In architecture, a steeple is a tall tower on a building, topped by a spire and often incorporating a belfry and other components. Steeples are very common on Christian churches and cathedrals and the use of the term generally connotes a religious structure. They might be stand-alone structures, or incorporated into the entrance or center of the building.

Typical steeple with components

Architecture edit

The steeple of the Alexander Church in Tampere, Finland

Towers were not a part of Christian churches until about AD 600, when they were adapted from the military watchtowers (But there is still a dispute that it was adapted from the Minarets). At first they were fairly modest and entirely separate structures from churches. Over time, they were incorporated into the church building and capped with ever-more-elaborate roofs until the steeple resulted.

Towers are a common element of religious architecture worldwide and are generally viewed as attempts to reach skyward toward heavens and the divine.[1] Some wooden steeples are built with large wooden structural members arranged like tent poles and braced diagonally inside both with wood and steel. The steeple is then clad with wooden boards and finished with slate tiles nailed to the boards using copper over gaps on corners where the slate would not cover.

Threats to steeples edit

Steeples can be vulnerable to earthquakes. A number of Romanian churches feature unusually slender steeples, and over half of these have been lost to earthquakes.[2] Because of their height, steeples can also be vulnerable to lightning, which can start fires within steeples. An example of this is Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Luxemburg, Iowa, which lost its steeple in a fire believed to have been started by a lightning strike.[3] Steeples are also at the mercy of strong winds and hurricanes. For example, the Old North Church's steeple was toppled by a "great gale" in 1804, and again by Hurricane Carol in 1954.[4]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ ""Is it true that church steeples are pagan in origin?"". Archived from the original on 2006-10-11. Retrieved 2006-01-26.
  2. ^ Sofronie, R. A.; Popa, G.; Nappi, A. "Strengthening and Restoration of Eastern Churches" (PDF). UNESCO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 January 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  3. ^ Morrissey, Amber (2010-08-15). "Luxemburg church steeple burns down" (PDF). The Witness. The Archdiocese of Dubuque.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ ""Story of the Steeples"".

External links edit