What Are Gargoyles

Gargoyles are part of the marketing campaign by the Christian religion to convert new christians. When the churches with gargoyles on were built, a lot of people believed in ghosts, evil spirits and the like. Furthermore, most people couldn't read or write. How could the church reach all these people and make them believers?

Gargoyle on Notre Dame in Paris, France

The church decided to use symbols and symbolism - cartoon characters. Churches were frequently the first buildings in an area built of stone and brick rather than wood or dirt, making them good places to fortify and be protected from attackers. Churches were considered sanctuaries even by robbers and killers, inside a church you were safe from many of the problems of the outside world. Spiritually, evil spirits and all the bad things that might be out to get you in the outside world would never enter a church, because it is God's house and God is keeping them out - they are too scared to enter.

Gargoyle on The Nidaros Dome in Trondheim, Norway

Gargoyles are church advertizing signs, cartoons, telling people who can't read that this is the kind of bad spirits and monsters you may run into when you're outside the church, whereas you're safe and with less worries when you're inside the church, both literally and figuratively. When you're a believer, you're protected from bad things that might be out to get you, but as a believer you're inside, out of reach of the evil on the outside. On the Nidaros Dome in Trondheim, Norway, the theme is expanded to how it could look if the outside bad spirits get to you if you're a heathen.

Gargoyle on Stephansdom in Vienna, Austria

The church builders did not stick to the scary theme all the time, but could get creative with the concept of different even funny ways to have water spout from a figure. On the Stephansdom in Vienna there is a cow spouting water from its mouth and a man with a pot on his shoulder from which the rain water exits.


European Gargoyles


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