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Medieval architecture – Gothic and Romanesque – Europe

By | 2017-09-26T21:57:22+00:00 September 26th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Cloister at Moissac (ca. 1100 AD, southern France) The first part of the Middle Ages saw very little building of anything but houses in northern Europe, as people struggled to adjust to the fall of Rome. People built some small churches here and there in the Visigothic, Vandal, and Merovingian kingdoms, but not much else. Nearer to the Mediterranean Sea, however, people [...]

What is a ziggurat? Mesopotamian architecture

By | 2017-09-11T17:36:36+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Remains of the ziggurat at Warka, in Iraq, 3000 BC (before it was reconstructed) Like the Egyptians at the same time, the Sumerians and Iranians around 3000-2500 BC devoted a lot of energy to building big buildings. But unlike the Pyramids, which are tombs for dead Pharaohs, the Sumerian and Iranian ziggurats (ZIG-oo-rats) are temples for their gods. Because good building stone is [...]

Parthian and Sassanid architecture – West Asia

By | 2017-09-11T17:12:38+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Arch of Sapor - Parthians - Ctesiphon, Iraq, probably about 500 AD About 100 BC, those Greek kingdoms also gave way to new conquerors. The Romans took over the West (modern Israel, Syria, Jordan, Armenia, and Turkey). The Parthians took over the East (modern Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan). The Romans built many Roman-style buildings all over their [...]

West Asian architecture – Ancient Mesopotamian architecture

By | 2017-12-11T00:21:54+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Mesopotamian architecture: The Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon, built during the Neo-Babylonian period (600s BC). Now in Berlin. Mesopotamian architecture Builders in Mesopotamia always had a serious problem. There was not enough stone or wood. But there was lots and lots of clay. So their buildings were usually built of brick, or mud-brick. West Asian builders got used [...]

Sumerian architecture – Mesopotamia

By | 2017-12-12T11:36:35+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Sumerian architecture: the ziggurat at Warka (reconstructed by Saddam Hussein) Mud-brick and brick Like other people around the world, the Sumerians started to build big temples on artificial platforms around 3500 BC. They were living in the area between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. in what is now Iraq. Because there's practically no building stone in this [...]

West Asian beds – Mesopotamian houses

By | 2017-09-11T16:09:52+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Drawing of the grass bed inside a reed hut from Ohalo II (Galilee, 21000 BC) When people came to West Asia from Africa about 60,000 BC, they brought the idea of sleeping in beds with them. People in Galilee (modern Israel) were already sleeping in beds in the Paleolithic time period, about 21,000 BC. While earlier African [...]

Assyrian palaces – West Asian architecture

By | 2017-09-11T15:43:16+00:00 September 11th, 2017|Architecture, West Asia|

Assyrian soldiers attack a town. Some are swimming, using balloons made of goatskins to hold themselves up. Palace of Ashurnasirpal II, Nimrud, 860 BC. See the walls and buildings of the town? The Assyrian kings' main architecture was their big palaces. The kings forced their subjects to build them palaces starting about 860 BC. The [...]

South American and Central American architecture

By | 2017-09-08T15:22:56+00:00 September 8th, 2017|Architecture, Central America, South America|

Olmec Pyramid, La Venta, Mexico (500 BC) The earliest big buildings from South America are in Ecuador and Peru, along the Pacific coast. The Norte Chico people and the Valdivia people built stone temples there as early as 3500 BC. Later on, people also built stone buildings in Central America (modern Mexico). Olmec people built them about 1150 [...]

Roman insulae – apartments – Roman architecture

By | 2017-09-04T08:55:29+00:00 September 4th, 2017|Architecture, Romans|

Ostia (can you see where the wooden balconies would have been?) In big cities, most Romans lived in apartment buildings we call insulae (IN-sue-lie), or islands (because they often took up a whole city block). During the 100s AD, there were almost 50,000 apartment buildings in Rome (mostly with many families living in them), [...]

What is a vomitorium? Roman architecture

By | 2017-08-31T09:16:00+00:00 August 31st, 2017|Architecture, Romans|

Vomitorium in the Colosseum in Rome(The roof has fallen in.) You might think a vomitorium must have something to do with barfing, and those stories about Romans eating too much and then making themselves barf so they could eat more. But a vomitorium is really much more boring than that. A vomitorium is called that [...]