Architecture & Design

Byzantine Architecture: Its Characteristics and Stunning Examples

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Positioned near the Hagia Sophia, it exhibits tremendous influence of Byzantine architecture.The Byzantine Empire describes

the wide period covering the 4th century as much as the mid-15th century. It was also alternately known as the Eastern Roman Empire. Byzantium was the earlier capital of the Roman Empire. The 4th century Roman Emperor Constantine built a brand-new administrative capital to the east, on the Bosphorus river, called Constantinople.Byzantine architecture mostly established throughout the rule of Justinian I, in the 6th century. The empire under Justinian I was spread around the Mediterranean sea, covering a large periphery. The stretch of the empire decreased, later on restricting to the areas covering present-day Greece and Turkey.Characteristics of Byzantine Architecture It is stated that Justinian brought forward Constantinople's

perspective in bringing up religious structures.

There are likewise resemblances discovered in the early Christian architecture and the Byzantine designs. Basilicas formed the most common structural similarities, in addition to the use of apse, mosaic, and clerestory. Architects in the Byzantine Empire have obtained heavily from Roman temples, combining the very best of all designs.Apse: Semi-circular termination of the main structure, or the hemispherical end of the nave. Nave: Central part of a church from the entryway

to the chancel or altar. Clerestory: Walls rising high, above the height of the roofing,
with windows to permit light to penetrate.The construction functioned mainly on 2 kinds of strategies: basilican or axial, and the circular or main strategy. However, different designs of building evolved in

the later duration, especially after the development and use of pendentives in the dome structures.Byzantine structures can be identified by their peculiar domes. Theses huge hemispherical roofings used to be based over a square-shaped structure. The building of one heavy design over another required immense detailing and perfection. To achieve this, 2 strategies were resorted to:1. Usage of the squinch. This resembles an arch in every corner of a square base, that transforms it into an octagon,2. Usage of the pendentive. This is known to be an innovative development in the Byzantine architectural design.

byzantine architecture pendentives

It is practically like a triangular section of a spherical surface area. These sectors fill all the upper corners of a room. Therefore, they form a strong circular support at the base of a dome. Pendentives were utilized to form a circular dome over a square space, or an elliptical dome over a rectangle-shaped room.This strange style progresses from the mix of the balanced main strategy and the traditional basilica

or axial strategy. Churches formed like the cruciform were constructed with this distinct foundation. It was constructed over a square-central mass, with 4 arms expanded at equivalent lengths.This 11th century design or strategy consisted of 5 components, 4 in the corners and the fifth one positioned above it. This was the emphasize of the Greek-cross

architecture. The Holy Apostles in Thessaloniki, Athens, is an example.-Lofty and towering interior areas, with abundant and glamorous decor.-The columns were made of marble, and showed stunning inlay work.

- Vaults of the structure were never left empty, mainly filled with different mosaics.

- The ceilings were often coffered using gold.-Byzantine structures, mostly the churches, had stone pavements.Early Byzantine Architecture The early duration of this architectural style refers

to the old structures built during the guideline of Justinian

I. Much of these ancient edifices still stand proudly in Ravenna and Istanbul.The Hagia Sophia(or the Ayasofya in Turkey)developed in Constantinople, is the epitome of Byzantine architecture. Another heritage structure, the Basilica of Sant' Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, shows the normal longitudinal structure, typical to a basilica.Church of St Sophia, Bulgaria It was integrated in the Sixth century, and is thought to be the 5th structure developed on that place. St. Sophia Church, today, has a cross design.San Vitale Ravenna, Italy Here is an example of the central plan of building and construction (Byzantine architecture). Therefore, the main space below the dome in the interiors was enlarged.

Apses included onto the sides give it the magnanimous appearance from inside.A transformation in the architectural design of this empire came about during the reign of Justinian I. His architects invented a different system that brought

about the transfer of the earlier square plan of building to a circular plan. So, the structures developed henceforth generally featured domes supported by pendentives. Some works throughout this transitional or developmental phase include the Hagios Demetrios in Thessaloniki, Athens, Saint Catherine's Monastery

on Mount Sinai, in Egypt, and Jvari Abbey in contemporary Georgia.Famous Byzantine Architecture Here are some popular architectural marvels from the Byzantine period. The Holy Apostles of Constantinople in Istanbul, the Cattolica di Stilo in southern Italy integrated in the 9th century, the Sangarius Bridge, and the Karamagara Bridge are a few of them.Hagia Sophia, Sophia, Bulgaria This church in Istanbul can be considered as the feat of Byzantine architecture. Hagia Sophia (or Holy Knowledge)was developed by 2 researchers and mathematicians, Anthemios of Tralles and Isidorus of Miletus. Its building go back to around 530 AD. A concave disc-like dome was constructed over a squarish base, using pendentives to support the dome. This structure is known to be constructed utilizing both the basilican and centralized plan.Hagia Irene in Istanbul, Turkey The building and construction of the Hagia Irene (or Holy Peace )started in the

Sixth century, however it was modified during the 8th

century to incorporate an additional dome over the nave, that made the structure more longitudinal.Hagia Sophia in Trabzon, Turkey Positioned in the northeastern part of Turkey, it belongs to the Paleologan Duration( called after the noble Byzantine Greek household), which became the last judgment dynasty of the Byzantine Empire. The buildings of this period did not stress on the vertical thrust, other than this Hagia Sophia of Trabzon.Holy Apostles in Thessaloniki, Athens Cloisonné type of wall design is seen in this building, where one-colored stones are put in a series along with bricks of

another color. It reveals variants of the quincunx plan. This structure includes 3 apses in the east direction, and the narthexes(entryway locations or church vestibule )to the west.Virgin Mary Holding the Christ Kid This Mosaic is from

the Hagia Sophia( 9th century). It portrays Virgin Mary

holding the Christ Kid; Justinian on the left holding a model of the Hagia Sophia; and Constantine is on the ideal holding a design of the city of Constantinople. The Irene Ducas is another example of a 12th-century mosaic in the Hagia Sophia.An ancient mosaic from the Byzantine Age.

Mosaics were a very essential part of the decoration done on the walls.Influences. of Byzantine Architecture The Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture are affected by the Byzantine building and construction pattern. Romanesque architecture also thinks about the structural walls or piers(wall areas)to be the primary load-bearing segments. Cathedrals in France and Italy show small impacts in their structural strategies or decor styles.Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem Islamic architecture on the eastern side of the Mediterranean has strange qualities originating from the Byzantine design. Dome of the Rock, constructed around 691 AD in Jerusalem is a striking example. The Umayyad Mosque of Damascus integrated in the early 8th century resembles the Christian basilicas, but with further modifications.Neo-byzantine Architecture The temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade is a 12th century

marvel, and the biggest neo-byzantine structural effort. A centrally planned Greek-cross design, it has a big dome resting on 4 pendentives, and semi-domesbuilt over apses.Westminster Cathedral in London Westminster Cathedral in London is an example of Byzantine culture being revisited through structures. In the 1800s, industrial buildings showcased the Bristol Byzantine style in Bristol, which was a combination of Byzantine and Moorish architecture. It was established to a higher extent by Russian architects.Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria The designs of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in

Sofia, St Volodymyr's Cathedral in Kiev, St. Mark's Church in Belgrade, St. Nicholas Naval Cathedral in Kronstadt, and the New Athos Monastery in New Athos near Sukhumi are all influenced by Byzantine art.