Post-Roman zones Domes were erected above concentrated buildings like as baptisteries and martyria in the early Middle Ages, as they had been since late antiquity. The twelve brackets etched onto the dome's exterior are considered to have been utilized to move the piece into position. The weight of the dome is supported by its base which is constructed under the central portion where the ribs cross.
The word "dome" comes from Latin domus, meaning "house." In architecture, a dome is a curved ceiling or roof with a center hole for ventilation or illumination. They are used instead of a flat roof in many cases because they are more flexible and can span a larger area. The word "dome" also is used for the shell of a balloon or gas cell.
Domes date back at least as far as Roman times when they were used in temples and other public structures. They were commonly used in Christian churches after the Fourth Crusade (1205) when several famous examples were built. The largest dome in the world is that of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome; it has a diameter of 42 meters or 138 feet. Other large domes from this period include those at Santa Maria di Campagna and Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. There are also some smaller domes from this time including one just outside Rouen, France that is only 12 feet in diameter.
Due to advancements in centering techniques and the use of brick ribbing, Roman domes proliferated in the 4th century. During the fourth and fifth centuries, the preferred building material progressively shifted from stone or concrete to lighter brick in thin shells. This allowed for the construction of larger buildings using the same number of bricks. The dome itself became flatter and thinner until, by the sixth century, it was possible to see straight sides on some buildings. This may have been due to increased expertise or perhaps the use of darker bricks which would have made the structure appear straighter.
From the sixth century onward, domes began to be built with ribs instead of pillars. This reduced the amount of material needed for the dome's support and also allowed more space inside the building below. By the ninth century, half-domes appeared, consisting only of the base section with its flat top half. This simplified design meant that less brick was required and could be constructed faster than a full-scale dome. Half-domes were popular in Muslim countries where they were used as worship rooms called muqarnas. These are still seen today in Iran and Turkey.
In Europe, masonry domes were replaced during the 11th century by wooden ones. This may have been done to save money or because wood is a more flexible material than brick or stone.
A hemispherical structure derived from the arch in architecture, commonly forming a ceiling or roof. Domes initially arose in the ancient Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean as solid mounds and in techniques suited exclusively to the smallest structures, such as round dwellings and graves. The first true domes were made of cloth covered with clay.
Dome buildings have been popular throughout history for religious purposes, as sanctuaries, and as marketplaces. They are used today in museums, lecture halls, auditoriums, and theaters. There are several types of dome buildings, depending on their construction: wooden, brick, concrete, steel, and glass.
Domed buildings are characterized by their simplicity of design and ease of construction. A dome can be built with few tools using only wood, brick, or stone as a base upon which to build its upcurved shell. The simplest type of dome is the barrel-vaulted dome, which consists of a circular base slab supported by columns at its corners. The space within the base slab is enclosed by a continuous curve: the dome crown. The thickness of the dome crown varies according to the desired effect but is usually about half the diameter of the base circle for a smooth surface or more than twice the diameter of the base circle for an attenuated crown.
The second most common type of dome is called a hemispherical shell.
Domes have been discovered in early Mesopotamia, which may explain the proliferation of the shape. They can be found in ancient Persian, Hellenistic, Roman, and Chinese architecture, as well as a variety of modern indigenous architectural styles. Domes were used for many reasons, but mostly to provide shade or protection from the elements.
The Dome of Heaven (or Heavenly Temple) was one of the defining features of China's imperial court from about 100 A.D. until its collapse in the late sixteenth century. The first domes were made of wood, then earthen mounds were built up around them to support more durable materials like stone. The last great dome construction project in China today is the Great Wall Museum in Beijing, which opened in 2009. It features a large museum inside a glass-domed structure that resembles a traditional Chinese gate tower.
In the Islamic world, domes appeared in Persia in the fifth century AD and later spread to Turkey, North Africa, and Spain. In Europe, churches began to be roofed with domes in the 11th century, following the revival of learning under Arab scholars who came to Europe.
The Russian church was not covered by domes until 1667, when Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich ordered the building of a new capital city for his empire on the Black Sea coast.