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364 • C H R I S T I A N I T Y A N D T H E F O R M A T I O N O F E U R O P E The Romanesque period was marked by a building boom. Contemporary com- mentators were thrilled at the beautiful churches that seemed to be springing up everywhere. Later art historians called the style of these buildings Romanesque, for despite their great variety they shared certain features reminiscent of ancient Roman architecture, including an overall massiveness, thick stone walls, round arches, and barrel-vaulted stone ceilings. One reason for the sudden burst of building was the popularity of pilgrimages. In the newly prosperous and stable times of the 11th and 12th centuries, people could once again travel safely. Although some made the trip all the way to Jerusalem, in the Holy Land, most confined their pilgrimages to sites associated with Christian saints in Europe. Churches—and also lodgings and other services—arose along the most popular pilgrimage routes as way stations for these large groups of travelers. The earliest Romanesque pilgrimage church still standing is the abbey church of Sainte-Foy, in France (15.14, 15.15). This aerial photograph makes clear the church's cross-form plan. Even from the exterior we can distinguish the nave, the slightly shorter aisles, and the transept. Two square towers flank the entry portal, and an octagonal tower marks the intersection of the transept and the nave. The round arches of the windows are continued in the interior, which has a barrel- vaulted nave and groin-vaulted aisles. The interior of Sainte-Foy is illustrated in Chapter 13 (see 13.10). The plan shows how Romanesque architects modified church design to accom- modate large crowds of pilgrims. Aisles now line the transept as well as the nave and continue in a semicircle around the back of the apse, allowing visitors to circulate freely. The aisle around the apse is called an ambulatory, Latin for "walk- way." Small chapels radiate from the ambulatory. The apse itself is now preceded by an area called the choir. Together, apse and choir served as a small "church within a church," allowing monks to perform their rites even as pilgrims visited. Pilgrims stopping at Sainte-Foy would have come to see the relics of Saint Foy herself, which were kept there in a statue made of gold hammered over a wooden core and set with gems (15.16). Saint Foy, known in English as Saint Faith, was supposed to have been put to death as a young girl, possibly in the 3rd century, for refusing to worship pagan gods. 15.14 Aerial view of Sainte-Foy, Conques, France. ca. 1050–1120. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY 15.15 Plan of Sainte-Foy. R E L A T E D W O R K S 13.10 Interior of Sainte-Foy

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