lipprose Werner Nolte über mittelalterliche Architektur und Geschichte
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The Urge for Gothic


The beautiful Romanesque parish church in Roussillon, built in the middle of the eleventh century and rebuilt in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, has been through a lot. For example, she was set ablaze in 1285. The people seeking refuge inside the church fell victim to enemy soldiers.


Elne 072

 Ste-Eulalie-Ste-Julie, Elne


Nevertheless, it was rebuilt and enlarged during the later Middle Ages.This is demonstrated by the Romanesque tower.Famous is the well-preserved cloister from the High Middle Ages.


During my visit, I was fascinated by something next to this cloister that, at first glance, appeared to be banal.


The desire of late medieval builders to use Gothic forms is undisputed, but apart from towers with different heights or missing towers, one rarely sees an attempt that failed as vividly as in Elne. It is an image that is touching in a way: the foundations of a Gothic chapel from the beginning of the fourteenth century, which was to replace the Romanesque choir.


As in most cases, the problem was financial in origin.The early thirteenth-century Bishop Ramon V did not raise enough money. The Gothic fragments painfully testify to this failed project.




Translation: Erik Eising

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