The invention of the Christian church was one of the brilliant solutions in architectural history. This was achieved by a process of assimilating and rejecting various precedents, such as the Greek temple, the Roman public building, the private Roman house, and the synagogue. The Early Christian period saw the growth of Christianity. It was established as the state religion of the Empire under the successors of Constantine. Early Christian Architecture consisted of the basilica church developed from the Roman secular basilica.
The sixth century was a time of growth for the Byzantine Empire. Many of the churches built during this time were of the basic basilica style. At least two developments began during this century. One involved small buildings with domed or niche interiors and the other the use of domed vaulting in the basilica. While it is difficult to generalize any architectural developments during this time, one of the most striking changes that can be found in many churches of this time is the use of the domed nave. The domed nave was usually used with a rectangular or Latin cross plan.
The Carolingian and Atoning (merely a continuation of Carolingian period) periods consisted of mainly the basilica also. By the end of the pre-Romanesque period, Roman stylistic elements had fused with elements from Byzantium and the Middle East, and from the Germans, the Cells, and other northern tribes in Western Europe. These various combinations created a number of local styles, called Romanesque, meaning “in the manner of the Roman. ” An outstanding achievement of Romanesque architects was the development of stone vaulted buildings.
To support the heavy stone vaults, architects used massive walls and piers, creating a typical building plan that treated the entire structure as a complex composed of smaller units, called bays. A distinguishing feature of Romanesque style, bays are square or rectangular spaces enclosed by groin vaults and used by architects as the basic building unit. The nave in Romanesque churches was usually made higher and narrower than in earlier structures to make room for windows, called clerestory windows, in the sidewalls below the vault. Doors and windows were usually capped by round arches, and sometimes by slightly pointed arches.
These openings were generally small and decorated with molding, carvings, and sculptures. The Early Christian architect’s looked to the Roman buildings of the time to find a suitable building for their needs. The idea of using the plans of Roman places of worship such as the temple was unacceptable on principle alone. For this reason they choose another type of Roman structure to satisfy their needs-the basilica. It utilized a rectangle centered on a longitudinal axis that was internally divided into three to five sections, one central hall-the nave, and one to two side aisles on both sides of the nave.
At the East end of the building was a semi-circular apse that was usually set on the outside to the rectangular shape but occasionally remained inside. The greatest of Constantine churches was Old Saint Peters. Where it was built was believed to where Peter, the first apostle and founder of the Roman Christian community, and been buried. It was capable of holding three to four thousand worshippers. The plan of Old Saint Peters resembled those of Roman basilicas and audience halls. Like Roman basilicas, it had a wide central nave flanked by aisles and ending in an apse.
An open colonnaded courtyard came first and worshippers entered through a narthex’s. Old Saint Peters was not ornamented with lavish exterior sculptures, but had bland brick walls. The inside was, however, lavishly decorated with frescoes, mosaics and marble columns. The Early Christian basilica may be compared to the idyllic Christian, with a somber and plain exterior and a glowing and beautiful soul within. Among all the churches built during the reign of Justinian l, or the Byzantine period, Haggis Sophia is by far the most impressive and most unique. After rioters destroyed the original SST.
Sophia along with most of the hippodrome in 532, Justinian ordered the rebuilding of the church that was completed in 537. Fronted at the west end by a narthex’s and exonerated, the church itself is squat and rectangular. The interior of the church resembles a three-aisled basilica. Columnar arcades separate the nave from the aisles, with a single apse opening off the nave at the east end. The nave is surrounded on three sides by a two-story structure because both the aisles and the narthex’s have galleries that were accessible from ramps at every corner. A dome sided by half-domes allows SST.
Sophia the breach the ordinary basilica style. This vaulting of the nave forms an almost rectangular area. The dome is held in place by four massive pillars and the half domes are held in place by curved niches in the arcade. The architects’ use of eventides unites the full dome to the square bay low. This is also possible because the building is made out of brick rather than concrete. This elegant solution provides additional curved surface for decoration, and enhances the effect of the whole ceiling structure “opening up” to the sky beyond and essentially creating a very mystic and heavenly feeling.
Haggis Sophia is an example of two kinds of architecture developed during the sixth century. It was an attempt to meld the double-shelled domed church and the domed basilica, both of which appeared in Constantinople during the first quarter of the sixth century. The significant building, with its domed double shell and vaulting inside, marks the most striking architectural masterpiece in the Byzantine Empire during the sixth century. The interior was originally decorated, then much of it destroyed during Iconoclasm, then redecorated and then covered by the Muslim Turks.
Haggis Sophia’s design became influential in all later Byzantine churches. The Palatine Chapel, built about 792-805 at Charlemagne’s palace in Aachen’s, is the preeminent surviving Carolingian structure. A domed, double-shelled, two-storied octagon, it presents a type reminiscent of Early Christian and Byzantine architecture. Indeed, it is generally accepted that the Palatine Chapel was modeled closely after San Vital in Raven and was perceived as an antique revival. The main entrance to the Palatine Chapel is a large structure adjoining the west side.
A square mass of stone containing narthex’s chambers corresponding to the two levels to the chapel rises between twin cylindrical towers and is fronted by a huge entrance niche. Charlemagne imported porphyry columns from Raven to adorn his chapel. SST. Michaels, one of the most beautiful Atoning churches in Germany. It stands as a testimony to the creative energy of Bishop Bernhard. SST Michaels Church was built twine 1001 and 1031 on a symmetrical plan with two apses. Its interior, in particular the wooden ceiling and painted stucco-work, its famous bronze doors and the Bernhard bronze column, are considered Atoning masterpieces.
The church has a double-transept plan, tower groupings, and a Westwood as well as massive walls only occasionally penetrated by arcaded windows. Lateral entrances leading into the aisles from the north and south make for an almost complete loss of the traditional basilicas orientation toward the east. The crossing squares were used as the nave’s dimensions–three crossing squares long and one square wide. This was emphasized by heavy piers at the corner of each square. The piers alternate with columns as wall supports to form an alternate-support system.
This became a standard element of many Romanesque churches. Although the nave’s proportions had changed from earlier churches, it retained the continuous and unbroken appearance of its Early Christian predecessors. The Pisa Cathedral Complex, with its freestanding baptistery and campanile, forms one of the most famous building groups in the world. Except for the upper portion of the baptistery, with its remodeled Gothic exterior, the three structures are stylistically homogeneous. The cathedral is one of the finest of the Romanesque period and has a strongly marked individuality.
It resembles other early basilicas churches in plan, with long rows of columns connected by arches, double aisles, and a nave, which has the usual timber roof. But at second glance the broadly projecting transept, the crossing dome, and the fate’s multiple arcade galleries distinguish it as Romanesque. So does the rich marble incrustation. The exterior has bands of green and white marble, which provides a nice polychrome, and the ground story is faced with wall relief by tiers of wall passages, which rise one above the other right into the able.
The transepts, with each end containing an apse, were an advance on the simple basilicas plan. The interior also at first suggests basilica, but it is ultimately of Byzantine origin. Some divergences from the basilica form include the great vertically of the interior and, at the crossing, the markedly neoclassical pointed arch. The cathedral’s campanile, detached in the Italian fashion, is the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Its stages are marked by graceful arcaded galleries that repeat the cathedral’s fade motif and effectively relate the tower to its mother building.
Church architecture changed a lot from its early beginnings during Constantine rule up to the eleventh century; however, at first glance the churches still appear to have many of the same elements. It initially began as a basilica, and then turned into a domed basilica then to a Latin cross plan and still many other variations of the basilica. Flat wooden roofs turned into domes, domes turned into round arches and then to the pointed arches. Later churches got many of their ideas from Early Christian and Byzantine church architecture and also impair upon those ideas.