What Is the Arcade in Ottonian Architecture?

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what is the arcade in ottonian architecture

What Is the Arcade in Ottonian Architecture? And the answer is here. The Ottonian architecture was a style of architecture that prevailed in the Holy Roman Empire during its heyday of the 10th and 11th centuries. It incorporates round arches, vaults, and thick walls as some of the Romanesque features. The arcade is among the most unique characteristics of Ottonian architecture.

What is an Arcade?

Arcade is a line of arches, which are sustained by columns or piers. They appear in various Ottonian buildings, like churches, palaces, and cloisters. The open spaces were both functional and aesthetically appealing.

Functional Use of Ottonian Arcades: 

Indeed, Ottonian architecture was a variety of uses for arcades. Aisles, which were separate from the nave, used to be created in churches. This made the movement of clergy and laity in the church possible. 

Arcades were also used in the creation of cloisters, which were enclosed courtyards that were used for study and prayer.

Arcades were frequently used to create covered walks between different parts of the palaces. They were also built to construct porches and balconies.

Ottonian Architecture: Aesthetic Uses of Arcades.

Arcades were not just functional but beautiful as well. They brought the notion of rhythm and proportion into Ottonian buildings. They also contributed to creating an atmosphere of lightness and airiness.

Ottonian architecture Arcades

Ottonian architecture used several types of arcades. Some of the most common types include:

  1. Blind arcades: These are arches and have nothing to do with an open outside. They served as a decorative effect.
  1. Open arcades: These arcades open onto the outside. It is because they were used to build covered walkways or porches.
  1. Arcades with alternating piers and columns: This is what is known as a pier and column supported arch arcade. It is common characteristic of Ottonian architecture.
  1. Arcades with multiple arches: Some Ottonian arcades have more than one arch per bay. Ottonian churches have this as a common feature.

Ottonian Architecture and examples of Arcades.

Some of the most famous examples of arcades in Ottonian architecture include:

  • The arcades of St. Michael’s Church in Hildesheim, Germany
  • The arcades of the St. Cyriakus Church in Gernrode, Germany
  • The cloister of the Abbey of Cluny, France


Ottonian architecture is characterized by arcades. There were many functions in which these objects were used, for example, decorative or for purposes of functionality. Some of the magnificent structures characteristic of the Ottonian period were made possible thanks to Arcades. For more, Keep following Write for Us Architecture.

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