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Westwork

Westwork of the Corvey Abbey Westwork of Essen Cathedral Jumièges Abbey, a typical Norman abbey of the Romanesque period. Normandy, France.
   
Imperial Cathedral, Speyer, c. 1030-1060 West front, with westwork, photo 1996, Meredith Clausen, U. Washington.    
     
A westwork (also westwerk) is the monumental, west-facing entrance section of a Carolingian, Ottonian, or Romanesque church. The exterior consists of multiple stories between two towers. The interior includes an entrance vestibule, a chapel, and a series of galleries overlooking the nave. This was used to show imperial rule and the interiors are thought to be influenced by many cultures, including China.

The technique of the westwork first originated in the ancient churches of Syria although some early examples were in Spanish buildings as well.

The westwork of the Corvey Abbey (873-885), Germany, is the oldest conserved exemplar. The frescoe (original of the 9th. century) inside the westwerk shows scenes of the Odyssey. In the westwerk lived the King, later the Emperor and his companions during their rule travels around the country.