Many original examples of Gothic architecture are still standing, and still in use, Throughout Europe. Gothic buildings were very expensive to produce, but they were as well-constructed as they were lavish. Extravagant churches, castles and buildings can be found with huge interiors, flying buttresses, gorgeous stained glass windows, towers and archways. Here are some places where you can find examples of Gothic architecture, marvel at them and appreciate the aesthetic value of this beautiful style.
The St. Denis cathedral is large and majestic, and it's one of the very first Gothic buildings. Construction began in the 1130s, and it's still standing and in use today. With one very high tower, several elaborate columns, and many windows surrounded by archways, this building inspired Gothic architects throughout Europe for 300 years.
The Laon Cathedral, which began construction in 1160, is another French Gothic cathedral of note. Twin towers top its impressive two-story-high archways, with arched windows, columns and flying buttresses surrounding them.
In 1194, the Chartres Cathedral was started. With double towers that are different from each other, this great cathedral stands majestically with asymmetrical interest and beauty. A large, ornate circle faces the front on the center of the building, over characteristic stone archways. Chartres is also known for having some of the most beautiful Gothic stained glass in all of Europe.
The Rouen cathedral was begun in 1202 and is also asymmetrical, with more elaborate and ornate design on its many pointed towers. With row upon row of windows over each other, extending to the very top of each tower, this impressive cathedral epitomizes wealth and Gothic design.
The Reims cathedral, begun in 1211, and the Amiens cathedral, begun in 1220, are nearly identical from the outside. They are symmetrical, with two towers, many stories high, ornate arched windows, and large arches over the main doorways on the building facings. Reims was rebuilt in the 1920s after it suffered heavy shelling during World War I. Look closely at the facade, and you can still see places where bullets bored holes into the stone.
The most famous English Gothic structure is Westminster Abbey. Begun in 1245, this huge cathedral attracts a million tourists and photographers each year. It is extremely tall, symmetrical, and is still in use today, with plans for expansion into the next decade. Ornate throughout, this is a highlight of any London visit.
The Milan cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, with enough room for 40,000 people inside. Its construction began in 1386 and continued into the 1880s. People can walk on its rooftop, enjoying a magnificent view of the countryside and close-up views of the many decorative pinnacles and sculptures.
The history of Gothic architecture begins in France, with an abbot who wanted a cathedral that reflected his view of God as a being of light.
Gothic has come to mean many things.