When we look at a face, we can usually guess how old the person is who belongs to the face. But did you think that you can tell the age of a building by examining its windows?? "Today I’m taking you on a historical tour of the city of bari in italy", announces carmen enss and buries the 80 or so boys and girls who have come to her lecture on "windows, the eyes of houses" have come.
The cities of bari in italy and bamberg have many things in common
Bari is an italian port city. Maybe you know that the country italy looks like a boot with high heel on the map. "And bari is where the heel of the boot begins", says the scientist. As a preservationist at the university of bamberg, she researches how old buildings and entire cities can be preserved.
Bari and bamberg have been friends for a long time: "almost 800 years ago, the city of bari donated this coat to the city of bamberg." Carmen enss shows a photo in which you can see a blue coat with all over golden embroidery. "And bamberg and bari have much in common": both cities are located in the southeast, both have "BA" as license plates and both have an old town with small streets "everything is under monument protection", explains the scientist.
Bamberg has been a world heritage site for 25 years
Bamberg, for example, is celebrating this year that it has been a unesco world heritage site for 25 years. Unesco is a club to which many countries belong. Germany is also one of them. These people include very special cities, places and even food recipes in a list, which are culturally important for us humans.
Some of these unusual cities or things are endangered. This is what happened to the old town of bari: "in the 1930s, the italian government wanted to rub down a lot of old buildings and make the small streets much rougher", says enss. But preservationists and architects were able to prevent this.
Were the knights too thick?
That’s why in bari’s old town there are still a lot of old houses, which don’t look like houses at all … "These are old castles", explains the scientist. 1000 years ago, after the end of the roman empire, there was a lot of quarreling between different groups of people in bari, so they built houses that were like castles with high towers. So the inhabitants were well protected from attackers. "The richest family was always recognized by the fact that it had the coarsest tower." There were even drawbridges that could be lowered. "Today, people still live in the castles, and there are even schools", says the researcher. However, there is not enough space for a schoolyard.
School in the old castle
Many of these old castles still have very old windows at the top of the towers. They are narrow and quite high. "Why they have this shape, we researchers do not know", admits carmen enss. "No mason wrote this down at the time." Some suspect that the windows were so narrow so that enemy knights couldn’t fit through in their cavalries. "Besides, glass was invented only in the middle ages."
Only then you could close the windows when it was cold and they became coarser. "The shape of the window also tells us something about its age." Really old are windows that are round at the top. They were built in the romanesque era around 1000 years ago. "After that the windows became pointed at the top", that was in the age of gothic, that is in the middle ages.
By the way, special buildings, such as the bamberger dom, have both romanesque and gothic window shapes, because they took several hundred years to build.