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AD Classics: Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis / Abbot Suger

The origin of Gothic architecture, a style which defined Europe in the later Middle Ages, can be traced to a single abbey church in the northern suburbs of Paris. The Basilique royale de Saint-Denis (Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis), constructed on the site of an abbey and reliquary established in Carolingian (800-888 CE) times, was partially rebuilt under the administration of Abbot Suger in the early 12th Century; these additions—utilizing a variety of structural and stylistic techniques developed in the construction of Romanesque churches in the preceding centuries—would set medieval architecture on a new course that would carry it through the rest of the epoch.

Félix Benoist (Public Domain). ImageEngraving (1861)Rose Window. Image © Wikimedia user Diliff (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)Tomb. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)West Façade Portal Detail. Image © Wikimedia user Myrabella (licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0)+ 9