The Gothic Era was one of the most influential times on the evolution of architecture. Of importance were the cathedrals that were constructed from the 12th century onwards. Of these cathedrals, the most significant was the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai. The Gothic architecture is seen in the Rhineland, Normandy and Ile de France. The cathedral features a transept that integrates the corridor of triforium as well as a viaduct that is nestled on a fourstorey elevation.

Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai

The Gothic Era was one of the most influential times on the evolution of architecture. Of importance were the cathedrals that were constructed from the 12th century onwards. Of these cathedrals, the most significant was the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai. The Gothic architecture is seen in the Rhineland, Normandy and Ile de France. The cathedral features a transept that integrates the corridor of triforium as well as a viaduct that is nestled on a fourstorey elevation.

The imposing cathedral is as imposing as the edifices of the school of the north of Seine that it so ably represents. Its nave and transept meet the strict criterion that was set forth cathedrals in the Gothic times. It is in a state of outstanding conservation, with most of its Gothic and Romanesque decorations still intact. The cathedral has had its own chequered history. Below is a brief synopsis.

  • 1st Century BC – Tournai was already an important Roman Military and Administrative center. It was located on the crossroads of an elaborate road network that could take you anywhere within the Roman Empire.
  • 3rd and 4th Century – Christianity was brought to the town by St. Piat.
  • 5th Century - A Bishopric was created during the reign of Childeric the king of Franks.
  • 9th Century – The old episcopal ensemble was gutted down by fire
  • 11th Century – A basilica, which is still intact, was constructed. It attracted many pilgrims of the Marian Cult in the wake of the plague in the1089.
  • 12th Century – The current cathedral of Notre Dame in Tournai was commissioned

The cathedral features Gothic porch shelters that have sculptures from the 14th, 16th and 17th century. The sculptures depict the Old Testament episodes, the city’s history and saints, and the important episodes in the city. The cathedral is home to a great neo-Romanesque rose window, circular decorated turrets, and a choir that was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 13th century among other attractions

The fact that you can sample both Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles in this cathedral is enough to make you visit it. Even better, get to see the sculptures and worship where many before you have sought God and gotten refuge.

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