Byzantine architecture

The Byzantine architecture, the architecture that emerged during the Byzantine Empire as well as into the surrounding Byzantine Art Architecture Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia, Armenia and Georgia. The Byzantine Empire evolved from the eastern half of the Roman Empire and is named after Byzantium, which had been 330 (as Konstantin Opel ) Capital Ostrom and where you will also find the most important examples of Byzantine architecture. This architecture epoch can be roughly divided into three phases: early, middle and late ( komnenische and palaiologische ) era.

  • 5.1 Architecture

Remarkable buildings

The early Byzantine architecture is essentially a continuation of Roman architecture. From this gradually, a style that took up influences from the Middle East and for the Greek cross for the design of the floor plan was instrumental in the church architecture developed. The building materials were propagated brick instead of stone used, the classical orders of columns have been designed more freely, were a central element mosaics which replaced increasingly carved representations. In addition, increasingly complex domes were erected.

Early Era

The most significant examples of early Byzantine architecture date back to the time of the reign of Emperor Justinian and can be found in Ravenna and Constantinople Opel. It represents a significant advance in the history of architecture is that it was Justinian's architects to develop a complex system that provides an elegant transition from the linear plan of a ( church ) building to the dome (s ).

In Ravenna, especially the central building of San Vitale and Basilica of Saint Apollinare Nuovo, the elongated be mentioned. In Constantinople, Opel created under Justinian the famous Hagia Sophia and Hagia Irene, along with the slightly earlier formed St. Sergius and Bacchus (also Little Hagia Sophia called ), which may have the other two churches served as a model, because as with this, so there is also here a combination of both elements that are characteristic of the elongated basilica - style as well as such as are used in centralized buildings.

The most important secular buildings of this time of day lying in ruins Great Palace of Constantinople Opel and heard (but already under Theodosius II started ) Walls of which to this day with its length of 20 km and its mighty towers, a major landmark of the city has remained and has been a crucial factor that the Byzantine Empire the downfall of Western Rome was able to survive an entire millennium. Also worth mentioning is the " Sunken Palace ", a term in the 530 series years huge underground cistern system. An idea of ​​how a Byzantine palace of that time looked like, give a frieze, which is conserved in the Ostrogothic royal palace of Ravenna. In bridge the monumental Sangariusbrücke (6th century) and the Karamagara Bridge project (5th / 6th century), one of the earliest pointed arch bridges out.

In the "province" should be mentioned in particular: Hagios Demetrios in Thessaloniki, St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai and Djvari in present-day Georgia. This includes the three major churches in Etchmiadzin in Armenia today, buildings that are predominantly originated in the 7th century and characteristic of the development of the church building in the Byzantine Empire in the time of Justinian following.

Mean epoch

In the middle period of Byzantine history, there were few significant architectural innovations. The dominant in this time iconoclasm was an extensive ornamentation of churches not conducive. On new buildings especially the Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki, and the Church of the Assumption in Nicaea to be identified; latter was destroyed in the 1920s.

The time of the Macedonian dynasty (867-1056) is considered the epitome of Byzantine art, has, however, not very many left important traces in architecture. Built in the 9th century under Basil I Votive Church of the Theotokos of Phoros (which no longer exists ) was probably the model for most of the next religious buildings, including the abbey church Hosias Lukas in Greece (ca. 1000), Nea Moni on Chios Catholicon ( under Constantine IX. ) and the resulting 1050 Daphni Monastery near Athens.

Also in the settlement areas of the Slavs, who were converted from Greek Orthodox missionaries, the design of this time was taken. Among the most important buildings here include the Hagia Sophia of Ohrid and especially the Kiev Sophia Cathedral, which plays an important role in the further architectural history of Russia. Both buildings reflect the trend towards ever more side domes, which have now been placed on cylindrical structures.

Komnenische and palaiologische era

In Constantinople, Opel and Byzantine Asia Minor there are few architectural examples from the Comnenian time, except for a few remarkable rock churches in Cappadocia as Elmali Kilise. Instead, especially buildings on the periphery of the Byzantine world have received where further developed the Byzantine form circle characteristic national styles, so especially in the Transcaucasian countries, in Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia, and other Slavic countries, and in Sicily ( here especially the Capella Palatina ) and Veneto ( St Mark's Basilica, Torcello Cathedral), which remained influenced byzantine despite the schism in the 11th century for a long time.

The Fourth Crusade of 1203/1204 brought not only a significant weakening of the Byzantine Empire with it, which was brought to the brink of extinction by the attack of the Crusaders, the conquest of the capital was also accompanied by the looting and destruction of many and architectural treasures. Only with the reconquest of the city by the Palaiologues have been on a certain cultural growth, which was reflected in the construction of new churches. In Constantinople alone Opel created a dozen new religious buildings, including the Chora Church and the Church of Maria Pammakaristos. Unlike the Slavic churches palaiologischen architects renounced the special emphasis on the vertical, so that the corresponding buildings often look rather insignificant ( with the exception of the Hagia Sophia in Trebizond ).

The characteristic building of the Byzantine the late period is the Church of the Apostles in Thessaloniki, having its outer wall a detailed decoration in a complex of brick or with a glossy ceramic. Among the other buildings that were built in the period before the final fall of Constantinople, including the monastery on Mount Athos and in Mystras (about the Brontocheion Monastery ).

Structural features

Even the built under Constantine in Palestine churches have two basic plans: the Basilica, a Axialbau, as he found in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, as well as the central structure that is found in the octagonal churches in Antioch. Central buildings were almost always curved, so recognized generally a central dome. This required the installation relatively massive walls that had to absorb the weight of the dome, but they were often provided with deep niches, as in George's Church of Salonika from the 5th century addition, one encounters vaulted aisles as in the church of Santa Costanza in Rome (4th century ), or the central building was expanded with additions on four sides, so that there was a cross shape in plan view, as in the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna from the 5th century, the most famous church with such a cross-shaped floor plan was the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople Opel. Vaults were also applied very early in basilicas, such as those undertaken resulting in the 6th century Hagia Irene in Constantinople Opel, wherein the elongated structure is built over two domes.

When Sergius church in Constantinople Opel and at San Vitale in Ravenna, two to the type of centralized buildings counting churches, one finds an expansion of the octagonal interior through extensions to the apse, resulting in a combination revealed that the most significant achievements in the Byzantine architectural history counts. The original length of 30 meters was so by the addition of two semicircles be extended to the west and the east side to 60 meters, these semi- travel again three smaller apses in the east and two were to be added to the west, resulting in a structure of 80 meters in length showed that reached in the central region has a width of 30 meters and was completely built over with domes: About the helically built small apses rise the two half domes that cover the semicircles, and then increases between these half-domes, the mighty center dome up. This is supported in the south and in the north of the vaults of the two-storey center aisle, which gives the building a rectangular plan.

When the Apostle Church from the 6th century, the cruciform plan was provided with five domes, the central one is the highest. After the 6th century churches were built no more, which would have built in some way with the under Justinian can compete; Instead, the buildings approached the now standard achieved more and more. The central area with the central dome has been integrated into a much larger rectangle whose four corresponding points of the compass sections were performed in the vault of the church system higher than the ranges of the corners, so created in this way the longitudinal and transverse vessels. The central area was sometimes rectangular, sometimes executed octagonal, or one built at least eight instead of four pillars supporting the dome, while the longitudinal and transepts were narrower in execution.

A typical plan of that time can be achieved by the sides are subdivided in a square in three sections in which the central portions are each longer than the lateral, and then connects the opposite sides accordingly, so there are nine smaller squares. Now three apses are added, while an entrance porch is complemented in the West, which extends to the front on the east side. There on the front is added a rectangular courtyard, which serves as an atrium and usually contains a well. The entrance portal is called the narthex of the building, under the dome is the pulpit from where the scriptures is read while being under the pulpit of the space for the choir of singers. To the east of the central area was a partition known as the Bema, the area where the altar was located, separated out from the rest of the room. This partition, which was adorned with images, made ​​the iconostasis. The altar itself was protected by a canopy ( ciborium ), which was supported by pillars. In the round the apse there was an ascending series of benches that synthronon, in the middle of which was the throne of the Patriarch on the easternmost point. The two smaller areas and apses at the sides of the Bema served as vestries and were designated diaconicon and prothesis. The pulpit and the Bema were connected by the so-called Solea, an elevated passage that was enclosed by a railing or low wall.

The influence from the East was particularly evident in the way as the outer brick walls were decorated. The walls of the 12th century. about whose bricks were rather crude into shape, were placed so that horizontal ornamental lines showed that emulated the pattern of the Kufic script. Also you can find more patterns, zigzag lines, and the like, as they have been used as decoration of many Persian buildings. The domes and vaults were covered from the outside with lead or with tiles, as they have already been used in the Roman Empire. The window and door frames were executed in marble, while surfaces were richly decorated inside the buildings, especially in the higher parts with mosaics and frescoes and the walls were occupied in the lower areas with marble slabs which, although forming a continuous surface through the selection of particularly beautiful specimens but a colorful series of large panels formed.

The Byzantine heritage

In the West, the Byzantine style was, for example, represented in Sardinia, detached from the Romanesque and Gothic architecture eventually. In the east, he exercised a decisive influence on the Islamic architecture. Thus the Byzantine influence can clearly past emblematic buildings such as the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, reading to their construction Byzantine craftsmen and decorators were involved. The Byzantine architecture was applied in locally influenced forms in Russia, Romania, Georgia and other orthodox countries over the downfall of the Byzantine Empire and also developed there to national forms on.

Byzantine elements were revived in modern times by the neo-Byzantine architecture, which was maintained in the 19th century. In Russia Konstantin Thon was one of their most important representatives, who had numerous pupils and the Volodymyr 's Cathedral of Kiev, which created Nicholas Cathedral in Kronstadt, Alexander Neweski Cathedral in Sofia and the New Athos Monastery in Sukhumi. Among the largest Neo-Byzantine buildings of the 20th century. counts the St. Sava Cathedral in Belgrade.