Romanesque secular and domestic architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. The term ""Romanesque"" is usually used for the period from the 10th to the 12th century with ""Pre-Romanesque"" and ""First Romanesque"" being applied to earlier buildings with Romanesque characteristics. Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, diversified by regional materials and characteristics, but with an overall consistency that makes it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman Architecture. The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.The commonest surviving Romanesque buildings are churches, of which many are still standing, more or less intact and frequently in use. Many of these churches were built as abbeys, to serve religious communities. The living quarters and other monastic buildings of these abbeys constitute a significant part of the remaining domestic architecture of the Romanesque period.The second most common type of surviving Romanesque building is the castle, of which the great majority are in ruins, as a result of war, or the practice of dismantling castles that might later be used in uprisings. A number of ruined or much altered imperial palaces, some of them within castle walls, others unfortified, have also survived in Germany and Alsace.Examples of purely domestic architecture include the great hall of a fortified manor in England, and a small number of large town houses in France and Germany and several palazzos in Venice. A great many more small houses are spread across Europe, often greatly altered by the insertion of later windows, and sometimes with their antiquity unrecognised and unrecorded.