What is the Neo Byzantine architecture style?
The Byzantine Revival or Neo Byzantine architecture movement was most widely used in religious, educational, and public buildings as an architectural revival movement. Such Byzantine Revival architecture originated in Western Europe in the 1840s, and culminated in the Russian Empire in the last quarter of the 19th century. Neo Byzantine architecture or the Byzantine Revival architecture combines elements of Byzantine style associated with Christian Eastern and Orthodox architecture dating from the 5th to 11th centuries, especially those of Constantinople and the Ravenna Exarchate. Round arches, vaults and domes, brick and stucco surfaces, symbolic ornamentation and the use of decorative mosaics are typical of the Neo-Byzantine architecture characteristics.
How best to understand the Neo Byzantine architecture style?
The Neo-Byzantine architecture characteristics can be best illustrated through the marvelous design of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This church can accommodate about ten thousand people, and is one of the world’s largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals. Looking up at the cathedral, you’ll see numerous arches, winter-green and golden domes, decorated doors, carvings of stone, murals, and mosaics.
This magnificent building is seen towering at 148 feet, and the bell tower of the church houses 12 bells, weighing a total of 23 tons. These bells can be heard from a distance of almost 10 miles. Within this spectacle of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, you can marvel at the royal thrones, grandiose pulpit, and Tsar Ferdinand and Queen Eleanor’s mosaic mural, all encompassed in a dazzling, cavernous space.
The construction of this cathedral began in 1882, but was not completed until 1912. It was sanctified in 1924. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was established to commemorate those who laid down their lives during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, which liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. Named after the Russian prince, Saint Alexander Nevsky (1221–1263), this church is indeed a sight to behold!