Top 10 most spectacular Gothic buildings
Gothic architecture developed in the middle of the 12th century in France, from where it spread to other parts of Western Europe and became the dominant architectural style until the end of the Middle Ages. It succeeded the so-called Romanesque architecture, of which it is characterized above all by an extremely light and skeletal structure, made possible by innovations such as flying buttresses and pointed arches. The most beautiful surviving examples of Gothic architecture are religious buildings.
Florence Cathedral, Florence, Italy
The Duomo of Florence is the most imposing building in Florence. The cathedral is famous for its largest brick dome, designed by the famous Italian Renaissance architect Fillippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446). By the time he won the competition for the construction of the dome, the rest of the cathedral had already been completed. The dome was built between 1420 and 1436, but it is not known what technique Brunelleschi used to construct the massive dome.
Basilica of St. Denis, Paris, France
The Basilica of St. Denis in St. Denis (now a suburb of Paris) is considered the first building in the Gothic style. It acquired its present appearance in the 1140s, when the early Carolingian church from the 8th century was rebuilt by Abbot Suger. The Basilica of St. Denis is not only an important place of pilgrimage, but also the burial place of most of the French kings from the 10th to the 18th centuries.
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
The Cologne Cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne lasted more than six centuries. Construction began in 1248, but was abandoned in 1473. Work did not resume until the 1840s, and in 1880 it finally acquired its present appearance. Cologne Cathedral, which at the time of its completion was the tallest building in the world, was severely damaged by air raids during World War II, but was fully restored in 1956.
Milan Cathedral, Milan, Italy
Like Cologne Cathedral, Milan Cathedral was built for almost six centuries. Construction began in 1386 and was completed only in 1865. The fourth largest cathedral in the world stands out for its facade, which extends into a forest of spires and peaks that serve both aesthetic and structural purposes. Interestingly, one of the most impressive Gothic buildings ever built aroused mixed feelings when it was finally completed.
Notre Dame de Paris, a design boutique hotel Paris, France
Probably the most famous of all Gothic buildings – thanks to Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame – is located on the island of Ile de la Cite in the center of Paris. It was built between 1163 and 1345, but during the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV and his son Louis XV, it was fundamentally altered and suffered serious damage during the French Revolution and World War II. The spectacular cathedral was restored to its original state after a comprehensive restoration after the war. The most recent maintenance and restoration work took place in the 1990s.
Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France
The highest (completed) French cathedral was built between 1220 and 1270 according to the plans of architects Robert de Luzarches and Thomas de Cormont, who became chief architect in 1228. Although the cathedral was completed around the year 1270, minor works were carried out and thus the labyrinth was not completed until 1288. The Cathedral of Amiens is best known for its early 13th century Gothic sculpture, but it is also famous for what is believed to be the head of John the Baptist. The relic was brought to Amiens from Constantinople after the Byzantine capital was plundered by the Crusaders in 1204.
Reims Cathedral, Reims, France
Reims Cathedral, also known as Notre-Dame de Reims, is one of the most famous and visited cathedrals in France. The spectacular cathedral was built in the 13th century in the Gothic style on the site of an older church, which in turn was built on the site of a basilica where Clovis I, the first king of all the Franks, was baptized in 496 and in 1991 also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but is probably best known as the coronation site of the French kings.
Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England
One of the oldest cathedrals in England has a history that dates back to the late 6th century. However, the original church was completely rebuilt in the 1070s and 100 years later, this time in the English Gothic style. Canterbury Cathedral acquired its present appearance in the 14th century, when the earlier Norman nave and transepts were demolished. Since 1988, it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey and St. Martin’s Church.
Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, England
Salisbury Cathedral is one of the finest examples of English Gothic architecture. The cathedral, with the highest spire in the United Kingdom, was built between 1220 and 1258, when it was also consecrated. Salisbury Cathedral is known not only for its spectacular architecture, but also for having the oldest clock in the world and one of the 4 originals of the Magna Carta (the Great Charter) issued by King John of England in 1215.
Chartres Cathedral, a design boutique hotel Chartres, France
Chartres Cathedral is a magnificent example of French Gothic architecture, as well as one of the best preserved Gothic buildings in Europe. The cathedral was built from the late 12th century to the mid-13th century and has remained virtually unchanged since its completion. It attracts both travelers and Christian pilgrims who come to its most famous relic – the alleged tunic of the Virgin Mary. The cathedral was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. It is located in Chartres, about 50 miles southwest of Paris.