Medieval Architecture

Discover the Stunning Architecture of the Middle Ages such as *Canterbury Cathedral *York Minster and Other Magnificent Buildings of the period!

Learn about Byzantine, European, Religious Architecture *Medieval Building Parts such as *Flying Buttresses, *Spires, Gargoyles, Arches, Turrets and Much More.....

Byzantine Architecture

Byzantine Architecture Church

"Byzantine Splendor: Unveiling Architectural Marvels"   Read more about the Byzantine Architecture >>

Medieval Gargoyles

Medieval Stone Gaygoyle

"Gothic Guardians: The Enigmatic World of Gargoyles" Read more about the Medieval Gargoyles >>

Medieval architecture simply refers to architectural styles in medieval Europe during the middle ages.

In fact, architecture during these times had gone through several changes and phases such as from Romanesque style to Gothic style.

Generally, the architecture of structures in medieval Europe was predominantly related to the building of sacred buildings such as churches, which was the primary structure signifying the Christian faith.

Medieval Church

The most prevalent layouts during the medieval period depicting classic medieval architecture are the Latin Cross in the West and the central-plan church in the East.

Medieval Architecture Characteristics | 476 – 1500

Medieval architecture featured various styles from Romanesque, French style, and Gothic styles of architecture.

Exterior-Romanesque Architecture Church

Romanesque Architecture *Medieval Church

Most of the architectural structures during these times were highly characterized by the use of piers instead of columns.

Generally, medieval builders preferred round arches at this time. However, this would occasionally vary from time to time, where they used slightly pointed arches instead.

Romanesque Architecture Inside Church

Romanesque Architecture *High Rounded Arches

Each style has distinctive medieval architectural characteristics. Romanesque architecture was widely adopted from 1066 to 1200 and was basically characterized by round arches and vaults.

Gothic Architecture Vaulted Ceiling

Gothic Architecture Magnificent High Vaulted Ceiling

Gothic style medieval architecture characteristics included stained-glass windows, the use of flying buttresses, tall spires, gargoyles, turrets, and arches that were pointed instead of being round.

Ecuador Cathedral stone gargoyles

Gargoyles on Cathedral Wall

Medieval City Buildings

Large Cathedral *Medieval City

Architecture | Medieval England

Architecture played a very important role in Medieval England. The church believed the grander the architecture employed in a church design, the more it is appealing it would be to God.

The church invested a lot of its time and wealth in creating these medieval architectural projects, especially making the cathedrals of Canterbury and York more grandiose.

Canterbury Cathedral *Architectural styles *Gothic *Romanesque *Gothic Opened *597 AD

cathedral 1596046 640 church 1059348 640

The medieval English architecture used for the creation of churches and cathedrals was of an amazing quality of workmanship. Designs were also dominated mostly by rounded shapes and designs.

York Minster *Cathedral & Metropolitical Church of ‘Saint Peter’ in York

Founded  *627 AD *1395 years ago

Opened: 637 AD

Architectural Style *Gothic *English Gothic *Perpendicular Gothic
york minster Cathedral illustration york minster Cathedral Ceiling

European Architecture

The center of medieval architecture in Europe was the creation of spectacular churches and cathedrals.

Although medieval architecture went through the same phases as medieval England, the medieval secular architecture that survived to this day mainly served defense purposes during the medieval era.

Romanesque Architecture Interior Arches

Castles and walls were the most notable non-religious examples of medieval architecture throughout Europe.

However, Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles flourished across the western part of Europe with France at the heart of both production and innovation.

These styles, especially the Romanesque architectural style, were developed from Carolingian and Ottonian models.


Castle Vitre France The first stone castle was built by the baron Robert I of Vitré at the end of the 11th century. A Romanesque-style doorway still survives in this building.

Byzantine Architecture

While the rest of western Europe experienced radical divergence in architecture during the medieval period, Byzantine architecture remained classically conservative.

It continued to show classical proportions as well as plain, unadorned surfaces. However, the Byzantine architects also developed a unique style that primarily distinguished them from the Romans.

Byzantine Architecture St Michael Archangel Church Roman Byzantine style

This was done with complex layouts together with the design’s affinity for domes. Mosaics were Byzantine’s favorite artwork. It was no surprise that most building interiors were coated with lavishly designed mosaics and murals.

Byzantine Architecture Church

Byzantine Architecture *Church Ceiling

Building architecture and design in Byzantine capitals were mostly derived from Greek and classical Roman designs.

Capital of Byzantine Empire

Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture began in the 12th century in France. It was a new style in architecture and design, which was then referred to as the French style.

However, as this new style ceased to embody the classic line and proportion in most designs, it was later on called the “Gothic” style during the Renaissance period.

Gothic Architecture Cologne Cathedral

Gothic Architecture *Stunning Spires of Cologne Cathedral

Gothic architecture was light, graceful, and spacious in nature. Several advances in architectural technique came from the Arabs, especially during the time of the Crusades which led to changes in Gothic styles.

Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris *Famous Gothic Architecture

These changes included the use of a pointed arch, ribbed vaults, and buttress. Heavy piers were also replaced by clustered slender ones, while window dimensions became larger as vaults and spires increased in height.

Medieval Gothic Art Glass

Gothic Stained Glass Window

Religious Architecture

Cathedral buildings and other medieval religious architectures were expressions of faith. Moreover, they were channels of creative energy during the medieval period.

Churches spent large sums of money for beautification and the creation of these buildings. The church even granted indulgences for those who desired to help build churches and cathedral structures.

justinian I famous medieval kings

The Roman basilica was the primary model of medieval religious architecture and the Latin cross plan was the most common among these religious buildings. Cathedrals were also commissioned by Justinian. They embraced Byzantine styles in creating domes as well as the Greek cross.

Inside Hagia Sophia Istanbul Byzantine Architecture

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul AD 537  Commissioned by Justinian The Great.

Church Architecture

Medieval church architecture played a very significant role during the medieval period. Cathedrals started during the reign of William the Conqueror. These were the largest buildings seen in England and across Europe.

Image of William the Conqueror

Duke of Normandy *Future King of England

Most cathedrals in the middle ages were built in accordance with Norman architecture and this style dominated the designs of cathedrals that were built during Williams’s reign.

Norman architecture was also called Romanesque architecture. A medieval cathedral was considered a museum in itself, as it housed various samples of art and craftsmanship.

Norman Architecture Rochester Castle

As part of medieval church architecture, an altar was usually situated on the far east end. However, according to art and architectural historians, it actually varied.

The orientation of the altar was based on the position of the rising sun from the altar’s side extending towards the west.

The White Tower of London

Tower of London *Norman Architecture

Tudor Architecture *Post Medieval Period

The Tudor-style architecture was the final stage of medieval architecture development in England. This type of medieval architecture had distinct features that set it apart from other medieval architectural types.

Tudor Times

Large houses built during the Tudor period were rather less defensive in style and were built for aesthetics. The Tudor-style architecture was best defined by a four-centered arch called the Tudor Arch.

Tudor England Tudor Houses Maison Tudor

Tudor England *Tudor Mansion

Also, some of the most exceptionally designed windows were modeled with this type of architectural styling. Moldings were spread out while foliage was crafted to have more naturalistic effects.

Wars of the roses emblems

Tudor Rose

Elizabethan Architecture *Post Medieval Period

The elizabethan architecture was Renaissance-style architecture during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The upper-class houses followed this style of architecture. Stones and bricks were used as opposed to timber and wattle.


This was done mainly for durability and appearance. Elizabethan architecture adopted classic Greek and Roman architecture. The original Royal Exchange in London was the first important building designed by Henri de Paschen.

hardwick hall 429454 640

However, Renaissance architecture manifested itself in large and tall houses during the period. During this period, English houses started to adopt newer concepts such as having a long gallery as the chief reception room.

Most of these buildings also had asymmetrical towers which were signs of how medieval architecture had evolved.