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Do you just call them arched holes? I doubt that's the word we use, but I have no idea what we call them. I am referring to the 4 large elongated holes in front of the cathedral on the upper part.

  • 1
    Are they windows? May 23 at 12:59
  • I don't think they're windows, but I might be wrong. I assumed the black part wasn't made of glass.
    – Sayaman
    May 23 at 13:33
  • They are pointed arches. These are the most fundamental element of the Gothic style of architecture. May 23 at 13:34

I would call them apertures in the shape of pointed arches. The picture is of the North and South bell towers of the Notre Dame de Paris. The pointed arch is the most fundamental feature of the Gothic style of architecture. These apertures did not contain glass windows, but had slate louvres allowing the sound of the bells to emerge and be heard across Paris.

  • My point is that these apertures are not 'windows' (holes to let light in) but rather holes to let sound out. May 23 at 16:08
  • Sound waves can travel through a variety of mediums, but the most common one we humans use on Earth is air, which outside is often moving as wind, what belfry tower builders relied on and so didn't impede with sound insulating glass. It's pure sophistry to try to split the hair of "wind" and "air" in regard to centuries old nomenclature of an outside belfry from a time when "wind" and "air" were even more synonymous than they are now, especially since the links I provided to your comments on my answer show that they are called "windows," specifically "belfry windows" or "bell tower windows." May 23 at 20:28

Churches and cathedrals have many distinctive architectural features, and distinctive names for those features. The Simple English Wikipedia has a list of those terms, which says that the windows you describe are called lancet windows.

For more detailed information see the Wikipedia article on church architecture.


gothic arch belfry window

What's pictured there are the windows on the belfry of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The arch itself is called a "gothic arch," which is characterized by its point (also called a pointed arch or ogival arch), as opposed to a Roman arch, which is a round semicircle without a point; a Moorish arch (also called a horseshoe arch or keyhole arch), which is characterized by it being greater than a semicircle and so constricting at the base above the supporting columns; or an Arabic arch, which is like a Moorish arch, except that it comes to a point at the top.

The Arabic arch, with its point, was the inspiration for the gothic arch, with its point, architects in Roman Catholic Christendom previously believing that any shape other than the Roman arch's semicircle would be too inherently weak to bear the tremendous weight of the stone structure above and channel it into the columns on either side. Arabic architecture seen in Spain and in the Crusades in the Holy Land proved that wasn't the case, thus the influence of Arabic architecture began a paradigm shift in Roman Catholic Christian architecture, its new pointed arch's popularity surpassing the semicircle Roman arch in Roman Catholic Christian architecture being what marks the transition from the Romanesque period to the gothic period.


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