Caen

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Northern France with kids!

By |2018-04-20T08:20:20+00:00August 15th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Amiens labyrinth In northern France, drive first from Paris to Bayeux to see the Bayeux Tapestry. There are good audioguides for both adults and kids. Going through all the panels of the tapestry is as interesting as reading comic strips! If you have time, the next day check out Mont St. Michel. It's a great Romanesque [...]

Matilda of Flanders – William the Conqueror

By |2018-04-24T09:08:35+00:00August 3rd, 2017|History, Medieval|

Nave of the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen (about 1050 AD) About 1050 AD, William the Conqueror married Matilda of Flanders. They were both rich Normans, and there weren't that many rich Normans yet at this time. So William and Matilda were distantly related to each other. The Pope had said that people who were related shouldn't get married, even [...]

Toulouse – St. Sernin – Romanesque

By |2018-04-15T16:50:51+00:00July 31st, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Church of St. Sernin, Toulouse, France In 1080 AD, the church of St. Sernin in Toulouse was a busy place. Charlemagne had given the church some saints' relics, and many people stopped to pray there when they were on pilgrimage to St. Jacques de Compostela in Spain. But the little old church, built in the 300s AD under Roman rule, was too [...]

Medieval castles – Middle Ages

By |2018-04-24T08:21:20+00:00July 30th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Outer walls of Caen castle, Normandy, France (about 1050 AD) Rich Romans didn't live in castles. They lived in villas. But Roman soldiers lived in military forts called castra, and that is where we get the word castle. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, there was a lot of trouble with pirates and bandits and invasions. Rich people [...]

Castle at Caen – William the Conqueror

By |2017-07-29T23:57:26+00:00July 29th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Outer walls of Caen castle, Normandy, France This is the castle that William the Conqueror built before he left to conquer England, to defend his own territory in Normandy, in France. William built this castle around 1050 AD. That's about the same time as he built the Abbaye aux Hommes and the Abbaye aux Dames. The [...]

Caen – Abbaye aux Hommes

By |2018-04-24T09:07:48+00:00July 29th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

The Romanesque Abbaye aux Hommes, in Caen (about 1050 AD) Vikings settle in Caen Caen is a port town in north-western France, on the Atlantic Ocean. When the Vikings invaded France in the 700s AD, eventually they forced the French king to give them the area around Caen (KAHN) to live in. There they got to be known [...]

Caen – Abbaye aux Dames

By |2018-04-24T08:00:43+00:00July 29th, 2017|Architecture, Medieval|

Caen - Abbaye aux Dames Matilda of Flanders ordered her architects to build this Christian church about 1050 AD in her capital at Caen. (Find out why.) The Abbaye aux Dames is a great example of the Romanesque style of medieval European architecture. One thing that is typical of Romanesque churches is that the doors have round arches (not pointed [...]

Fatimid Caliphate architecture

By |2017-07-22T07:09:31+00:00July 22nd, 2017|Africa, Architecture, Islam|

Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo (Egypt, 900s AD) As soon as the Fatimid dynasty took over ruling Egypt, in 908 AD, the new rulers of Egypt needed to show how important and strong they were. One way of showing that was to build impressive new buildings like the Al-Azhar Mosque in their new capital, Cairo. The Fatimid [...]