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European Architecture

Architecture Forms You to See When in Europe

When you take excursions in European cities with professional tour guides, history will probably be the topic the guide will discuss the most.  But something you will be told quite a lot of is their historical European architecture.  Unfortunately, a great deal of it had been ruined by war, in particular during the bombings during World War II.  Many of the city centers became literally destroyed, and with a few exceptions (Paris which is one), consequently you will observe these architectural wonders alongside a block of sixty year old buildings that had been obviously thrown up in a hurry.

But whenever you do observe one of those architectural marvels, your trip guide might say it is “early Gothic” or “Baroque”, as if you ought to recognize what that is.  Therefore here we are going to attempt to offer a very quick overview of a few of the architecture styles you may see, and what eras they were from.

European Architecture to see Begins with the Romanesque Period

1.    Romanesque (500-1200 AD).     You will see this type of architecture in France, and to a less significant amount in Germany and other places.  Meaning “descended from Roman”, it reflects simplicity in contrast with the following wave of Gothic.  This had been a period of great castle-building, but the design is observed more frequently in the churches of the era.

An Example of Gothic

2.    Gothic Architecture (1100-1450 AD).  Started in France and originally referred to as the French Style, the design had been possible as new methods of construction allowed them to build pointed arches, ribbed vaulting supported with columns, flying buttresses, stained glass windows and really elaborate sculptures.  As styles changed and the French Style fell out of favor, it became to be derisively referred to as “Gothic” after the Germanic (Goth) barbarians, which certainly wasn’t true.

3.    Renaissance Architecture (1400-1600 AD).  Renaissance in French means born anew, and as contrasting to the asymmetrical Gothic, this had been a send back to the symmetrical and proportioned buildings that are Classical Greece and Rome.  Look for classical arches and columns, with domes in addition to niches designed to contain sculptures.

4.    Baroque (1600-1830).  In Italian barocco equates to “bizarre”, and this style is marked with extravagance.  Europe in this point was becoming a lot more affluent, and it reveals in this architecture, highlighted by huge domes, huge spiraled columns, marble of multiple colors, and enormous murals.  There are going to be variations for this in Great Britain, Italy, France and Spain.

5.    Rococo (1650-1790).  This came on as being a variation from the Baroque Era, with some exceptions.  Adopted as a softer version of Baroque, it will have colors that are more pale and more soft curves.  You will perhaps more likely see this in central and eastern Europe in places such as Germany, Austria and Russia, just to name a few.

6.    Georgian Architecture (1720-1800).  Originating in Great Britain along with Ireland, this is characterized by its square, balanced shape influenced by Greek Classical architecture.  This style is found in large, stately homes at a time as greater wealth was being accumulated among the upper classes.  In America, this design became the rage within the American colonies.

7.    Victorian Architecture (1840-1900).  Seen in the British Isles and it isn’t surprising that the dominant architecture of this era would come from one of the world trade centers, and also of great wealth.  Due to the Industrial Revolution, they were in a position to use innovative materials and technologies to create an eclectic blend of architectures that are still prominent in Great Britain and America.

This is obviously just a quick review of a very broad, but fascinating subject.  There is a lot more to learn about this subject matter, but hopefully you may have a little to relate to when your excursion guide points up the architectural type of a structure they point out.



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