Chartres Cathedral and Acropolis, Parthenon Athens

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The comparative essay takes into account the two Sacred Spaces discovered in France and Greece. That is, Chartres Cathedral based in France, Acropolis, and Parthenon both in Greece. In the past, the Sacred Spaces had been used to restore human spirit and souls. Such places gave human beings the chance to feel the connection with God and stayed in peace. Various artworks have been discovered in these websites of community worship, or personal throwback serves the purposes of observation, admiration renewal and much more. In the paper, I shall center of attention on Parthenon and Chartres Cathedral architectural works as a typical sacred space in the two countries.
Chartres Cathedral Architectural Design
According to the records of the town and the Cathedral clerics, the Cathedrals always have an individual Saint whom they worship as their God. Every time, the congregation would move from homes to the Chartres Cathedral given praying in different relics. The ancient people believed that the spring over which the Cathedral was built upon had an extraordinary healing power. They held tunic ceremonies at the site of Chartres Cathedral because they thought that Virgin Mary wore it during Jesus birth. During the 1194 fire menace, the tunic’s survival indicated that the Virgin Mary continue to show her mercy through protecting them, therefore encouraging them to rebuild the Cathedral. For this reason, the importance of the site remained outstanding around the city. The Chartres Cathedral’s architecture followed the trends of the ancient Gothic designs that were unpredictable and non-existing. The building appearance had never been seen before.

Cultural Implications

The twelfth-century Gothic buildings possessed distinct features like gloriously stained glass windows and their massive heights. The Chartres Cathedral based in France possessed all the interior characteristics of the Gothic architecture. The nave was more than 50 ft. Full while the vaulted ceiling 1s approximately 118 ft. from the floor area. The area covered the reception place with the lights and heights to move them beyond the problems and cares of the traditional world. The Gothic cathedral architecture arranged three pairs of sharp-pointed arches to make a structure they call a rib vault. The vault assisted in supporting the heights in the Gothic architecture in the following manner; the overall weight of the building was shared across all the ribs of the ceiling vaults, before later spreading the burden to the flying buttresses and the wall.

Floor Plans

The innovation contributed to the possibility of wonders in the Chartres Cathedral in addition to its large stained glasses. The French architects used the stained glasses to make massive decorations on the windows of the surrounded the Cathedral in colored lights. The smaller circular and the longer circular windows rested in opposite directions with tall thin in between the pointed tops. Due to the dedication to the Virgin Mary, the windows in the choir were devoted to the Christ. The Rose windows symbolize the deep inclusion in the spirit of Mary. For instance, stained glass was always used metaphorically in art and literature to for the Conception of Immaculate. That is to say, that as the sunlight passes through the lenses into the Cathedral without breaking the windows, does the Holy Spirit entered the Virgin Mary while still maintaining her virginity.

Fig. 1. Chartres Cathedral, Gothic, France, 1194-1250 AD

Chartres Cathedral floor plans depict symmetrical proportions. The shape of the Chartres Cathedral symbolized the Latin cross implying the crucifixion of Jesus. In the same kind of plans, the axes took different directions with the longer and main axis moving from west to east. The shorter axis meets the longer axis at right angles with the intersection nearer to the east end of the shorter axis. The designs of Chartres Cathedral floor plan aimed at guiding the pilgrims and the congregations while entering the sacred places. The physical orientation of the house also depicts the natural course of the sun. Therefore, to the east resembled the “light of the world”. The illustrations explained why the sun rises from the east and sets to the west reminding the worshipers of their morality and the impending judgments. The time revolution implied the approach of Pilgrim Judgment Day where the sinners and deviators would be put under tasks of answering their injustices. The plans gave the way that circled around the apse and the pilgrimages would go around the ambulatory and pay visit to individual chapels depending on their sacred relics needs. Immediately, after entering the Chartres Cathedral would trek past the labyrinth floor that symbolizes their spiritual and physical journey in Christ. In today’s religion, the Chartres Cathedral attracts also the non-religious visitors because of the century’s devotion, its history, the preserved architecture, holiness and the admiration atmosphere good for worship.

Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece

Fig. 2. Parthenon, Acropolis, Athens, Greece, 447-438 BCE

Parthenon Architectural Design

The Parthenon temple was used as treasury as well. Parthenon was built on top of the mountain so that the Athena can easily monitor its attack from the Greeks from far. The primary purposes of establishing the Parthenon was to use it as the temple, place of wisdom, resemble the goddess of war and art to the Athena. The view of Parthenon today shows the site standing on the earlier but unfinished temple that underwent destruction by Persian soldiers in the 480 BCE. A symbol of Athena (an Olive tree) that grew from ashes reminded the Greeks to rebuild the temple. After few decades, the Athenians decided to rebuild the temple using a grand style, not sparing any expense and it became bigger, better and well constructed. The success of the building loomed from the most elegant material used in the construction. The main architectural style designs were Doric and Ionic, but the Parthenon combined all of them. The outer facades were Doric while the back and the inner chambers were Ionic that ran across the exterior walls of the internal compartments. In its primary hall stood the 30-foot-tall ivory and gold statue of Athena. Other icons such as Athena Nike with a height of 6 inches stood covered by gold.

Cultural Implications

The corners of the building were decorated with relief carvings. In the Athens culture, the sculptures implied the mythical battle between Lapiths and Centaurs that fought against the raiding Persians who used barbaric methods of war. The Parthenon took a rectangular shape that orient itself towards the direction of the cardinal east. The prize decorations on the inner walls of the building depicted the Panathenaic procession that was part of the ceremonies celebrated in remembrance of Athena’s birthday. The activity included playing games and walking up the hills to the Acropolis where the Athenas carried a sacred rode for the goddess in the temple. Today, the art we admired changed due to the effects of war and the damages caused to it over the centuries.

Similarities between Chartres Cathedrals vs. Parthenon

To sum up, the analysis of the two arts in France and Greece gave insights on the different aspects of life in the ancient times. The Chartres Cathedral and the Parthenon in Greece are both sacred spaces used by various religious groups to fulfill their spiritual needs. To serve the purpose well, both of the buildings had a well-defined walking path and decorated walls that guided the pilgrims and the Panathenians processions during their activities. Both the building were built and later rebuilt upon the request from their controllers such as Virgin Mary and the Athena. For the Chartres Cathedrals, the pilgrims would follow the paths while praying in different relics while the Parthenon used as a treasury.


To summarize, the comparison of the two artworks reveals various vital aspects religion in the ancient period. The spaces represented the places of community worship, or personal retreat serves the purposes of observation, admiration renewal and much more. In the Cathedrals always have a particular Saint whom they worship as their God. Every time, the congregation would move from their residences to the Chartres Cathedral given praying in different relics. On the contrast, Parthenon acted as a temple and at the same time a treasury point. The interior plans gave directions to the processions of the Panatheniasn during the birthday celebrations of Athenian God. Other similarities and differences are illustrated in the above body.

Work Cited

Marien, Mary Warner. Arts & ideas. Thomson, 2005.

October 07, 2021

History Science World

Subject area:

Parthenon Cathedral Greece

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