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Hagia Sophia's architecture still baffles people to this day (when Justinian had it constructed his instructions supposedly demanded the walls should resemble lace). Considering the fact that in 537AD most people in Europe were living in wooden shacks (hey-o, Dark Ages!), that's no small order. AND THEN THE PLAGUE HAPPENED.

The Cathedral de Chartres is possibly the craziest looking church in Europe--it looks like Two-Face, if he were a gothic cathedral. I'm not even kidding, google it. The right-hand side is more classic Roman-style, doric, plainer architecture, while the left-hand side is full-blown flying buttresses and flamboyance. Chartres is also cool because they claim to have the sacred veil Mary was wearing when she gave birth to Jesus (one of the times the building was destroyed, the priest inside emerged from the rubble three days later, unscathed, and holding the fabric in question); it's also got a very elaborate mosaic labyrinth decoration on the floor--supposedly, if you successfully walk the entire thing on your knees, while praying, you can receive absolution for any sin.

Uploaded by thesnowybiscuit at 11:13 on 25 March

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