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The Mysterious Stone Creatures Living on Buildings...

In architecture, a gargoyle or a 'grotesque', is a stone sculpture usually made of granite. They adorn many old stone buildings. Many people look at these strange and sometimes scary beasts of stone and ask themselves why the architects decided to create these statues? Was it for beauty? For mystical protection?

Find out below...

 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Oakland Cemetery – Atlanta, Georgia 

gargoyles and building sculptures
San Juan de los Reyes Monastery – Toledo, Spain 

Well, the main reason for gargoyles is actually a lot simpler. These stone beasts are actually there to prevent rainwater from running down the masonry wall and slowly erode the mortar between the stones, thereby weakening the structure. Architects used many sculptures together to create separate flows and minimize the risk that running water poses.  

gargoyles and building sculptures
Natural History Museum – London, England 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France 

The sculptures are usually built to be an elongated shape standing away from the building, so they can funnel the water as far away from the building as possible.  

gargoyles and building sculptures
Cologne Cathedral – Cologne, Germany 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Cathedral of Quito – Quito, Ecuador 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya – Barcelona, Spain 

 

 However, 'grotesque' (non gargoyle shaped) sculptures are only ornamental, and they are said to ward off bad spirits and guard the building from evil spirits. Whatever the reason, it's hard not to be affected by these bizarre creations! 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Forbidden City – Beijing, China 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Mont Saint-Michel – Normandy, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C., USA 

gargoyles and building sculptures
St. Nicholas Church – Lüneburg, Germany 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Peace Tower on Parliament Hill – Ottawa, Canada 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Marble Church, Bodelwyddan – Clwyd, Wales 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Cologne Cathedral – Cologne, Germany 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Reims Cathedral – Reims, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
University of Washington – Seattle, Washington 

gargoyles and building sculptures
University of Sydney – Sydney, Australia 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Château d’Amboise – Amboise, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Alcobaça Monastery – Alcobaça, Portugal 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C., USA 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Princeton University – New Jersey, USA 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Winchester Cathedral – Winchester, England 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Biltmore Estate – North Carolina, USA 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Nidaros Cathedral – Trondheim, Norway 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Cathedral of Santa Eulalia – Barcelona, Spain

gargoyles and building sculptures
Palma Cathedral – Palam, Mallorca, Spain 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Magdalen College – Oxford, England
 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Zagreb Cathedral – Zagreb, Croatia 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Washington National Cathedral – Washington D.C., USA 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Hospital de Sant Pau – Barcelona, Spain 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Westminster Abbey – London, England 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Château d’Amboise – Amboise, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya – Barcelona, Spain 

gargoyles and building sculptures
St Mary’s Cathedral – Edinburgh, Scotland 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Notre Dame de l’Épine – Marne, France 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Plummer Building – Rochester, Minnesota 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Cheshire, England 

gargoyles and building sculptures
Notre Dame Cathedral – Paris, France 

Submitted by: Jackie D.

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