Romanesque architecture

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Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe, characterized by semi-circular arches, and evolving into the Gothic style, characterised by pointed arches, beginning in the 12th century. Although there is no consensus for the beginning date of the style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th centuries, examples can be found across the continent, making Romanesque architecture the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman Architecture. The Romanesque style in England is more traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.

Combining features of Western Roman and Byzantine buildings, Romanesque architecture is known by its massive quality, its thick walls, round arches, sturdy piers, groin vaults, large towers and decorative arcading. Each building has clearly defined forms and they are frequently of very regular, symmetrical plan so that the overall appearance is one of simplicity when compared with the Gothic buildings that were to follow. The style can be identified right across Europe, despite regional characteristics and different materials.

Many castles were built during this period, but they are greatly outnumbered by churches. The most significant are the great abbey churches, many of which are still standing, more or less complete and frequently in use.[1]


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