Top 10 Famous Gothic Cathedrals of Medieval Europe

Gothic architecture brought a revolution in the history of medieval architecture. Just to be clear here that gothic architecture has nothing to do with Goth. It is not also originated from any religious influence. Gothic architecture is a comparatively new style of architecture evolved from Romanesque architecture in France and succeeded by the Renaissance. Gothic architecture became popular and quickly adopted by all Western Europe. Gothic architecture’s unique and bizarre style easily differentiate it from other medieval architectures.

It has some signature characteristics like pointed arch, ribbed vault and flying buttress. Versatility and light have a great importance in Gothic art. Gothic style was prominent from the mid-12th century to the 16th century. Over a period of four centuries many cathedrals, churches and other buildings were built in Gothic style in Europe.

10 Famous Gothic Cathedrals of Medieval Europe:

Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe is some of the priceless work of art. Here is our list of top 10 famous Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe that will amaze you with their incredible architectural beauty.

 10. St Stephen’s Cathedral

Top 10 Famous Gothic Cathedrals of Medieval Europe, St Stephen's Cathedral
St Stephen’s Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/Bwag

St Stephen’s Cathedral is regarded as the most important religious building in Vienna. This Gothic cathedral becomes one of city’s most recognizable icons for its presence in many important events in Habsburg and Austrian history. Two churches were built here before the construction of this Gothic cathedral. Since its construction in 1147, it has undergone a continuous process of preservation and restoration.

Over the centuries, the interior of this Gothic cathedral architecture was changed again and again. It has four towers. The tallest of all is the south tower. It was seriously damaged during Second World War. The diamond patterned tile roof was added in 1962. Around one million people visit this Gothic architecture every year.

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9. Burgos Cathedral

Burgos Cathedral, largest gothic cathedral
Burgos Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/FAR

Burgos Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Burgos, Spain. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this one of the important Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe is one of the best tourist attractions in Spain. King Ferdinand III of Castile and Mauricio ordered its construction. It was built over on the site of the former Romanesque cathedral. After a two centuries break, the construction was complete in 1567.

8. Reims Cathedral

Reims Cathedral, gothic cathedral architecture
Reims Cathedral | image credit – Flickr/Chi King

Reims Cathedral or Notre-Dame de Reims (Our Lady of Reims) is famous for being the place where kings of France were crowned. It was completed in the 13th century. This one of the major Goth cathedrals of medieval Europe is a major tourist spot, attracting one million tourists every year. The cathedral was celebrated its 800 years in 2011. The central portal, surmounted by a rose window is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It is enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1991.

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7. Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral, gothic architecture
Milan Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/Jakub Hałun

This Gothic architectural wonder is the 5th-largest church in the world. It took around six centuries to complete this gigantic creation. The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. The roof of the cathedral is open for the tourist. It gives a panoramic view across Milan. This is one of the best tourist attractions in Milan.

The famous statue of the Virgin Mary, the Madonnina atop Cathedral. It has been both praised and criticized by the artists for the centuries. A new lighting system, based on LED lights has been developed recently to this medieval Europe’s Gothic cathedral.

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6. Seville Cathedral

Seville Cathedral, gothic art
Seville Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/Ingo Mehling

Seville Cathedral is a medieval wonder of Gothic architecture. Built in the early 16 centuries, this is the largest cathedral in the world. The significance of this Gothic art is not merely bound to its colossal beauty. It exhibits the post Reconquista power and wealth of the city. The Gothic cathedral was built on the site of a large Almohad Mosque. It got its recognition of World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.

The cathedral has the same large, rectangular-plan of the replacing mosque but they added extra dimension of height. Some columns and other elements from the earlier mosque was used. The most interesting fact is the tower bell known as La Giralda which they converted from the mosque’s minaret, is now the city’s most well-known icon.

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5. York Minster

York Minster, largest gothic cathedral
York Minster | image credit – Wikimedia/Keith Laverack

York Minster is one of the finest cathedrals of medieval Europe. Built over 250 years, it is the largest of its kind in this region. Magnesian limestone (a creamy-white colored rock) was used for the buildings. The north Transept of the cathedral is famous for its “Five Sisters”. Five elegant lancet windows topped by five smaller gabled lancets. The cathedral’s chapter house is a splendid example of the Gothic Decorated style.

The wooden roof is a real beauty and remarkable art of medieval Europe. It has a long tradition of creating wonderful stained glass and has a huge collection of stained glass. York Minster is among the first to have a carillon of bells. This one of the top Gothic cathedrals plays an important role in the history of England.

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4. Notre Dame de Paris

Notre Dame de Paris, gothic cathedral architecture
Notre Dame de Paris | image credit – Pixabay/ddouk

The cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France. Over 13 million people visit this medieval Europe’s Gothic cathedral makes it even more popular than Eiffel Tower. It was a victim of French revolution and an extensive restoration work was necessary to get the perfect shape. Its reliquary houses some of Catholicism’s most important relics including the purported Crown of Thorns, one of the Holy Nails and a fragment of the True Cross. On December 2, 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor in this cathedral.

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3. Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral, gothic architecture
Cologne Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/D-Kuru

Cologne Cathedral is one of the greatest masterpiece of Gothic art of medieval Europe. It is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany and was the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne for a long time. Its splendid Gothic art work earns it a status of World Heritage Site and attracts 20,000 people every day. It took over seven centuries to build this masterpiece. Obviously the work was not continuous but it got a chance to flourish by many eras art work.

It is now a symbolic figure of the city.  Notable art works of the cathedral are Shrine of the three king, a wooden sculpture depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus. The cathedral was dedicated to the saints Peter and Mary.  Like many other European architecture, it also had to suffer the same fate and needed to restoration.

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2. Santa Maria del Fiore

Santa Maria del Fiore, gothic art
Santa Maria del Fiore | image credit – Flickr/Dennis Jarvis

Santa Maria del Fiore or commonly known as Florence Cathedral is one of the largest Gothic cathedral of medieval Europe. Designed by Italian architect Arnolfo di Cambio, this one of the finest Gothic cathedrals was completed in 1473. It is the main church of Italian city Florence. Along with Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile, this Gothic art is enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage.

This Gothic cathedrals has a great historical importance. It has been the seat of the Council of Florence. It was the place where Giuliano di Piero de’ Medici was murdered in the Pazzi conspiracy. Renowned preacher Girolamo Savonarola used to preach here. Its façade was built later in a neo-gothic style and dedicated to the Mother of Christ.

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1. Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral, largest gothic cathedral
Chartres Cathedral | image credit – Wikimedia/Tango7174

Chartres Cathedral is without a doubt, the most famous Gothic Cathedrals of Medieval Europe. It is also known as also known as Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. For its extraordinary architectural magnificence, it is enlisted in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Built between 1194 and 1250, it is one of the few architectures that stands with its original shape and design.

It is a pilgrimage to the believers and same important place for the architecture connoisseur. According to legend, since 876, Chartres Cathedral has accommodated the tunic of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Sancta Camisia. The antiquity was said to have been given to the cathedral by Charles the Great. The king received it as a gift during a trip to Jerusalem. The Christians have venerated the cathedral especially for this reason. During the Second World War, the Gothic cathedral was severely damaged.

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4 thoughts on “Top 10 Famous Gothic Cathedrals of Medieval Europe”

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  2. Una muy bella catedral gotica es la de Palencia (España), pero que tiene el problema que no se hicieron las dos torres usuales en su entrada principal (la base de la cruz que forma el edificio)

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