29 Facts About Romanesque architecture


Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches.

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Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman architecture.

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The enormous quantity of churches built in the Romanesque period was succeeded by the still busier period of Gothic architecture, which partly or entirely rebuilt most Romanesque churches in prosperous areas like England and Portugal.

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The largest groups of Romanesque architecture survivors are in areas that were less prosperous in subsequent periods, including parts of southern France, rural Spain and rural Italy.

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Romanesque architecture was the first distinctive style to spread across Europe since the Roman Empire.

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Some traditions of Roman Romanesque architecture survived in Byzantine Romanesque architecture with the 6th-century octagonal Byzantine Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna being the inspiration for the greatest building of the Dark Ages in Europe, the Emperor Charlemagne's Palatine Chapel, Aachen, Germany, built around the year AD 800.

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Architecture of a Romanesque style developed simultaneously in the north of Italy, parts of France and in the Iberian Peninsula in the 10th century and prior to the later influence of the Abbey of Cluny.

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Romanesque architecture is often divided into two periods known as the "First Romanesque" style and the "Romanesque" style.

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The First Romanesque architecture employed rubble walls, smaller windows and unvaulted roofs.

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Walls of Romanesque architecture buildings are often of massive thickness with few and comparatively small openings.

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Romanesque architecture buttresses are generally of flat square profile and do not project a great deal beyond the wall.

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Arches used in Romanesque architecture are nearly always semicircular, for openings such as doors and windows, for vaults and for arcades.

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In most parts of Europe, Romanesque architecture columns were massive, as they supported thick upper walls with small windows, and sometimes heavy vaults.

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Common characteristic of Romanesque architecture buildings, occurring both in churches and in the arcades that separate large interior spaces of castles, is the alternation of piers and columns.

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Romanesque architecture arches are nearly always semi-circular, the structural and design problem inherent in the ribbed vault is that the diagonal span is larger and therefore higher than the transverse span.

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The Romanesque architecture builders used a number of solutions to this problem.

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Domes in Romanesque architecture are generally found within crossing towers at the intersection of a church's nave and transept, which conceal the domes externally.

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Romanesque architecture domes are typically octagonal in plan and use corner squinches to translate a square bay into a suitable octagonal base.

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The simplest Romanesque architecture churches are aisleless halls with a projecting apse at the chancel end, or sometimes, particularly in England, a projecting rectangular chancel with a chancel arch that might be decorated with mouldings.

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In Germany, Romanesque architecture churches are often of distinctive form, having apses at both east and west ends, the main entrance being central to one side.

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Eastern end of a Romanesque architecture church is almost always semi-circular, with either a high chancel surrounded by an ambulatory as in France, or a square end from which an apse projects as in Germany and Italy.

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Westwork of the Maria Laach Abbey, Germany, 12th century, is typical of Germany, a form that dates to Carolingian Romanesque architecture with grouped towers of different plans and both "candle-snuffer" and Rhenish helm spires.

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Romanesque architecture doorways have a character form, with the jambs having a series of receding planes, into each of which is set a circular shaft, all surmounted by a continuous abacus.

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Romanesque architecture crypts have survived in many instances, such as Canterbury Cathedral, when the church itself has been rebuilt.

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The usual construction of a Romanesque architecture crypt is with many short stout columns carrying groin vaults, as at Worcester Cathedral.

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Many Romanesque architecture cloisters have survived in Spain, France, Italy and Germany, along with some of their associated buildings.

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Natural History Museum, London, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, 1879, on the other hand, is a Romanesque architecture revival building that makes full use of the decorative potential of Romanesque architecture arcading and architectural sculpture.

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The Romanesque architecture appearance has been achieved while freely adapting an overall style to suit the function of the building.

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Type of modern buildings for which the Romanesque architecture style was most frequently adapted was the warehouse, where a lack of large windows and an appearance of great strength and stability were desirable features.

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