mark on the architecture of the island. We find Muslim and Norman influences, combined with Byzantine and Greek influences, represented by the Greeks, who had already settled the island in ancient times.
          The influence of Islamic ornament explains the very delicate decoration in this area. Arab motifs appear in the exterior of the building. Inside, the decoration is based on mosaics. Local architecture adopted the shape of the cross for churches and combined it with eastern domes. A formula combining radiant plan with a plan of long nave developed. This type of plan with domes is based on the model of Constantinople.

The combination of Norman, Muslim and Byzantine influences, are found in the Church of Monreale in Palermo, from 1175, which was built by William II, the Norman duke who ruled Sicily, as the burial church of his family. His intention was to build a church, palace, and monastery. The construction of the church was very rapid and was nearly completed in 1182. The great cloister was completed in 1200. This construction project was intended to strengthen the position of William, beside the bishop, whose position was strong during this period. William managed to get his way in 1183, when Monreale was made a bishop's seat.
Image - Monreale Cathedral - apse

The church has monumental proportions. The façade is made of a portico between a pair of towers that were popular in northern Europe. Inside the church, there is a wide illuminated nave and two side aisles. Pointed arches in the nave are supported by pillars with capitals combining  Byzantine style with Corinthian capitals. The nave continues the tradition of early Christianity in its wooden ceiling and the plenty of mosaics. The space is static, elongated, without any vertical element. At the eastern end, there are three apses.
            Patterns unique to Sicily, reminiscent of embroidery are seen on the outside wall of the Church of Monreale. Colored stones and ceramics, decorate the pillars. The exterior look Combines Arabic and Byzantine traditions. Such decoration, hiding completely the structure of the church, is typical of Sicilian architecture.

In the cloister of the Church of Monreale, the columns support pointed arches. The decoration indicates high quality of sculpture and marble work.

   Churches in Germany and the Rhineland

The Rhine area, the most important region politically and artistically in Germany, became a center of architecture in the 11th century. The style of this area is close to that in Lombard and displays similar characteristics of Carolingian architecture. Its main characteristic is the adoption of a double transept, as the holy Church in Cologne. The Ottonian language, which we have seen in the Church of Saint Michael in Hildesheim, was developed and refined here. The alternation of the supports separating the nave and the side aisles was a characteristic of the churches in Germany for about a hundred years. In this area the ends of the transepts' arms are often rounded like the apse.
      Vaults came late to this area, and were adopted in other regions in Germany later still.

Typical of churches in the Rhine is many towers dominating the complex and creating a picturesque silhouette. They are noticed in the lower floors of the façade, and grow towards the sky. A unique shape of a tower in the area of ​​the Rhine, is that known as rhomboid (see image blow). Rhomboid towers can be found, among others, in the church of the Apostles in Cologne and in Speyer. In the church of Santa Maria Laach, there are six towers, of which one is rhomboid.
Image - Rhomboid domes Church of the Apostles

It is not rare to find in this area, a church with two apses, one at the eastern end, and the other at the western end. Bell towers are located in the intersection between the apses and transepts, as we can see in the Church of the Apostles in Cologne.

Another typical motif in this region is Lombard bands, which are located on the cornices and emphasize the gables. This element can be found at the Cathedral of Speyer, in Santa Maria Laach, St. Peter in Worms, and many other churches. The capitals of the columns were usually designed in the shape of a pillow.
Image - Cathedral St. Marry and St. Stephen in Speyer

The church-building boom in Germany was closely related to the political situation that prevailed at that time. Compared to France and England, Germany enjoyed relative political stability close to the middle of the 11th century, due to the continuity of the royal and imperial power. This situation remained unchanged until the seventies of the century, when Pope Gregory (Gregorius) VII demanded the strengthening the role of the church against the ruling class, the process that led to the reforms of the Order of Cluny. Thus, the state's power weakened in relation to the power of religion. German king, Henry IV, Emperor of Holy Roman Empire, had to go to Canossa in 1077 to beg forgiveness from Pope Gregory VII. This was a humiliating deed for the royalty. When he got over this defeat, Henry IV rebuilt the Cathedral of Santa Maria and St. Stephen in Speyer, the prestigious church of his ancestors. This was his way of demonstrating the strength of his rule.
          The construction of the monumental cathedral in Speyer began between the years 1027-1030, under the reign of Emperor Conrad II. Henry IV was forced to make basic renovations in the church, soon after it was dedicated. The reason for the failure of the architect was the excessive width of the nave. The spectacular towers in Speyer were restored after 1095. The crypt's walls were strengthened. Two bell towers were built instead of the stair towers, and an apse was built for the choir. In the 19th century the church has been restored after being destroyed in the 17th century, and was destroyed again at the end of the 18th century.     

The look of the church is massive Ottonian, and its height draws attention. In the façade there was a westwerk with galleries. In the nave there were six bays while in each of the side aisles there were twelve bays. Until recent years, it was assumed that the original Speyer Cathedral was designed with vaults only in the side aisles. However, recently, researchers think that in the original church which was built by Conrad II, there was a barrel vault in the nave. This plan was influenced by the plan of Tournus church in Burgundy.
Image - Church of Santa Maria Laach

The main Romanesque churches built in the Rhine in Germany were the church of the Holy Apostles in Cologne, Speyer cathedral, Worms and Santa Maria Laach. For the architects here it was difficult to escape the Ottonian formulas, as is indicated by the church of Santa Maria Laach, which was built since 1093 until the beginning of the 13th century. Small atrium leads to the western apse. This church is typical of churches in the Rhine region in the 12th century. The choir is found in the eastern part of the church over the crypt, and has an orthogonal bay. The western choir has a smaller transept, whose arms open into single apses, and beside these apses, there are staircase towers.

Romanesque Civil Architecture
       For the most part medieval population lived in huts and shacks that provided very little beyond shelter. In the bigger houses, the main room was a large hall used for cooking, food, and sleep. Before they began to separate the living room from the bedrooms in the 11th and 12th centuries, all the servants lived in one big room 18 m in length and 6 meters in width. A curtain separated the area where the women lived. This large room was roofed by wood and the floor was made of stone, earth, brick or tiles. In northern Europe, they used to cover it with leaves and straw.

At the end of the first millennium, when a new style of religious architecture developed, a new way in the French civil architecture began as well.  Stone gradually replaced wood for building residences and fortresses. The reason for this change was probably the desire for more security. Stronger structures were required to block the attackers, who improved their methods of warfare, and siege techniques.

The fort, besides being a place to live, was also a symbol of power. The origin of forts serving as residence, was in France, and the earliest instances of such forts were the fortress of Doué La Fontaine, Maine et Loire, from c.950, and the fortress of  Fulk Nerra Duke of Anjou in Langeais, which was recently dated to 1017. Both these forts are rectangular with thin walls and pillars that were originally attached to the walls in irregular intervals. They both served for residential purposes rather than for defense purposes.

 Under the influenced of neo-platonic theories, according to which the circle was perceived as the perfect form, which reflects the divine order of the cosmos, forts were round. In terms of defense technologies, the appearance of the circular or octagonal castle, as Gisors, represented progress. Despite the advantage of the circular structure, this form never took root, and the rectangular shape was the dominant shape of forts from the 13th century until the 15th century.

    One odd fort of this period, is Houdan fortress, which was built by Amaury III, Count Evreux, the ruler of Montfort. The only remain of it is a fort from the years 1105 -1137. This is a huge tower with a circular base, with towers in the shape of half cylinder, facing the four winds. This form enabled easier protection of the fort. In one of these towers, there is a spiral staircase presenting a tremendous achievement by allowing independence between the different floors, that is to say entrance to each floor without going into another floor. As with all Romanesque forts, the entrance was not from the ground floor, but the floor above, reached by a ladder, which was removed easily in times of danger.

In Norman architecture, we find fortified castles. The word "Castrum" in Latin, means "fortress". Small fortress is "Castellum," and from this word derives the English word "Castle". Early Norman castles were purely military structures. They were centers of defense in war and siege. Almost all the castles were of the fortress on a hill-type ("motte" in French and "mote" in English), or fortified court-type - bailey.
         The Norman Military conquerors were required to pay special attention to the fortifications to protect their rule and villages, rather than build castles for God. They covered England, especially its southern shoreline, with monuments for the military aristocracy. It was their way to demonstrate the strength of their rule. Fortifications were often built by the bishops. The earliest fortifications built by the conquerors in England were castles of earth and wood.

After the battle at Hastings William the Conqueror (1028-1087), defeated the Saxons, and in return gave estates to those who participated in the operation. The construction material was stone, and the most striking feature of these estates, was a massive look. The walls were unusually thick and the windows were small. Other features were arches over the windows, barrel vaults and massive columns with simple "capitals".

Fortified castles were made of stone walls with space between them or bricks filled with earth and stone fragments. A good method was building a wall surrounded by another wall. When the enemy broke through the outer defenses, the defense forces were able to reorganize in the internal space. Special attention was devoted to a stronghold, the innermost part of the castle that served as both residence and fortress.

William the Conqueror built for himself the White Tower (1078-1097) in London, on the northern bank of the Thames. The planner was Bishop Gundulf who had already experienced construction in Rochester. The White Tower that best represents the non-religious Norman architecture, played several roles. During the Middle Ages there were there the mint, treasury and beginning of a zoo. It was a fort, residence, a luxury building and symbol of the reign of William the Conqueror in London. This sophisticated structure combined comfort with excellent protection.
Image - The White Tower in London

           In the White Tower, there is a private chapel, the Chapel of St. John. It can be seen from the outside in the semicircular bulge in the south - east corner of the structure. It is located in the third and fourth floors of the tower. Its presence indicates that the castle also served as a palace. In the chapel, there are a nave with round columns, ambulatory and gallery, without a clerestory.   

Particularly noteworthy are the stone vaults in the chapel. In the nave, there is a barrel vault, and in the side aisles there are crossed vaults. This chapel illustrates in a smaller format, the aim of the Norman architects who were preoccupied with building a structure entirely made of stone, in this case, with no natural light in the nave.
Image - Chapel of St John in the White tower

           In the northeastern corner of the White Tower, there is a stairs tower. A corridor runs around the great halls. The exterior walls show a division into four floors. In each of the three lower floors, there is a uniform row of windows with round arches, variable from floor to floor. There is a balance between the horizontal and vertical lines in the tower. Arches and saw tooth pattern, are the main decoration themes.

The White Tower was built in stone brought from Caen in France. William, one of the officials who described London between the years 1170 to 1183, wrote that the white walls of the fortress are growing from deep foundations and reinforced by cement mixed with animal blood.

The tower arouses some more associations related to blood. After the palace was a place for the King and his family to live in, it turned into the famous royal prison where distinguished inmates were incarcerated and often enabled to bring their families and their servants to the jail. Likewise, they were allowed to receive from the outside food and luxury to match their status.

The nobles in England lived in castles. The first castles of the Middle Ages were simple structures of wood, but after the 11th century, most of them were built in stone.  In 1153, with the rise of King Henry II to power, he began to build castles in stone, but continued to build wooden fences. Stone was used because it is strong and resistant to fire. It was a good protection when there was a significant threat to the survival of the lord. For security reasons, special permit was required from the throne to build a castle. The fort was usually three stories high. Sub terrenean floor served for storage. The ground floor was designed for the warriors. The lord and his servants used the first floor. The second floor was designed for women, and there were the apartments with bedrooms. A Castle where all these components are found, is known in English as dungeon, a word from the word donjon in French. The root of this word is the Latin word "Dominus" meaning "lord". The castle was surrounded by a wall with a moat attached to it.

Life in the castles was not very comfortable. The bitter cold winter was coped with a large fireplace. During the Crusades, in the 12th and 13th centuries, the use of tapestries from the Middle East became fashionable. These were added to the floor and were not used as its substitute. The Normans used to hang rugs on the walls. The walls were thick and the windows were tall, long, and narrow. The light penetrating the rooms of the castle was dim, and candles glimmered and twinkled. Water was raised from wells or pits.

English castles seem calm today, but we must remember that during the Middle Ages they were continually threatened and had to be always ready to attack from enemies.

The owners of castles, members of royalty or nobility families, did not live in them regularly. They were moving with their entourages, going on hunting, so it is hard to say that they lived somewhere.
          After the advent of gunpowder in the 14th century, the castles were not supplied with the proper protection. However, the establishment of relative peace in Europe and after the war period was over and the rise of the merchant class led to the demand for homes more comfortable and better suited to everyday life. Castles were homes, along with being military fortresses. In the late 14th century, many of them were nothing but estates, or fortified palaces. The castles were more domestic and their number increased, until the late 14th century, then they were scattered throughout England.

The first sign of the developing of characteristics of home in the castle was the presence of stone fortresses where the number of residential apartments and several kitchens increased. Another sign was the appearance of gardens and the addition of gardeners to the staff of the castle.
        Such castles were built by the royal family and by the nobility. Those who could not afford castles and palaces built large and fortified estates. The only difference between them and the castles and palaces, was that they were smaller and maintained a more modest agricultural character.    

These estates were basically country houses, but with the passage of time, like castles, turned into more affordable housing, and as the palaces and castles, their number increased.
         During the Middle Ages, it was expensive to build in stone or brick, Only the rich could afford it. The other houses were built of wood. The king and the aristocracy generally built stone castles. Most of the Norman stone houses were built on two levels. The upper classes did not live on the ground floor of the house, which was very dirty because the ground was not paved. Another reason to avoid living on the ground floor was the small windows, which were designed to keep out unwanted guests. For the same reason, the Norman stone houses had no doors on the ground floor. The entrance was from the first floor above the ground floor, and was accessed via external stone steps.
Image - Castel del Monte in Puglia

      In Italy we find fortified round castles such as Castel del Monte  in Puglia, whose construction began in 1233. The prosperity in the Italian Romanesque cities began to attract rural lords to build near the markets in the cities. The Nobility intertwined the rural castles with towers in the urban fabric. The Tuscan town of San Giminiano illustrates how the aristocratic class and the merchants fortified their homes with high towers in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Gradually, the dependence on the stone strongholds designed for passive defense, gave way to circular towers and building in lighter materials. These provided a wide field of view, and the defense became more active. With the advent of gunpowder and other weapons developments, the huge fortifications became useless. Walls got a new meaning. They served for placing cannons.


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