The world was bound to end in 1000 CE, grateful for its existence and a belief of extra bestowment of life people resorted to cathedrals to pay their homage to Jesus. Pilgrimages became a sacred part of the medieval world. With masses traveling on foot to visit holy sites, churches became the most important throughout Europe. Pilgrimage routes were devised as active cults of saints were present from centuries yet the permission of reliquaries to the altar caused a magnetic stir. Christian belief in the power of relics which grew itself with the physical body of the patron saint was far more important than souvenirs. The relics were said to have healing powers and provided a spiritual link between the dead and alive.

The monks were quite conscious of the material benefits these routes were providing and thus the pilgrims were being viewed as crusaders, a force to drive out the moors. The aura of danger in reaching the church further glorified the route. The harder the struggle to reach the greater the advantage in heaven.

Hence the masses led to the revival of long lost and trodden Roman architecture referred as Romanesque- in order to accommodate the thousands of devotees. Smaller wooden chapels were replaced by stone. Stone was cut into wedges called vassouirs, in order to construct barrel or groin vaults. The outward thrust was great hence pointing the arches helped in accommodating the pressure. Another important innovation was an apse with an ambulatory. Ambulatory is the extended space from the nave at the east end of the church to form a continual procession way. Radiating chapels from the apse were constructed to not cause any disturbance to those gathered in the main aisles, interested faithful could properly view the relics in the private chapels. Vertical elements were developed into solutions such as nine towered scheme.

Heavy columns were replaced by ribbed shafts of piers that flow into the ribs of the vaults and create the sense of lightness; lacework, etc. Thus, gave rise to the Gothic architecture. Saint Denis and its descendant Chartres are the epitome of gothic era. The doorways were richly carved and the cloisters and towers were frequently carved. The Chartres Cathedral is a flamboyant sight whose west work is thoroughly carved. Royal portal’s tympanum is the greatest example of relief sculptural work. Biblical scenes and the resurrection of Jesus restore faith and the purpose.

The Gothic architecture used flying buttresses hence the inculcation of rose windows was easier. Rose windows soon became an integral part of cathedrals and hence design intervention began. Colorful palettes of blue and green later yellow incorporated in the stained windows. Gothic architecture was thoroughly planned and the reason for the construction of rose windows in tall buildings was to convey the sense of pouring of divinity. The symbol lies in geometry, sometimes 12 sections speak of the 12 apostles. In terms of a symbolic whole, the Trinity, or the concept of God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit as three in one.


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