The Medieval World, C. 400–1300

Gothic Europe

What are the main characteristics of Gothic architecture?

Gothic architecture developed as a major European style in France in the middle of the twelfth century and is characterized by the use of pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses. These structural forms allowed medieval masons to achieve never-before-seen heights and much thinner walls than seen in Romanesque churches, as well as the addition of huge stained glass windows, such as the Rose Window at Chartres Cathedral in France. Gothic architecture was enormously popular in Europe, especially in France, until the end of the fifteenth century, and even into the sixteenth century in some countries, though it was never particularly popular in Italy, which preferred the Romanesque style.


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