Gothic architecture is unique and original compared to other periods and gothic cathedrals are probably the most remarkable manifestation of the gothic art. In fact, the gothic architecture is the architecture of the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church dominated in all spheres of life of Europeans, including politics, culture, and art. In this respect, three gothic cathedrals, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Canterbury Cathedral, and the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Exeter, are particularly noteworthy because each of the cathedrals incorporates its own specific features and preserves traditional gothic features.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of the most renowned samples of the gothic architecture. The cathedral’s façade (see http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Notre_Dame_Cathedral.html) represents a typically gothic approach to architecture. The typical characteristics of the gothic style are the presence of high towers, relatively narrow but high windows and numerous arches. In fact, these gothic elements can be traced in all three gothic cathedrals mentioned above. However, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has two high towers on both sides of the façade which surround the main entrance to the cathedral. Obviously, these towers were constructed to show the power of the Catholic church because they produce a profound impression on the public, especially when people see the cathedral for the first time. The interior of the cathedral is also impressing (see http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Notre_Dame_Cathedral.html). The ceiling of the cathedral is extremely high and it was supposed to evoke the admiration and sacred respect of believers to the power of the Catholic Church which possessed such a huge cathedral. The decorations of the cathedral may look a bit scaring but they contrast to the interior beauty and the implicit power of the Holy Spirit which is supposed to be present within the cathedral.
Canterbury Cathedral is another sample of the gothic style in architecture. Similarly to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Canterbury Cathedral has high towers which are located on the sides of the cathedral (see http://www.racine.ra.it/ungaretti/gothic/canterbury_cathedral.htm). However, unlike the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the towers of Canterbury Cathedral are not located so close to each other and the space between them is larger compared to Notre Dame Cathedral. At the same time the interior of Canterbury Cathedral proves to be less decorated and the ceiling is consistently lower compared to Notre Dame Cathedral (see http://www.racine.ra.it/ungaretti/gothic/canterbury_cathedral.htm). Nevertheless, the high and narrow arches and windows are still present along with sharp tops of towers, which are the characteristics of the gothic style.
Finally, the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Exeter is one more cathedral executed in the gothic style. Similarly to the two previous cathedrals, this cathedral has two high towers located on both sides of the cathedral. At the same time, unlike other cathedrals, the Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Exeter has the façade which is separated from towers and represents one solid, balanced construction, whereas towers are located further at the middle of the cathedral (see http://www.racine.ra.it/ungaretti/gothic/exeter.htm). The Cathedral Church of St. Peter in Exeter preserves traditional gothic elements such as towers, narrow and high windows and arches.
Thus, the three cathedrals discussed above represent perfect samples of the gothic style. They have typical gothic features and, simultaneously, they differ from each other that make them unique. At the same time, all of the three cathedrals were constructed to impress the public and to demonstrate the power of the Catholic Church.