Monday, August 29, 2011

Naves, Apses, and Flying Buttresses at the Bodrum Castle, Turkey

In a mood for some Gothic architectural terms…? I thought so!
We rummage through the Turkish port city of Bodrum and assail upwards toward the brilliant Gothic castle known as, the Bodrum Castle (Bodrum Kalesi).
Gothic Architecture is a style of building, usually dark and dank churches and castles that flourished during the high and late medieval period, 12th century France, and is often called “The French Style” (nothing like kissing). Eventually, it evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by the splendor of the Renaissance. You know it because of the pointed arches, ribbed vaults (for his and her pleasure) and…. Everybody’s favorite architectural dare devil, the flying buttress.
The Knight’s Hospitaller (faction of Knights Templar) constructed this beauty in 1402 as the Castle of St. Peter.
Construction workers were guaranteed a reservation in heaven by a papal decree in 1409.
The chapel was basically the first thing these knights built, around 1406, and consists of two awesome vocabulary words: Nave and Apse.
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbeys, cathedral basilicas, and church architecture, the ‘nave’ (no not knave… as in ‘unhand that maiden you swarthy knave…) is the central approach to the high alter or main body of the building. Cool!
An ‘apse’ is a large semicircular recess (no, not that…) in a church, arched with a dome roof, that continues into the alter.
Oh, sorry…my bad… the chapel was reconstructed in Gothic style by the Spanish Knights in 1519-20. Their names are carved into the cornerstones of the church (I like carving my name in stuff too).
The construction of the three-storied English tower was finished in 1413 and can only be accessed through a drawbridge… (sweet!) The western façade shows an antique carved relief of a lion, which also gives it the name ‘The Lion Tower,’ and bares the coat of arms of King Henry IV of England… (that’s not the Lionhearted King, that’s Richard, this is Shakespeare’s Prince Hal’s father…).
Eventually the chapel was turned into a mosque and a minaret was added (who doesn’t love them some minarets?). The minaret was destroyed in 1915 World War I by… the French (probably still pissed that nobody but black-eye liner and sad music listening teenagers use the word ‘Goth’ anymore), and in 1997 it was reconstructed to its original shape.
Cheers, Bordum Kalesi…you, in a word, rock!

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