A rotunda (from Latin rotundus) is any building with a circular ground plan, and sometimes covered by a dome. It may also refer to a round room within a building (a famous example being the one below the dome of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.). The Pantheon in Rome is a famous rotunda. A band rotunda is a circular bandstand, usually with a dome.
A great number of parochial churches were built in this form in the 9th to 11th centuries CE in Central Europe. These round churches can be found in great number in Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia (particularly Dalmatia) Austria, Bavaria, Germany, and the Czech Republic. It was thought of as a structure descending from the Roman Pantheon. However, it can be found mainly not on former Roman territories, but in Central Europe. Generally its size was 6–9 meters inner diameter and the apse was directed toward the east. Sometimes three or four apses were attached to the central circle and this type has relatives even in the Caucasus.
Several types of rotundas are found in the Carpathian Basin, within the former boundaries of Kingdom of Hungary. Building of rotundas in Carpathian basin started already in 9th century in Great Moravia. According to the research and radiocarbon dating of plaster, Rotunda of st. George in Nitrianska Blatnica was built sometimes around the year 830, what makes it one of the oldest still standing buildings in the area of Central Europe.Similar rotunda was standing in hillfort Kostolec in Ducové (only foundations remained). The role and form of rotundas developed from gradual enlargements of ancient small village churches. Many of them still stand today, e.g. in Nagytótlak, Kallósd and Kissikátor in Hungary or in Bíňa and Šivetice in Slovakia. Rotunda in Šivetice is the biggest one in Central Europe, with diameter of 11 m. In many places the ancient foundations have been excavated and conserved. The village church of Sárospatak is complete with a simple circular nave and an eastern apse. The church of Alagimajor at Dunakeszi was enlarged toward the apse in the 14th century. More significant enlargement of the central rotunda is seen at Isaszeg where the extension extended toward the East and West; the rotunda foundations can also be seen in the central portion of the nave of the Gothic church. In many cases the rotunda was used as the apse of the village's new and larger church (Bagod-Szentpál, Hidegség, Vágkeresztur, Ipolykiskeszi, Herencsény, Szalonna). Such semi-circle apses are preserved all over the Carpathian Basin. Rotundas of six apses, a most interesting form, are found at Karcsa, Kiszombor in Hungary, at Horjany in Ukraine and several places in Armenia (Aragatz, Bagaran, Bagnayr, Botshor, Kiagmis Alti).
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There is an interesting connection between Central European and Caucasian rotundas of the 9th to 11th centuries AD. Several Armenian built rotunda churches have sixfold arched central apsis, i.e. at Aragatz, Bagaran, Bagnayr, Botshor, Kiagmis Alti in Armenia. At the same time eightfold arched central buildings (rotunda) are also frequently occurring in Armenia: Ani, Irind, Varzhahan. It was a suggestion (Csemegi J.) that there was not only western European but Eastern Caucasian relation for architects of Hungary in this age of King Stephen I of Hungary.
Good example of Georgian rotunda church is Bana cathedral which is now located on territory of Turkey.
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The architecture of cathedrals and great churches is characterised by the buildings' large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that derive ultimately from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in Late Antiquity during the Christianization of the Roman Empire.
Great Moravia, or simply Moravia, was the first major state that was predominantly West Slavic to emerge in the area of Central Europe, possibly including territories which are today part of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Poland, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. The only formation preceding it in these territories was Samo's tribal union known from between 631 and 658 AD.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple and, since 609 AD, a Catholic church in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus. It was rebuilt by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated c. 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa's older temple, which had burned down.
Villa La Rotonda is a Renaissance villa just outside Vicenza in northern Italy designed by Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The villa's correct name is Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana, but it is also known as "La Rotonda", "Villa Rotonda", "Villa Capra", and "Villa Almerico Capra". The name Capra derives from the Capra brothers, who completed the building after it was ceded to them in 1592. Along with other works by Palladio, the building is conserved as part of the World Heritage Site "City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto".
Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in the city of Vagharshapat (Ejmiatsin), Armenia. According to most scholars it was the first cathedral built in ancient Armenia, and is often considered the oldest cathedral in the world.
The Church of Saint George is a Late Antique red brick rotunda in Sofia, Bulgaria. Built in the early 4th century as Roman baths, it became a church inside the walls of Serdica, capital of ancient Dacia Mediterranea during the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. The Early Christian church is considered the oldest building in modern Sofia and belongs to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
Križovany nad Dudváhom is a village and municipality of Trnava District in the Trnava region of Slovakia.
Šivetice is a village and municipality in Revúca District in the Banská Bystrica Region of Slovakia.
Nitrianska Blatnica is a municipality with 1,192 inhabitants in the Topoľčany District of the Nitra Region, Slovakia. In the hills above the village is a church of Saint George /rotunda svätého Juraja/, from 9th and 10th century, one of the oldest remaining church buildings in Slovakia.
Saint Hripsime Church is a seventh century Armenian Apostolic church in the city of Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia. It is one of the oldest surviving churches in the country. The church was erected by Catholicos Komitas to replace the original mausoleum built by Catholicos Sahak the Great in 395 AD that contained the remains of the martyred Saint Hripsime to whom the church is dedicated. The current structure was completed in 618 AD. It is known for its fine Armenian-style architecture of the classical period, which has influenced many other Armenian churches since. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with other nearby churches, including Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia's mother church, in 2000.
A round church is a church construction with a completely circular plan. There are many Nordic round churches in Sweden and Denmark ; round churches were popular in Scandinavia in the 11th and early 12th centuries.
The Rotonda di San Tomè is a church in the comune (municipality) of Almenno San Bartolomeo, in the province of Bergamo, Lombardy, Northern Italy.
Hungarian art stems from the period of the conquest of the Carpathian basin by the people of Árpád in the 9th century. Prince Árpád also organized earlier people settled in the area.
Østerlars Church is a historic building located just north of the village of Østerlars, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south of Gudhjem on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. It is the largest and, possibly, the oldest of the island's four round churches.
Saint James's Chapel is a ruined gothic chapel and surviving ossuary discovered underneath Námeste SNP in the center of Bratislava, Slovakia, in 1994. It is the oldest sacral medieval structure and the only ossuary in Bratislava.
Bagaran is a village in the Armavir Province of Armenia near the Armenia–Turkey border. Its name is derived from the nearby ancient Armenian city of Bagaran which was a large city and fortress that straddled both banks of the Akhurian River, and served as a former capital of medieval Armenia. A small Kurdish-populated village called Kılıttaşı now partially lies on the Turkish side of the closed border.
Domes were a characteristic element of the architecture of Ancient Rome and of its medieval continuation, the Byzantine Empire. They had widespread influence on contemporary and later styles, from Russian and Ottoman architecture to the Italian Renaissance and modern revivals. The domes were customarily hemispherical, although octagonal and segmented shapes are also known, and they developed in form, use, and structure over the centuries. Early examples rested directly on the rotunda walls of round rooms and featured a central oculus for ventilation and light. Pendentives became common in the Byzantine period, provided support for domes over square spaces.
Alexander Ruttkay is a Hungarian archeologist and historian. The head of the Archeological Institute of Slovak Academy of Science in Nitra in 1991-2008.
Catholic church designed by Jože Plečnik located in Bregalnička 14, Zvezdara.