TRANSROMANICA - The Romanesque Routes of European Heritage
Certified "Cultural Route of the Council of Europe" in 2007
Around the year 1000, artists from all over Europe were inspired by the Roman and early Christian tradition, giving birth to a unique architectural style: the Romanesque. The Romanesque style incorporated local myths and legends to reinvent old traditions, thus reflecting the specific geographic characteristics of each region of medieval Europe over a period of 300 years.
The main characteristics of Romanesque architecture are the use of round arches, thick walls with small windows, cubiform capitals and symmetrical plans, which combine to give a harmonious appearance of simplicity. Magnificent cathedrals, peaceful monasteries and beautiful churches, dating from medieval times, can all be found along the TRANSROMANICA Cultural Route. This unique association of regional styles makes it possible to experience a variety of cultures, ranging from the Byzantine to the Western styles, including the influences of French and Mudéjar architecture and those of the successive Gothic style.
Travellers taking the TRANSROMANICA route follow a trail of highly impressive Romanesque monuments, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites, located in nine countries between the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean. In addition, each TRANSROMANICA region offers unique cultural highlights, culinary treats and numerous events, set in scenic landscapes. A journey along the Romanesque Routes of European Heritage also entails walking in the footsteps of important historical figures, such as Otto the Great, Martin Luther, Matilda of Canossa, St. James of Compostela and many other emperors and spiritual leaders.
Council of Europe values
Despite the difficulties involved in travelling, medieval Europeans were extremely mobile, with thousands of travellers journeying by water and land, most of the time on foot. As a result of these movements, a common way of thinking and shared values became manifest in architecture and, specifically, in the cathedrals that were the focus of urban life. The Romanesque style thus became the first common language of the old continent. This ‘first’ Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages, incorporated values which still unite the continent today: diversity and understanding between civilisations.