Early structures erected in Constantinople showed Roman influences but from 6th century onwards, the Byzantine architecture began to evolve independently.
Some of the most notable examples of the Byzantine architecture includes the magnificent church of Hagia Sophia the Great Palace of Constantinople and the Walls of Constantinople among others.
Notable Elements of Byzantine Architecture
Byzantine architecture had a lot in common with the Roman style of construction. But the Byzantine style also introduced many aspects of its own.
Most notable elements of the Byzantine architecture was the basilica and the domes. Both were popularly used in churches and other ecclesiastical buildings constructed in the Byzantine Empire.
Domes, such as the ones built at the church of Hagia Sophia, were built with stylistic innovations allowing for their greater size. The most notable changes in the design of church buildings in the Byzantine Empire was the construction of cross-plan churches which comprises of a central area for mass and four arms extending on all four sides from this central portion.
Domed roofs were popular architectural elements used in Byzantine buildings, especially in the churches built under the Byzantine Empire. To be able to erect vast domes over church buildings, the Byzantine architecture devised unique devices of their own. These included the use of a squinch which set up each corner of a plain square with an arch, letting it support the dome; or the use of a pendentive.
Notable Byzantine Architecture
Byzantine Emperors had a number of grand buildings constructed during the prime of the Empire in the early medieval era. Some of these buildings exist to this day. Most notable among these is Hagia Sophia which was the jewel-crown of Byzantine capital of Constantinople and today is located in Istanbul.
The church is a beautiful example of the Byzantine style of domed roofs. Other examples of Byzantine architecture include the Hagia Irene church, Basilica Cistern, the great walls of Constantinople with 192 towers which helped guard the city over many centuries and Saint Catherine’s Monastery,
Influences of the Byzantine Architecture
The Byzantine Empire stretched over vast regions of Asia Minor and the neighbouring regions during its golden age. As a result, the architectural style of the Empire came to be reflected in regions stretching from Russia to Arabia to Greece and modern-day Turkey.
Many of these regions have extant examples of the Byzantine architecture. The style informed many subsequent cultures, most notably affecting the development and evolution of the Muslim architecture under the Omayyad and Abbasid caliphates.
The enduring and iconic architecture erected by the Muslims in Moorish Spain during the medieval ages is also cited as inspired by the Byzantine architecture. The style continued to flourish in the Orthodox countries for a long time and directly impacted the evolution of architecture there.