Tented roof

Tented roof

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A tented roof is a type of roof
Roof
A roof is the covering on the uppermost part of a building. A roof protects the building and its contents from the effects of weather. Structures that require roofs range from a letter box to a cathedral or stadium, dwellings being the most numerous....

 widely used in 16th and 17th century Russian architecture
Russian architecture
Russian architecture follows a tradition whose roots were established in the Eastern Slavic state of Kievan Rus'. After the fall of Kiev, Russian architectural history continued in the principalities of Vladimir-Suzdal, Novgorod, the succeeding states of the Tsardom of Russia, the Russian Empire,...

 for churches. It is like a polygonal spire
Spire
A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, particularly a church tower. Etymologically, the word is derived from the Old English word spir, meaning a sprout, shoot, or stalk of grass....

 but differs in purpose in that it is typically used to roof the main internal space of a church, rather than an auxiliary structure. The same architectural form is also applied to belltowers.

It is either:
  • a polygonal roof made of wood, where wood logs are laid both parallel to the sides of the roof, and across the corners to form squinch
    Squinch
    A squinch in architecture is a construction filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome...

    es, which makes the roof high and rather pointed.
  • a roof of similar shape (thin, pointed, nearly conical), made of brick
    Brick
    A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

     or stone
    Rock (geology)
    In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

    . The lower sections of such a roof are usually constructed of a series of roofed small dormers with gables of semi-circular or onion shape.


These types of churches are typically Russian and are never found in other Eastern Orthodox countries. Some scholars, however, argue that tented roofs have much in common with European Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 spire
Spire
A spire is a tapering conical or pyramidal structure on the top of a building, particularly a church tower. Etymologically, the word is derived from the Old English word spir, meaning a sprout, shoot, or stalk of grass....

s, and even tend to call this style 'Russian Gothic'.

Tented roofs are thought to have originated in the Russian North, as they prevented snow from piling up on wooden buildings during long winters. In wooden churches (even modern ones) this type of roof is still very popular. The earliest specimen of such a church was recently transported to an abbey in Vologda
Vologda
Vologda is a city and the administrative, cultural, and scientific center of Vologda Oblast, Russia, located on the Vologda River. The city is a major transport knot of the Northwest of Russia. Vologda is among the Russian cities possessing an especially valuable historical heritage...

. Another notable example is an 18th century church in Kondopoga
Kondopoga
Kondopoga is a town and the administrative center of Kondopozhsky District of the Republic of Karelia, Russia, situated on the coast of the Kondopozhskaya Gulf of Lake Onega, near the mouth of the Suna River and Kivach Nature Reserve, about from Petrozavodsk...

, Karelia
Republic of Karelia
The Republic of Karelia is a federal subject of Russia .-Geography:The republic is located in the northwestern part of Russia, taking intervening position between the basins of White and Baltic seas...

).

The Ascension church of Kolomenskoye
Kolomenskoye
Kolomenskoye is a former royal estate situated several kilometers to the south-east of the city-centre of Moscow, Russia, on the ancient road leading to the town of Kolomna...

, built in 1532 to commemorate the birth of the first Russian Tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Ivan IV, often is considered the first tented roof church. However, the recent studies show that the earliest use of the stone tented roof was in the Trinity Church in Alexandrov, built in 1510s.

Tented roof design was prone to most unusual interpretations. Some scholars, for example, view hipped roofs of this variety as phallic symbols. It's more likely, however, that this type of design symbolised high ambitions of the nascent Russian state and liberation of the Russian art from Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 canons after Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

's fall to the Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

.

Tented churches were exceedingly popular during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. Two prime examples dating from his reign employ several tents of exotic shapes and colours arranged in a complicated design. These are the Church of St. John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

 in Kolomenskoye (1547) and Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil's Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Protection of Most Holy Theotokos on the Moat , popularly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral , is a Russian Orthodox church erected on the Red Square in Moscow in 1555–61. Built on the order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate the capture of Kazan and Astrakhan, it marks the...

 on the Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...

 (1561). The latter church unites nine hipped roofs in a striking circular composition.

In the seventeenth century tented roofs were placed in a row, sometimes producing astonishing decorative effects. The first instance of this type is the Marvellous Church in Uglich
Uglich
Uglich is a historic town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, which stands on the Volga River. Population: A local tradition dates the town's origins to 937. It was first documented in 1148 as Ugliche Pole...

, whose three graceful tents remind one of three burning candles. They also became a typical architectural solution for church belltowers. In the Nativity church at Putinki
Nativity Church at Putinki
The Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos at Putinki is one of the most picturesque churches in Moscow and the last major tent-like church in the history of Russian architecture...

 (Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

) this trend was pushed to its limit, as there are five major and three minor tents used in the construction.

It is said that Patriarch Nikon
Patriarch Nikon
Nikon , born Nikita Minin , was the seventh patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church...

, who often passed near Putinki church on his way to the Trinity
Troitse-Sergiyeva Lavra
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. The monastery is situated in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow by the road leading to Yaroslavl, and currently is home to...

, considered the monument to be in violation of canonical rules of Byzantine architecture and proscribed building tented churches altogether. During his time at office, many beautiful tented churches were demolished, notably the ones in Staritsa
Staritsa
Staritsa is a town and the administrative center of Staritsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the Volga River, from Tver. Population: -History:...

 and the Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin
The Moscow Kremlin , sometimes referred to as simply The Kremlin, is a historic fortified complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River , Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square and the Alexander Garden...

. Only in the late 19th century was the ban lifted, and the tented roof design was revived in such remarkable monuments as the Church of the Savior on Blood
Church of the Savior on Blood
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood Khram Spasa na Krovi is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg, Russia. It is also variously called the Church on Spilt Blood and the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ , its official name....

 in St. Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 and St. Peter and Paul's Cathedral in Peterhof.