What are the different architectural styles

An overview of architectural styles - examples from the Harz Mountains for the respective epoch

In the more than 1000-year history, the people in the Harz Mountains and its immediate foreland have left unmistakable and mostly stony traces. Numerous large and small buildings from all historical epochs relevant to this area characterize the diverse face of the cities and many villages today.

Different times, different social ideas and different technologies each produced different architectural styles. Based on their appearance, many buildings can therefore be placed in a historical context, because each epoch had its typical characteristics. With a little practice, you too can assign buildings to specific time periods based on their architectural peculiarities.

The Romanesque era lasted in Central Europe from around the year 1000 to the year 1250. It is characterized by massive and thick masonry, small windows and doors, round arches, as well as square and cube as floor plans. The buildings have only a few decorations and appear very sober and austere. In the Romanesque era, monumental buildings with continuous stone vaults were erected for the first time. Examples of Romanesque buildings in the Harz are e.g. the collegiate church St. Cyriakus in Gernrode, the collegiate church St. Servatii in Quedlinburg and the Neuwerk church in Goslar.
From approx. 1250 to 1520 the Gothic shaped architecture in the Harz Mountains and in Central Europe. Ribbed vaults and pointed arches in windows and doors are typical of the Gothic period. This architectural style is also characterized by tall, steep towers and an apparent dissolution of the walls into windows, gates and stone ornaments. Gothic buildings in the Harz include the St. Stephen's Cathedral in Halberstadt and the town hall in Goslar.
The renaissance lasted in the Harz region from approx. 1510 to 1620 and represented a revival of ancient art forms, which it took as its model. During the construction, attention was paid to symmetry and emphasized horizontal and vertical lines. Round arches and columns are common for buildings from this era. In the Harz there are numerous buildings in the Renaissance style, such as the castle in Quedlinburg and the town hall in Nordhausen.
Baroque / Rococo
The Baroque, which lasted from around 1600 to 1770, has no straight lines. All forms seem to be in motion. During this time oval windows were built and the ceilings were decorated with abundant stucco. Both buildings and gardens were designed symmetrically. There are numerous examples of the Baroque period in the Harz, including the "Small Castle" in Blankenburg, the Castle in Ballenstedt and the market church "Zum Heiligen Geist" in Clausthal-Zellerfeld.
In the years from approx. 1770 to 1830, classicism reverted to ancient forms. The buildings have only a few decorations and appear austere, sober and economical. Typical of the buildings of this time are the horizontal and vertical structuring as well as the gable triangle with long rows of columns. Representatives of classicism in the Harz are e.g. the drinking hall and foyer in Bad Harzburg and the obelisk in the Degenershausen landscape park.
In the period of historicism from approx. 1830 to 1900, all previous architectural styles were mixed up at random. The representation-oriented architecture is characteristic of this period. During this era, numerous buildings were built in the pure style of bygone eras (neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic, ...). Buildings from this time in the Harz are, for example, the Wernigerode Castle and the city church in Hasselfelde.
Art Nouveau
The era of Art Nouveau lasted roughly from 1890 to 1910. Curved and flowing lines, ornate ornaments as well as animal and plant motifs are typical of this architectural style. The new materials glass and steel were used on a large scale for the first time in the buildings of this time. In addition to countless magnificent villas in many Harz locations, the traditional distillery in Nordhausen and the Dr. Barner in Braunlage.
Mixed forms
Large structures in particular, such as churches and castles, were often built over a period of several centuries. As a result, a mixture or combination of different architectural styles can very often be observed in these. An example of this is the castle in Herzberg in the Harz with elements of late Gothic, Renaissance and classicism.



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Additional Information:
The half-timbered building | The Romanesque Road | Monasteries in the Harz Mountains | The ages of human history in Central Europe


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