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Lars-Olof Albertson

[Aakirkeby] [Aa church]

Romanesque church in the village of Åkirkeby on the island Bornholm, Denmark. The church, dedicated to St Hans, was constructed in the second half of the 12th century and is the largest church on Bornholm. The oldest parts are the apse, the choir, and the lowest part of the nave. The upper part of the nave and the tower were later additions. The porch dates from the first half of the 13th century and is one of the oldest in Denmark. A greenish sandstone and brownish slate were used for the walls. The nave was constructed with two arcade walls, one running in the middle of the nave from the triumph wall to the tower wall, the other one running from the south entrance to the north entrance. Both were removed during restoration in 1874. In the Middle Ages the church belonged to the chapter at Lund Cathedral and was the seat for one of the canons and was also known as ‘Kapitalskirken’ or the Chapter Church....


Mary Gough

[Koca Kalesi]

Early Christian monastery on the southern slopes of the Taurus Mountains in Isauria, part of the Roman province of Cilicia in south-western Turkey. It is some 300 m above the main road between Silifke (anc. Seleucia) and Konya (anc. Iconium), 21 km north of Mut (anc. Claudiopolis). From two funerary inscriptions, pottery and coins, the monastery may be securely dated to the reigns of two Isaurian emperors, Leo (reg ad 457–74) and Zeno (reg 474–91).

The monastery was originally founded in a series of caves in a limestone outcrop at the west end of a narrow mountain ledge. The largest of these caves contained two rock-cut churches. The ledge was later enlarged by quarrying to the north and by the construction of a retaining wall to the south. The earliest building, immediately to the east of the caves, was the three-aisled Basilica. It was originally lavishly decorated, both inside and out, with architectural sculpture in a flowing naturalistic style, including plant forms, birds and fishes; figures occur only on the jambs and lintel of the main doorway between the narthex and the central aisle. On the west side of the lintel is a head of Christ set in a circle supported by angels, and at each end of the lintel and on the doorposts are four busts in high relief, possibly of the Evangelists. On the inner faces of the jambs are full-length figures of the archangels Michael and Gabriel in flat relief, while on the underside of the lintel is a remarkable relief of the four ...


Robert Will

Former Benedictine convent of nuns, dedicated to St Saviour, in Alsace, France. Founded in the 9th century, it was suppressed at the Revolution in 1789. The west tower and the nave with tribunes were rebuilt in the 17th century, but the crypt and western block survive and contain important Romanesque remains. The sculptural decoration, executed in sandstone from the Vosges, is concentrated on the façade block.

The finest work is found on the portal, which is abundantly decorated with low-relief sculpture. The door-frame belongs to the 11th-century church, but the sculptures are contemporary with the construction of the westwork in 1140. Their iconography is linked to the theme of paradise, a term used in medieval times to denote both the parvis in front of a church and the entrance porch. Standing out in the centre of the tympanum, Christ confers a key on St Peter and a book on St Paul. The scene takes place in a celestial garden, reminiscent of Early Christian decorative backgrounds, but here the trees are emphasized and the traditional scheme is combined with other allegorical subjects: the climbing of a heavenly tree and bird-hunting. On the lintel is the story of Adam and Eve, from the Creation of Eve to the Expulsion. The Lamentation of Adam and Eve, represented on the extreme right, is exceptional in the region and is derived from Byzantine iconography. Each of the pilasters flanking the jambs bears five superimposed niches, sheltering Abbey benefactors and their spouses, designated by name. The lowest niches are supported by atlas figures. Over the porch arch are three groups in high relief: the keystone bears Christ treading a dragon under his feet, flanked by Samson opening the lion’s mouth (right) and David victorious over Goliath (left)....


Tania Velmans

Monastery situated on a wooded hill 11 km south of Asenovgrad in Bulgaria. It was founded in 1081 ad by the Georgian donors Grigori and Apazi Pakuriani after they had been granted control over extensive lands in the Rodopi Planina mountains by the Byzantine emperor Alexios Komnenos (reg 1081–1118). The two buildings of art-historical interest are the church of the Holy Archangels and the charnel-house, which lies 400 m east of and below the monastery. The church of the Holy Archangels is a single-nave structure with a dome and an elaborately divided interior. The walls are built of alternating bands of brick and stone, articulated with single-step niches, and there is an elaborate frieze of brickwork meander around the top of the dome’s drum. Numerous restorations have obliterated the original plan of the charnel-house (18×7 m), which has two storeys of single naves with eastern apses and western narthexes. Inside is a series of paintings mostly dated to the late 11th century and signed by ...


Former Cluniac monastery in south-western France. The wealthy abbey was founded in ad 855 and reformed by Cluny under Géraud II towards 1097. It had the privileges confirmed by Paschal II in 1103 and received a donation from the Bishop of Cahors in 1112. The church, which is set between the Limousin, Rouergue, and Quercy regions, comprises a choir surrounded by an ambulatory with three radiating chapels, a projecting transept, and an aisled nave of four bays, a scheme related to such Limousin churches as Le Dorat and St Robert. It is best known for the enormous portal embrasure carved in porous limestone on the south side of the nave. On the tympanum Christ is enthroned in front of the cross and other instruments of the Passion and appears between angels sounding trumpets. Below are seven beasts. This victorious Last Judgement is witnessed by Daniel and seven other figures, as well as by souls emerging from their tombs. The representation evokes St Matthew’s Gospel (19; 24), didactic drama, commentaries on Revelation 1 and other contemporary theological issues. The tympanum is supported by a lintel carved with rosettes and by a cusped trumeau bearing atlas figures. SS Peter and Paul appear on the jambs. On the flanking walls are didactic compositions under twin arches: ...


Denys Pringle

[Coquet Castle; Arab. Kawkab al-Hawā, Kaukab el Hawā; now Heb. Kôkhov ha-Yardēn, Kokhav Hayarden]

Crusader castle in Israel built by the Knights Hospitaller c. 1168 and occupied until 1219. It is situated c. 12 km south of the Sea of Galilee, on the eastern edge of a plateau from where it overlooks the Jordan Valley and the site of what in the 12th century would have been the principal river crossings between the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem and its Muslim neighbours. Some form of castle already occupied the site before April 1168, when it was sold to the Hospital of St John. All trace of this early structure, however, seems to have been removed by the Hospitallers, who almost at once began to build there the ‘very strong and spacious castle’ recorded by the pilgrim Theodoric in his Libellus de locis sanctis around 1172, and which William of Tyre described in 1182 in his Chronicon as a ‘new castle, whose name today is Belueir’....


Mark Whittow

[Turk.: ‘The Thousand and One Churches’]

Group of late Roman and Byzantine sites on the Karadağ, an isolated mountain in the plain north of the Taurus Mountains in the modern province of Karaman in south-central Turkey (Roman and Byzantine Lykaonia). The mountain has been convincingly identified as the site of Barata, a minor city attested as a bishopric from the 4th century ad to the 12th. On the mountain there are the remains of over 40 churches and associated buildings. These are concentrated in two groups: a lower settlement now known as Maden Șehir and an upper settlement called Değler. There are also numerous other remains on the Karadağ, including some Hittite rock carvings, several churches built on the peaks of the mountain and several medieval fortifications.

Although known to scholars since 1826, the first and only survey of the Karadağ was that carried out by Sir William Ramsay (1851–1939) and Gertrude Bell in ...


K. A. Ottenheym

Castle in Breda, north Brabant, Netherlands. It is one of the first examples of monumental Renaissance architecture in the Netherlands, constructed at a time (1530s) when large buildings there were still dominated by the Late Gothic style from Brabant. A fortress had stood on the site since the 13th century. In 1515–21 Count Henry III of Nassau (1483–1538) commissioned a gallery on the curtain wall and a portal, both with ornate pediments (destr.), which was the first known piece of Renaissance architecture in the Netherlands. In 1536 Henry initiated more thoroughgoing alterations, with the intention of replacing the Gothic castle with a modern palace. The design comprised a rectangular layout around a large courtyard overlooked by an arcade. From the courtyard a stately, covered double staircase led to the double-height great hall on the first floor, which occupied the entire west wing. The ground floor below this hall was originally an open hall of columns. This design was finally completed in ...


Church of the former Benedictine monastery in Northamptonshire, England. It is one of the most substantial Anglo-Saxon buildings to remain largely intact above ground-level. The present structure is not necessarily the first to be built on the site: results of excavations carried out in 1981–2 suggest an 8th-century date. It is referred to in the early 12th-century Peterborough chronicle of Hugo Candidus, which implies that a monastery was founded there after c. 675. The first monks probably came from Peterborough, as in the case of the parallel foundation at Breedon on the Hill in Leicestershire, which other documents confirm was established by 690. Brixworth may have been identical with Clofesho, an otherwise unidentified Mercian royal monastery at which councils were held in the 8th and 9th centuries. At Domesday the manor belonged to the king and one priest is recorded, which may imply that the church had declined to parochial status. Nevertheless its former rank and the survival of its endowments are suggested by the fact that it was given as a prebend by Henry I to the Chancellor of Sarum in the early 12th century. A 14th-century stone reliquary with its relic have survived in the church and have been associated with a cult of St Boniface, attested from ...


Catherine Legros

Former Benedictine priory church, dedicated to St Nicholas of Tolentino, near Bourg-en-Bresse, Burgundy, France. Situated on an important road linking the northern provinces with Italy, the church was built by Margaret of Austria (see Habsburg, House of family, §I, (4)) after the death of her third husband Philibert the Fair, Duke of Savoy, in 1504. Earlier, in 1480, Margaret’s mother-in-law Margaret of Bourbon had undertaken to transform the small priory of Brou into a larger monastery if her husband Philippe, Comte de Bresse, survived a hunting accident, but despite his recovery the vow was not fulfilled. Margaret of Austria saw Philibert’s death, the result of another hunting accident, as divine retribution, and she immediately decided to initiate the work, securing the services of artists from the south Netherlands, Burgundy, Italy, and France. She spared no expense on the church’s embellishment, realizing that the monastery was fast becoming, in the eyes of her contemporaries, a testimony to her economic and political power and wishing to rival her sister-in-law Louise of Savoy (...


J. M. Maddison


Royal fortress and palace in Gwynedd, Wales. It was begun in 1283 on the site of a Norman predecessor, built c. 1090 by Hugh, Earl of Chester, and is the most splendid and important of the royal castles built in connection with Edward I’s Welsh wars. The castle made an impact on the development of both secular and religious architecture in early 14th-century England and successfully emulated one of the great works of antiquity.

The royal building accounts have been analysed by Taylor (1952) to establish a chronology, which is divided into two phases. The full length of the south curtain wall from the Eagle Tower to the North-East Tower was constructed between 1283 and 1292. This completed the enclosure of the town walls, which were built simultaneously. Associated work on the north curtain wall was suspended after the excavation of a substantial ditch and the laying of the lower masonry courses. Welsh forces led by Prince Madoc overran these unfinished defences in ...


Mariapia Branchi

[Schloss Tirol]

Castle on a hilltop dominating the Merano valley, near Bolzano, in the Alto Adige, northern Italy, which was the seat of the counts of Tyrol. Its strategic position controlling the transalpine road network persuaded the medieval German emperors to devolve the county’s power on the prince-bishops of Trent, Brixen, Coira, and Salzburg, all close to the imperial lineage. This situation hindered the local nobility in establishing power. The castle was built in four phases (before 1100; after 1138; around 1174; and from the mid-14th century to the present), although the collapse of the eastern section in the 17th century, some minor renovation work at the end of the 15th century, and extensive alterations in the 18th century have caused problems in trying to reconstruct the entire history of its construction.

Two Romanesque stone portals are preserved. The first, at the entrance to the great hall, has pairs of lions and rams on either side of the entrance, representing justice and the power of the counts. Beneath these figures are groups of people. Almost all of the group of figures to the right is missing, but the group on the left has been identified as the brothers Alberto and Bertoldo with their wives: the first lords of Tyrol (documented in ...


Gordon Campbell


Javier Rivera

Spanish monastery in the town of Celanova in the province of Orense, Galicia. It was founded in 936 by the bishop and monk St Rosendo (d 977), who was also abbot of the monastery from 959 until his death. The monastery belonged to the Benedictine Order and was dedicated to St Salvador. The oldest and most important part of the monastery, the chapel of St Michael of Celanova, founded in the 10th century by St Rosendo, is located in the former novitiate’s garden. It comprises a small pre-Romanesque, Mozarabic oratory that can be dated to the fourth decade of the 10th century, as the monastery was consecrated in 942. Its architectural language and its spatial concepts belong to contemporaneous art developed in the kingdom of León, with similarities to such buildings as Santiago de Peñalba and Santa Comba de Bande and drawing on Asturian, Visigothic, and Islamic influences. Its ground-plan covers an area of 22 sq. m, and the chapel reaches a maximum height of 6 m. It is composed of three spatial units arranged longitudinally. The first unit contains the access door on its south side; it has a square ground-plan and a horseshoe arch along its axis. The next unit, slightly larger in area and of a greater height, has a rectangular ground-plan and has a ribbed vault resting on arches with lobed pendentives. The chancel is entered via a horseshoe arch that is framed by an ...


Jakub Vítovský

Castle in the Czech Republic, overlooking the River Sázava, c. 60 km south-east of Prague. It is one of two castles founded by Zdeslav, a leading member of the court of Ottokar II Přemysl (reg 1253–78). Český (Bohemian) Šternberk was founded c. 1240 and became the family seat of Zdeslav’s descendants, the lords of Šternberk. Český Šternberk was completed by 1300 and, although it was later modified several times, the original medieval nucleus has been preserved, an interesting example of the development of fortified architecture.

Disposed along a rocky ridge above the river, the castle has a tower at each end. The entrance, on the north side, was protected by a massive cylindrical tower à bec, now partly covered by later buildings. The tower adjoins the long, narrow palace, which lies on the steep eastern side of the ridge and was originally protected on the west by a fortified courtyard (later reduced by infilling). The south side of the castle was protected by a huge quadrangular residential tower with a thickened gable wall, beyond which are the moat and the saddle dividing the castle from the summit of the ridge....


Jean-Pierre Chapuisat

Castle in Vaud Canton, Switzerland, situated on the shore of Lake Geneva (Leman), between Montreux and Villeneuve. Much of its reputation is due to literary descriptions, especially those by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (La Nouvelle Héloïse, 1761), Percy Bysshe Shelley (History of a Six Weeks’ Tour, London, 1817), and Lord Byron (The Prisoner of Chillon, 1816). Chillon Castle is first recorded in 1150, but it may have been constructed several decades earlier, as the lower part of the donjon and the old chapel appear to date back to the 11th century. Its position, on a rocky outcrop on the lake, enabled it to control the road leading to Italy over the Simplon and Great St Bernard passes, at the point where the road is confined between the steep mountain slopes and the lake shore. The castle was progressively enlarged and its defences reinforced by the counts of Savoy, ...


Nicola Coldstream

[Fr. Clermont; It. Castel Tornese; anc. Chelonatas]

Frankish castle in Elis, Greece. Designed to dominate a vast province of Frankish Greece, Chlemoutsi was built in 1220–23 by Geoffrey II de Villehardouin (1219–46). It was the first building on the site in historic times. Never besieged, Chlemoutsi became less important under Venetian and Turkish rule, and it was abandoned in the early 19th century and fell into ruin. Chlemoutsi is one of the best preserved Frankish castles in Greece. Built of limestone on the summit of a low hill, it is in two parts, the main castle being flanked on its vulnerable west side by an outer bailey with walls and posterns. The castle is an irregular hexagon (c. 90×60 m) round an open courtyard (31×61.50 m). It was built in two phases but not substantially altered. There is no donjon. The hexagon comprises a series of large, two-storey rooms with pointed barrel vaults and windows with segmental arches. The lower storey was subdivided with a double range of vaulting; the vaults of the upper storey had transverse arches on engaged shafts. The entrance on the north side originally had two square towers and a passage containing at least two doors. The apsed room over the entrance was probably the chapel. On the exterior there was a crenellated walkway, but only two, semicircular, towers; the finely mortared roofs were designed to channel rain-water into several cisterns, and the interior was fitted up for comfortable living, with a kitchen and with chimneys in several rooms. The plan of Chlemoutsi emphasizes connections between western Europe and the Crusader kingdoms, paralleling contemporary works of similar design at ...


Cathedral in Co. Galway, Ireland, dedicated to St Brendan. The rubble walls of the pre-Romanesque nave (10th or 11th century) originally formed a simple rectangular church. The rectangular chancel, with its paired east windows, was added in the early 13th century, and in the Late Gothic period the building was enlarged with transept-like chapels and an elegant square belfry, similar to those in Irish friaries, above the west end of the nave. The cathedral is renowned chiefly for the 12th-century sandstone doorway inserted into its west façade (see Romanesque, §III, 1, (v), (e)).

The decoration of the doorway consists of an extraordinary range of motifs, of both foreign and Irish derivation, forming the most idiosyncratic of all Hiberno-Romanesque portals. Jambs, archivolts, and a high-pitched ‘tangent gable’ were exploited as fields for a dense array of pattern-making. Following ancient Irish custom, the decorated jambs are inclined inwards. They support seven orders of deeply cut voussoirs, ornamented with interlace, bosses, scallops, geometrical designs, and beast heads. The beast heads bite a roll moulding and are comparable to those on the west portal of the Nuns’ Church at Clonmacnois (Offaly). The gable contains an arcade and a series of triangular compartments filled alternately with carved human heads and floral motifs. The five heads that peer out from the arcade may have had painted bodies, possibly emulating the enamelled figures with cast bronze heads found on contemporary Limoges plaques. Among the many delightful details are the rows of tiny beast heads on the lower faces of the abaci. Characteristic of the Hiberno-Romanesque is the juxtaposition of shallow carving, as is found here on both the jambs and pilasters, with much deeper cutting, as on the archivolts. Although this eclectic and exotic design was once attributed to the 1160s, most scholars now prefer a date of ...


Roger Stalley

[Gael. Cluain Moccu Nóis]

Monastery in Co. Offaly, Ireland. Clonmacnois was one of the most celebrated Early Christian monasteries in Ireland, famed for its learning and artistic patronage and best known today for an outstanding collection of monuments and stone carvings. The monastery was founded by St Ciaran in 548 (or 545 according to some authorities) on a commanding site above a bend in the River Shannon. Located in the heart of the country, it enjoyed the patronage of a number of Irish dynasties and benefited particularly from the O’Conor kings of Connaught, several of whom were buried there. What started as a small religious community became the core of a monastic city, with much commercial activity and hundreds of lay inhabitants (in one incident in 1179 no fewer than 105 houses were burnt). Associated with the monastic workshops are such major items of Irish metalwork as the shrine of the Stowe Missal (...


José María Azcárate Ristori

Castle in the province of Segovia, Spain. It was built on the site of ancient Cauca, the birthplace of the Roman emperor Theodosios, and was populated by the Arevaca in the 2nd century bc. Situated on a plain on the banks of the rivers Voltoya and Eresma, with markedly uneven ground on three of its sides, it is a magnificent example of a late medieval castle–palace. Begun in 1448 by Don Alonso de Fonseca (1418–73), Bishop of Avila and Archbishop of Seville, but still unfinished at the end of the 15th century, Coca is a characteristic example of the Mudéjar style, combining elements drawn from Islamic traditions with Flamboyant Gothic.

The castle is built of brick, laid in a smooth surface so that the mortar layers and lines of brickwork are equally emphasized, creating a decorative surface pattern. The rectangular ground-plan comprises two curtain walls surrounding a central enceinte, on the north side of which is the keep (Tower of Homage). Traces of the outer curtain wall and the large rectangular towers marking the boundaries of a wide ditch survive. On the second curtain wall, beyond the bridge, is a gateway near the Tower of Homage; its high, pointed brick arch has a square-framed border (...