Romanesque architecture originated in Medieval Europe and is characterized by its semi-circular arches, which differ from the pointed arches of Gothic architecture. This type of architecture is considered the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman architecture. Other characteristics of the Romanesque Architecture include its thick walls, massive quality, sturdy piers, decorative arcading, and large towers. From the 6th to the 10th century, the majority of churches and abbeys in Europe were built using this style of architecture. For those with a desire to see some of the most impressive examples of Romanesque architecture, be sure to visit these cities/sites:
Built between the 11th and 12 centuries, the Gurk Cathedral in Gurk, Austria is one of the most important Romanesque structures in Austria. This was where Saint Hemma of Gurk was originally buried and it is characterized by having a west front with two towers, three apses, a crypt and a gallery.
Romanesque Architecture in Europe - 8 Best Places to See It
1. The Bamberg Cathedral - Bamberg, Germany
The Bamberg Cathedral in Bamberg, Germany was founded by Emperor Henry II in 1002. The cathedral is approximately 94 meters long and the four towers are each about 81 meters high. The cathedral houses many beautiful German works of art and an equestrian statue known as the Bamberg Horseman.
2. The Modena Cathedral - Modena, Italy
The Modena Cathedral in Modena, Italy is one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The interior of the cathedral is divided into three naves and the central nave portrays the Passion of Christ including the Last Supper.
3. The Basilica of Saint Servatius - Maastricht, Netherlands
The Basilica of Saint Servatius in Maastricht, Netherlands is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Saint Servatius. Today, the Basilica of Saint Servatius is the main church of Deanery of Maastricht.
4. The Lisbon Cathedral – Lisbon, Portugal
The Lisbon Cathedral in Lisbon is the oldest church in the city and it has been classified as a National Monument since 1910. The Lisbon Cathedral features a mixture of architectural styles (including Gothic) but it is predominantly Romanesque. Its striking feature is its Romanesque iron gate.
5. St. Martin’s Cathedral - Spisske Podhradie, Slovakia
St. Martin’s Cathedral in Spisske Podhradie, Slovakia is the largest cathedral in Slovakia. Located at the western border of the city’s historical center, St. Martin’s Cathedral is known especially for being the coronation church of the kingdom of Hungary between 1563 and 1830.
6. The Porto Cathedral - Porto, Portugal
The Porto Cathedral in Porto, Portugal is one of the oldest cathedrals in the city and is characterized by its two square towers supported by buttresses and crowned by a cupola. The first Romanesque building has undergone many restorations but it has remained strikingly Romanesque.
7. St. Andrew’s Church - Krakow, Poland
St. Andrew’s Church in Krakow, Poland is one of the few existing examples of European fortress churches. Built between 1079 and 1098, it is located in the middle of the Old Town district of Krakow and was designed by a medieval Polish statesman, Palatine Sieciech.
8. St. Longin’s Rotunda - Prague, Czech Republic
St. Longin’s Rotunda in Prague, Czech Republic is one of the most well preserved Romanesque rotundas in the city. Finished in the 12th century as a parish church in a small village of Prague, the rotunda was almost demolished in the 19th century but was fortunately saved.
This article was written by Walter Godinez.