Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ABC Wednesday: "A" is for Arch

For the first ABC Wednesday of round 3 I choose "A" for Arch.

An arch is a structure capable of spanning a space while supporting significant weight (e.g. a doorway in a stone wall). True arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and in Persian ziggurats (see Chogha Zanbil). True arches were also built by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC (see Ishtar Gate ). The arch then spread to Europe and was adopted by the Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, and Ancient Romans. The arch became an important technique in medieval European cathedral building as well as Islamic architecture. Across the ocean in Mexico and Central America, Mesoamerican civilizations created various types of corbelled arches, such as with the interior tunnels in the Great Pyramid of Cholula and the many styles of corbelled arches built by the Mayan civilization. In Peru, the Inca civilization used a trapezoidal arch in their architecture. The arch is still used today in some modern structures such as bridges.

This particular arch comes from the doorway to the cathedral in downtown St. Augustine, Florida - the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. The current building was begun in 1793, but there has been a Catholic congregation in the city since the Spanish first landed in the year 1565, making it the oldest parish in the United States, as well as the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States (sorry Jamestown, you are #2 no matter what you say...)

Don't forget - new location for ABC Wednesdays at


GranmaL said...

Good and different choice. I love arches.

Lawstude said...

wise choice for ABC wednesday. you captured 'em magnificently. have a nice day alan.

Granny Smith said...

This reminds me of a course I took at Stanford University 70 years ago! irst the arch and then the dome... Your photos capture this one very well.

BTW the reason my father's name was spelled "wrong" is that it was a family surname.