Medieval Architecture History

Medieval Europe saw the development of different styles of architecture throughout different regions of the Continent. Although many of these architectural styles shared common features, they were also unique in their own respect. Western Europe, for instance, had a shared Roman heritage of architecture but regions such as the Holy Roman Empire and the Iberian Peninsula evolved significantly different styles of construction.

The British Isles in the North evolved their own style of construction in the Anglo-Saxon period from the 6th to 11th century and then embraced a new style under the Normans. Such ever-changing social and political currents greatly shaped medieval architecture in Europe.

Anglo Saxon Architecture

Anglo Saxon Architecture was distinguished by it's double triangular windows and herringbone stone work and round arched windows Read more about the Anglo Saxon Architecture >>

Byzantine Architecture

Byzantine Architecture from 4th to 15th century had it's origins in the Roman Empire and was recognizable from it's use of Domes and Mosaics Read more about the Byzantine Architecture >>

Carolingian Architecture

Carolingian Architecture was influenced by the Byzantine and Roman empires and is recognizable from it's use of classic architectural features Read more about the Carolingian Architecture >>

Holy Roman Architecture

Discover magnificent examples of Holy Roman Empire Architecture such as the Speyer Cathedral and The Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany. Read more about the Holy Roman Architecture >>

Moorish Architecture

The Moors invaded and dominated the Iberian Peninsula for hundreds of years, leaving behind a great legacy of magnificent Moorish Architecture Read more about the Moorish Architecture >>

Norman Architecture

The Normans conquered many regions, buildings they designed are everywhere and their Architectural style became known as "Romanesque Style" Read more about the Norman Architecture >>

Tudor Architecture

Tudor Architecture was distinctive and well known for the use of the "Tudor arch" , Oriel windows, the use of multiple gables and it's brickwork Read more about the Tudor Architecture >>


Medieval Europe saw the development of different styles of architecture throughout different regions of the Continent. Although many of these architectural styles shared common features, they were also unique in their own respect. Western Europe, for instance, had a shared Roman heritage of architecture but regions such as the Holy Roman Empire and the Iberian Peninsula evolved significantly different styles of construction.

The British Isles in the North evolved their own style of construction in the Anglo-Saxon period from the 6th to 11th century and then embraced a new style under the Normans. Such ever-changing social and political currents greatly shaped medieval architecture in Europe.

Anglo Saxon Architecture

Anglo Saxon architecture was the style of architecture used by the Germanic Anglo-Saxons in England from the 5th to 11th centuries. Most of the extant examples of this style of architecture are ecclesiastical structures in different parts of England. Early Anglo-Saxon architecture reflected Roman and Celtic influence although the style was unique for its use of many new features.

Notable features which identify Anglo Saxon architecture include the use of double triangular windows and quoins in buildings. From 8th century onwards, Anglo-Saxon architecture was also influenced by the Vikings and their subsequent descendants, the Normans. Notable extant examples of this style of architecture include The Stow Minister Church in Lincolnshire and Odda’s Chapel in Gloucestershire.

Byzantine Architecture

Byzantine architecture was the unique style of architecture that developed in the Byzantine Empire from 4th to 15th centuries. This style of architecture was a harmonious and masterly blend of Roman heritage, Christian themes and oriental influences. The Byzantine architecture was noted for the use of huge and complex domes and huge mosaics which formed a regular part of the interior decoration of the Empire’s major buildings.

Some of the most iconic buildings which define the Byzantine architecture were erected during the reign of Emperor Justinian The Great in the 6th century. These include the magnificent Hagia Sophia in modern-day Istanbul. Most of the extant examples of the Byzantine architecture can today be seen in Istanbul in Turkey and Ravenna in Italy.

Carolingian Architecture

Carolingian Empire rose from the ashes of the Roman Empire in Western Europe and remained the most powerful entity in Europe during late 8th and most of the 9th centuries. The Empire was propped up by the Germanic Franks who ushered in a sort of mini-Renaissance in Western Europe.

A part of this Renaissance was the unique Carolingian architecture which incorporated aspects of Roman and Byzantine architecture but evolved a unique style of its own. Notable architectural features which were uniquely Carolingian include the use of a western façade called westwork, the employment of heavy piers to help construct heavier walls and the specific style of piers in church buildings. Extant examples of Carolingian architecture can be seen in different parts of modern Germany.

Holy Roman Empire Architecture

Holy Roman Empire architecture was the style of architecture which evolved in Central Europe from the 10th to 19th centuries. During this period, most of Central Europe remained a part of the Holy Roman Empire. The Empire went through several periods which can be broadly related with different styles of architecture used in the Empire.

Although Holy Roman Empire architecture employed pre-Romanesque style in the construction of many early buildings, it was in the Gothic style that some of the most enduring examples of Holy Roman Empire architecture exist. A number of Renaissance and later, Baroque-style buildings were also constructed in the Empire.

Norman Architecture

Normans were descendants of Vikings who settled in Normandy in the 10th century and by the 11th century, had invaded many territories in Western Europe including England, Sicily, southern Italy, Ireland and Scotland. In the wake of their conquests, the Normans left permanent imprints on these regions in the form of their unique architecture.

Norman architecture evolved differently in different regions. In England, some of the most notable examples of Norman architecture include 11th-century stone castles. In southern Italy, Normans constructed a number of castles as well as ecclesiastical buildings many of which are extant today.

Similarly, in Sicily Norman architecture accepted Byzantine as well as Moorish influences, resulting in a beautiful blend. Normans typically employed the Romanesque arch in construction and were among the first to make use of stone keeps, essentially laying the foundations of the medieval castle-building. Extant examples of Norman architecture can be seen throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, Sicily and southern Italy.

Moorish Architecture

Moorish architecture refers to the style of architecture employed by the Moors in the Iberian Peninsula. The Moors invaded Iberia in early 8th century and continued to rule on the southern end of Iberia until the 15th century. During this period, the Moors extensively built castles for fortifications, universities, sizable mosques, palaces and courtly cities.

Moorish architecture was a blend of Arab-Berber heritage of the Moors, local Visigoth heritage of Iberia and influences from north-Western Frankish territories. This style of architecture was marked by the unique use of a horseshoe arch, large courtyards, sizable domes and highly intricate honeycomb vaults.

Many examples of Moorish architecture can be found in modern-day Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Tunisia. Most notable among these is the Alhambra Palace in Granada which dates back to late medieval period.

Tudor Architecture

Tudor architecture refers to the style of architecture which evolved during the reign of Tudor monarchs. The Tudor era lasted from 1485 to 1603. During this period, the power of the nobility diminished, a wealthy merchant class ascended socially and gunpowder weapons rendered castle fortifications as obsolete.

All these contributed to the development of the unique Tudor architecture. This style of architecture used many unique features such as the four-centred Tudor arch and oriel windows. Tudor architecture also extensively employed half-timber works, brickwork, gables and carved decorations for roofs.

The Tudor style itself evolved a result of the changing social and political dynamics in England and the influence of European Renaissance on England. Tudor architecture itself evolved significantly between the reign of Henry Tudor who founded the Tudor dynasty and that of Queen Elizabeth who was the final Tudor monarch.

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