Identify two (2) aspects of Romanesque cathedral architecture, and explain their significance. Discuss two (2) details one might encounter or experience on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (i.e., on the way and / or once there) that you think a medieval Christian pilgrim might find especially meaningful. In modern times, identify the place you would find most meaningful to visit, and explain why. Write a paragraph from a letter you might send home about this "pilgrimage".
The main structural characteristics of Romanesque churches are the stone tunnel or barrel vaulting of the nave, with thick, buttressed walls to support the weight. Groin vaults, i.e. two barrel vaults joined at right angles are sometimes used because of the weight of the stone aulting on the walls, there was little allowance for windows, which are quite small, leaving the interior rather dim.
Semicircular or round arches curve over windows and entrances, and between the solid pillars or piers
separating nave and aisles. In the bigger Romanesque churches, the
ceiling of the nave is normally higher than the ceilings of the side
aisles. The section of the nave walls above the side aisles, called the
clerestory, is punctured by small windows.
In many churches, a cupola or dome
projects over the crossing (Zamora, Toro, the old Cathedral of
Salamanca, Almazán, Frómista), and a solid, square tower stands
sometimes to one side at the altar end, sometimes at the Western end. In
the larger Romanesque churches, it is common to have two towers at the
west end (Santiago de Compostela). The west door, or portal/portico,
is given prominence since it is through this doorway that the
congregants enter the church and come immediately in view of the altar
at the far end of the nave
May 11th, 2015
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