Medieval Towers

Even today, towers and high buildings are a symbol of urbanity. Already in the time after the year 1200 AD, towers reached heights over 100 m, culminating in the 15th century with the highest towers including stone helmets in Freiburg/Bg. (125 m), Vienna (137 m) or Straßburg (142 m). They were built for civic and episcopal representation. Their heights and architectural ornaments exceeded by far merely the function to carry bells. Yet compared to a dozen towers that reached heights over 100 m, thousands remained unfinished due to a lack of resources. This project aims to analyse the financing of such enormous plans, the social interaction and the different social urban strata that contributed to the phenomenon. A first survey will examine a variety of written documents for the construction of the Cathedral of Straßburg. Costs for material and workers were documented on a weekly basis and can still be found in the archives of the fabrica ecclesiae, the Frauenwerk/ Œuvre Notre-Dame.

Urban ROOTSThe tower of Straßburg Cathedral was at times the highest building of mankind. This is represented in the woodcut by Hartmann Schedel: Weltchronik (Nürnberg 1493), fol. cxxxix verso (source: public domain).

Project by Gerald Schwedler





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