Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Who put the 'Rome' in Romanesque?

We just spent a week in Dijon and toured a lot of the surrounding region. Now it just so happens that Burgundy is world-famous, not only for its wine but also for its Romanesque architecture. I visited elaborate cathedrals, little chapels, abandoned ruins (like the two above), isolated abbeys and pilgrimmage churches, all in the Romanesque style and all built about 1000 years ago.  Bruce, par contre, was usually in the cafe next door, waiting (pretty patiently) for me to rejoin him in the 21st century. 

So for the next few weeks, I'll be writing about the history and architecture of the most remarkable of these churches – Tournus, Vezelay and the Abbey at Fontenay. But before I talk about these churches individually I’d like to explain a little about the evolution of Romanesque architecture, how it got its name and some of its particular characteristics. (Please note that you should be able to click on any picture to enlarge it...)