Northern France gets rich enough to build cathedrals
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Now all the tax money that had been used to build Christian churches and castles in the south of France came to Paris instead, and finally the people of northern France could afford to build big stone buildings. They didn’t waste any time!
A Gothic cathedral – a new style
In the south, people had been building churches in the Romanesque style, but for these new churches, the architects wanted a new style, which we call Gothic. The easiest difference to see between the two styles is that while Romanesque churches have round arches, Gothic churches have pointed arches.
In the hot south, people liked thick walls and small windows, so the churches would be shady and cool. In the north, where the days were darker and shorter, people wanted more light. So the architects figured out new ways of making roofs and of supporting walls, especially the groin vault and the flying buttress.
Bigger cathedrals with stone roofs
Gothic churches are also usually bigger than Romanesque churches. By 1200 AD, people had more money available, and they could afford to spend more on building great churches. And, where many Romanesque churches had wooden roofs (which were always catching fire), Gothic churches had safer stone roofs.
Did you find out what you wanted to know about Gothic cathedrals? Let us know in the comments!
Check out some Gothic cathedrals:
St. Denis (begun 1130s AD)
Laon (begun 1160 AD)
Paris (1160s AD)
Chartres (begun 1194 AD)
Rouen cathedral, France (begun 1202 AD)
Reims cathedral, France (begun 1211 AD)
Amiens cathedral, France (begun 1220 AD)
Westminster Abbey, England (begun 1245 AD)
Milan cathedral, Italy (begun 1336 AD)