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Parent categories gothic - architecture - Middle Ages
Era: 1100s - 1200s - 1300s - 1400s
Gargoyle decorating the Cathedral de Notre Dame (1163- 1345) in Paris, France.
DefinitionGothic architecture characterizes any of the styles of European architecture, particularly associated with cathedrals and other churches, in use throughout Europe during the high and late medieval period, from the 12th century onwards. It was succeeded by Renaissance architecture, a revival of Roman formulas, at varying times in Europe, beginning in Florence in the 15th century. A series of Gothic revivals began in mid-18th century England, triumphed in 19th century Europe and continued, largely for ecclesiastical and university structures, into the 20th century. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_architecture [Jun 2005]
Gargoyles and gothic architectureDuring the Renaissance period in Europe, medieval architecture had been retrospectively labeled "gothic", considered barbaric in contrast to trends in architecture during the Renaissance. Gothic medieval architecture often had dark and intimidating aspects, with depictions of gargoyles and other demon-like forms. By the 1700s, people became fascinated with medieval gothic ruins (even building fake ruins), and they became a perfect setting for horror fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goth#Etymology:_ancient_Goths_and_medieval_architecture [Feb 2005]
San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill-top town in Tuscany, Italy, about a 35 minute drive north-west of Siena and about the same distance southwest of Florence. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers.
In Tuscan medieval walled towns, rich families competed in the erection of high towers, that served as lodgings, fortresses and prestige symbols. Because San Gimignano sits atop a hill the skyline can be seen for several miles outside the town. In medieval and Renaissance times it was a stopping point for pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican.
While in other cities like Bologna or Florence, most or all of the towers have been brought down due to wars, catastrophes or urban renewal, San Gimignano managed to conserve about 15 towers of varying height. The modern town has extended some kilometres out and is no longer affected by this race.
San Gimignano is also famous for its torture museum, with a display of instruments and devices for torture in various times and places, complete with multi-lingual descriptions of their use. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Gimignano [Jan 2006]
See also: Italy - Middle Ages - architecture - Gothic architecture - tourism - torture
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