Introduction

People throughout history have built countless impressive buildings.  From the Pyramids and Pantheon of Ancient Times, to The Empire State Building and Sears Tower of today - humans show a genuine ingenuity for architecture. 

The study of historical buildings is important in that it helps one to understand the culture that put the building together.  Example:  When studying the Pyramids (built by Egyptians , one can see that the buildings, though large, are made of simple stone and not of complex design.  However, if one were to study the Sears Tower (Chicago, IL 1976), one would see a building made of complex materials (concrete, steel, wiring, etc.) that reaches very high (1,450 feet) into the sky. 

                                                      

 An example of one of the Pyramids.                                                       The Sears Tower.

 

Consequently, the Middle Ages was a time of great architectural achievement.  Western Europeans took the architectural ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans and improved upon them building many beautiful cathedrals.  These cathedrals are especially interesting to study in that besides being great architectural achievements, they also are artistic endeavors by the windows, paintings, and statues they contain. 

Therefore, the intent of this Cathedral Webquest is not only to introduce you to the two architectural types of cathedrals built in the Middle Ages - Romanesque and Gothic, but also to introduce you to the art of the Middle Ages by studying these cathedrals.