The heyday of Gothic architecture in Europe took place between the 12th and 15th centuries. Gothic architecture replaced Romanesque architecture. Gothic cathedrals significantly exceeded the capacity of the largest Romanesque cathedrals.

The Gothic style of architecture originated in France, and then spread throughout Western Europe. The term "Gothic" appeared much later. During the Renaissance, it was called the stage of architecture development in the dark Middle Ages. In relation to the architecture of Ancient Rome, this type seemed "dark" and "barbaric".

Cathedrals built in the Romanesque style were very massive. They were based on thick load-bearing walls with narrow windows. Gothic cathedrals construction was based on skeletal structure. The supporting walls of were replaced with supporting columns with arched frames, which significantly increased the internal space of the cathedrals. The naves became high, and most of the walls in the cathedrals were replaced by windows with stained glass.

Early Gothic of the 12th century had a ogive type of buildings. They still had the features of Romanesque cathedrals. It can include the Cathedral of Our Lady in Paris, the Cathedral in the Abbey of Saint-Denis and many others. Then it was replaced by high Gothic and cathedrals of this style have been preserved in many cities of Europe.