Early Christian architecture defines most European structures built between 350 and 525 A.D. However some historians believe that construction of early Christian churches began even before 100 A.D. These churches established new architectural norms, construction features, used different types of facade treatments, and incorporated new materials. As such, early Christian architecture provided benefits not only for religious architecture, but also for the secular. On today’s list, we are going to show you some of the earliest and most dynamic early Christian designs. These are 25 incredible examples of early Christian architecture.
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Basilica di San Marco. Italy, Rome. 336 A.D.
Not to be confused with St. Mark’s cathedral in Venice, Basilica di San Marco is a minor basilica in Rome and was built for St. Mark the Evangelist whose remains are situated under its main altar. Its raised sanctuary demonstrates its ancient basilica format and its interior shows elements of early Christian architecture because of its wooden ceiling and apse mosaics.
Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare en Classe. Ravenna, Italy. 538 A.D.
Widely regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of the earliest Christian basilicas, the Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare en Classe is famous for the simplicity and purity of its design. It features a nave and just two aisles.
Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare Nuovo. Ravenna, Italy. 504 A.D.
Erected by Ostrogoth King Theodoric the Great, this basilica was dedicated in the 5th century to ‘Christ the Redeemer.’ The apse and atrium of this structure have undergone several modernizations but the mosaics of its lateral walls and 24 columns are well preserved.
Santa Constanza. Rome, Italy. 350 A.D.
This 4th century church in Rome was built during the reign of Constantine I as a mausoleum for his daughter Constantina. It has a circular form and features an ambulatory that surrounds a central dome. The original structure had colored stone veneers on its walls. It is considered a prime example of the Early Christian architecture.
Basilica Ulpia. Rome, Italy. 98-117 A.D.
The Basilica Ulpia is an old Roman civic building that is regarded as one of the most important ancient basilicas in Rome. Unlike most Christian basilicas, it served no religious function but was dedicated to the administration of commerce and justice during ancient times. It features a great central nave that has four side aisles and clerestory windows, as well as rows of columns and semicircular apses.
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