DESIGN > PLANNING > ARCHITECTURE > BYZANTINE
c. 400-1453C.E. — Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire) — Influences: Roman and Christianity
Classical Roman techniques are evident in the Byzantine architecture—use of the arch and dome, mosaics, basic basilica form—style elements that developed during the spread of Christianity.
Byzantine Istanbul, Turkey
After the division of the Roman Empire, the Eastern Empire established its capital of Byzantium, which was renamed Constantinople in the 5th century under Roman Emperor Constantine who had converted to Christianity, and then Istanbul under the Ottomans.
Byzantine architecture evolved use of Roman elements and symbols to elevated levels of refinement. The solid Greek cross shape of equal arm lengths lent a sturdy base for the basilica to support a vast dome, connected by triangular pendentives at the corners. Gilded mosaics emphasized a sense of spiritual transcendence.