Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Byzantine architecture

Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine empire. That empire emerged in AD 330 when Constantine moved the capital of the Roman empire to Byzantium, which was later renamed Constantinople and is now Istanbul.

Early Byzantine architecture is essentially a continuation of Roman architecture. Examples include the walls of Byzantium and Yerebatan Saray. A frieze in the Ortrogothic palace in Ravenna (now S Apollinare Nuovo) depicts an early Byzantine palace.

Gradually, a style emerged which was influence more by the architecture of the near east, and used the Greek cross plan for the church architecture which mostly stands today. Brick replaced stone, classical orders were used more freely, mosaics replaced carved decoration, and complex domes were erected.

Ultimately, Byzantine architecture in Italy gave way to the Romanesque and Gothic architecture, while in the east it informed early Islamic architecture.

Neo-Byzantine architecture had a small following in the wake of the Neo-Gothic of the nineteenth century.

Great works of Byzantine architecture include:

In modern day Egypt
St Catherine’s Monastery, Sinai

In modern day Greece
Nea Moni Katholikon, Chios
Brontocheion monastery, Mistra
Monasteries of Mount Athos

In modern day Israel
Dome of the Rock

In modern day Italy
Palace of the Exarch, Ravenna
San Marco di Venezia
Torcello Cathedral, Venice
S Miniato, Florence
Baptistry, Florence
S Vitale, Ravenna

In modern day Syria
Great mosque, Damascus

In modern day Turkey
Elmsli Kilise, Cappadocia
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

In modern day Ukraine
St. Sophia, Kiev

See also: