Gothic Architecture: 9 Iconic Cathedrals from the Depths of History

Gothic architecture is a style that blossomed in France and spread throughout Europe from the 12th till the 16th century. It was the successor of Romanesque architecture and the predecessor of Renaissance architecture.

Many great cathedrals, churches, abbeys, universities, civic buildings, and castles were built, all over Europe, in the Gothic style. Gothic architecture is characterized by ribbed vaults, pointed arches, flying buttresses, and rose windows. Large stained-glass windows were used in addition to abundant ornamentation and decoration.

Several historic sites in Europe that hold Gothic relics are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here, Check out some of the greatest buildings of Gothic architecture that are listed.

Gothic Architecture:

1) Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral – Florence, Italy

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence. Image © James Taylor-Foster

Construction of the cathedral started in 1296 and was finished in 1436. The iconic basilica owns the world’s biggest brick dome. The edifice has multi-colored columns made of pink and green marble with white marble on the margins.

2) Westminster Abbey – London, UK

The Westminster Abbey cathedral was built during the reign of Henry III, and ever since it has witnessed major events and ceremonies for the British royal family. It is also the place of burial of many British monarchs like Henry III himself.

3) Canterbury Cathedral – Kent, UK

SW Porch of Canterbury Cathedral

The church was founded in 597 and took several centuries for the completion of its construction, which was followed by some expansions, the latest of which was in 1834.

 4) Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral – Paris, France

Courtesy of Livioandronico2013

Being the site of Victor Hugo’s epic novel ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’, the basilica was built between 1163 and 1345. It features tinted glass and beautiful ornamentations and sculptures. The French revolution in the 18th century destroyed several features of the church. It got under the spotlight again when it hosted Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation ceremony in 1804.

5) Amiens Cathedral – Amiens, France

The cathedral is 138.8 feet high which allows it to win the title of the tallest basilica in France, in addition to having the greatest interior volume which reaches up to 260,000 cubic yards.

6) Cologne Cathedral – Cologne, Germany

It is one of the world’s tallest edifices, a key landmark of Cologne, and a tourist attraction as well. The cathedral stands where a Roman temple once existed. 

7) Milan Cathedral – Milan, Italy

It is the biggest basilica in Italy. Since it was customary for the construction of these great buildings to take centuries to be completed, our cathedral here took about 600 years. As opposed to other Gothic basilicas, Milan Cathedral doesn’t have two front towers, but rather several little pinnacles. 

8) Reims Cathedral – Reims, France

This is where many French kings had their coronation ceremonies. The cathedral was built on the grounds of an ancient Catholic basilica. The construction of Reims Cathedral was finished by the late 13th century. The western front was constructed a century later.

9) Chartres Cathedral – Chartres, France

It is a very well protected church since almost all of its windows still have their original tinted glass. The building stayed, nearly, in the same condition since it was constructed in the 13th century

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