Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Romanesque Medieval (pt. 2)

Castles were primarily built for defense—not pleasant places to live in.  Fireplaces were the only source of heat.  Stairways were extremely narrow, a claustrophobic's worst nightmare.  Contrary to what the highly romanticized Disney films would tell us, castles were uncomfortable and uninviting places to stay in.  Virtually the only color in these stone dwellings were tapestries, which were textile wall hangings that were woven, painted, or embroidered with colorful scenes.  One such famous tapestry is that of the Battle of Hastings, from England.
As trade and industry grew in the 13th century, the economy changed to money instead of land, and as cities were constructed, castles became obsolete.  To protect the cities from intruders, barricades built with wood (later with stone) were set up around the cities.  The walls surrounding the city of Avila, Spain, are an excellent example of this.
Even though these town walls proved successful in guarding from intruders, it also led to overcrowding as more people inhabited the towns.  The walls literally set a limit on expansion.  To solve this problem, architects built upward and added on to the buildings' height, making the streets below darker.  (Interesting…)

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