A church is not only the place to go for worship for those who follow the faith or religion of Christianity, but it also represents a distinct architectural setup and features that distinguish churches across the world. There are certain features that are common church building designs. For instance, traditional churches are designed in ways that the overall structure represents the cross which is the main symbol of Christianity. The plan view of a church building would reveal that the aisle is the longest section of a cross while the junction area is where the altar area is located.
Distinguishing features of a church building
The main feature of resembling a cross in the building layout of a church might be the most significant but not the only one. Most church buildings are characterized by domes or towers. These are added so that the eye of the viewer moves heaven wards and inspires the visitors who come to a church or view it from afar. There are different layouts and styles in modern church buildings; often other buildings are converted to form church buildings and hence the architecture in modern churches tends to differ from those erected in earlier times.
Early church buildings
The earliest buildings that housed the Christian church were house churches. These were prevalent in 233 to 256 AD. There have been numerous parish churches, cathedrals that have existed from 11th to 14th century, to be found in regions of Western Europe. Cathedrals were found by the faith followings of Roman Catholic, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox and other sections of the religion and formed the seat of a bishop. As per the New Testament church, buildings were not built by early Christians. They usually gathered at the homes of people or worshiped in places like synagogues or Second Temple as was the practice of the Jewish community. A house church was the first evidence of a church while the 3rd century witnessed the building of halls that were meant for worship.
By the medieval times, the building of cathedrals started as well as parish churches. These started to appear in several parts of Western Europe. Cathedrals and parish churches were not only places of worship but also acted as meeting place or hall where banquets were organized as well as for guilds to congregate. Fairs, as well as mystery plays, were also performed in cathedrals. Churches in olden days were places to store grain and acted as thresholds.