The church in the Middle Ages was a place that all people, regardless of class, could belong to. As a source of unity, its influence on art and architecture was great during this time. As society drew away from the feudal system of the Romanesque period, a new spirit of human individualism began to take hold; alas, the birth of Gothic. Here, the Church became a place where humanity became more acceptable, becoming the ideal place to visualize new ideals. The beauty and elegance of Gothic architecture is depicted most in the great cathedrals of the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries--St. Denis, Notre Dame, Chartres, Salisbury, Durham, Amiens, and more. The experience of looking at one of the great gothic cathedrals is to look up towards God. Indeed, most Gothic structures emphasize the vertical, drawing one's eyes upwards toward the heavens with the awesomeness of God (Gothic Architecture, 2006).The León Cathedral is a magnificent example of the classical Gothic architecture that spread throughout Europe during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It takes the form of a Roman cross, with a nave and two aisles, as well as a transept (León Catedral, 2006). Its structure shows the influence of the cathedrals of Rheims and Amiens. The homogeneous style, purity of its lines, and the surprising dimensions of its stained glass windows set into a relatively small surface of walls, have all served to bring about its receiving the title of "the Beauty of Leon". It was commissioned by Bishop Manrique de Lara and had Maestro Enrique and Juan Perez for its architects (Archivo, 2006).Saint Patrick's Cathedral, the seat of the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, is an example of the decorated and geometric style of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture which prevailed in Europe from 1275 to 1400, and of which the Cathedrals of Rheims, Amiens, and Cologne in Europe and the naves of York Minister, Exeter, and Westminster, are among the most advanced examples. The lines of a Latin cross form the plan of St. Patrick's. It is believed to be the continued quest to combine the resources of the earth with the talents of man in order to draw the minds, hearts, and aspirations of a people to a higher level. St. Patrick's is the largest decorated gothic-style Catholic Cathedral in North America and was designed in the Gothic Revival architecture styles (St. Patrick's Cathedral, 2006).Over 700 years old, Notre Dame is a prime example of the early gothic style. Construction began during the reign of Louis VII. Notre Dame is famous for its vastly enlarged windows, stained glass, ornately crafted spires, and most importantly, its gargoyles. This Cathedral was built to reflect the capitals newly won prestige at a time when Paris was coming into its own as a political power. The majority of the material used in Notre Dame was taken from nearby quarries. An important innovation of Notre Dame was the combination of triangular ribs with subtle transverse arches. This resulted in a wider interior of the Cathedral without the interruption of the surrounding area (Cedron, 2004).Lasting only about four centuries, the Gothic Era of architecture was of enormous importance during the middle ages. It set itself aside from other time periods through various aspects. Gothic architecture has continued to influence modern day architects and builders, and the style and connotation of the Gothic is definitely one that continues to appeal to the modern day populace. The 18th century experienced a revival of Gothic with the Neo-Gothic movement. The beautiful, spiritual, historical and awesome intention with the Gothic architecture and style is one that is timeless and will continue to capture the imaginations and respect of all peoples.