Friday, April 24, 2009

Romanesque, a time of travel and religion

After the turn of the Millennium had passed and the people of Europe realized the world had not come to an end, a new time of pilgrimage began. There were many churches that claimed to house the relics of the saints and the holy family. This created a need to build ever more elaborate churches to house the relics. It became a competitive atmosphere between churches and a source of income for them. The pilgrims would go on long journeys to the Holy Land to show their dedication to the church. Along the way they would stop at the various churches.

Also during this period many of the churches had fires and would have to be rebuilt. This resulted in many of them rebuilding with stone vaults. The interior lighting would be done with candles in the wooden roofed buildings, a sure recipe for disaster and fires. By using stone, the roof would not catch fire. This change in construction, of course, required more architectural changes for safety. Lighting of the interior of the churches by using windows instead of all candle light also required changes in engineering and architecture.

More and more elaborate designs to attract travelers caused a race to develop ever more intricate work in both the interior and exterior of the churches. We have a similar situation in hotels and sports complexes in today’s age. Many of the mega churches of today have similar driving forces. One has to always be bigger and fancier than their neighbors.

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