Towers or domes are often added with the intention of directing the eye of the viewer towards the heavens and inspiring a range of thoughts and emotions in visitors and worshippers.
Modern church buildings have a variety of architectural styles and layouts; many buildings that were designed for other purposes have now been converted for church use, and, conversely, many original church buildings have been put to other uses.
The earliest identified Christian church building was a house church founded between 233 and 256.
From the 11th through the 14th centuries, a wave of building of cathedrals and smaller parish churches were erected across Western Europe.
The first pointed arches, rib vaults and buttresses began to appear, all possessing geometric properties that reduced the need for large, rigid walls to ensure structural stability.
This also permitted the size of windows to increase, producing brighter and lighter interiors.
Between 10 the romanesque style became popular across Europe.
While the term "Romanesque" refers to the tradition of Roman architecture, the trend in fact appeared throughout Western and Central Europe.
The romanesque style is defined by large and bulky edifices that are typically made up of simple, compact, sparsely decorated geometric structures.
Frequent features of the Romanesque church include circular arches, round or octagonal towers and cushion capitals on pillars.