There are three styles of architecture chiefly associated with churches in Europe: Romanesque, which began in 800 AD, Gothic, which began in 1136 AD with the construction of Notre-Dame de Paris and Baroque, which began in1700 AD. The Romanesque style is chiefly influenced by the need to make maximum use of available floor space, with wide naves (central aisles) and simplified floor plans. Gothic churches are designed to saturate the internal area with light, with tall windows and large westward facing facades being common. Lastly, Baroque is a very dynamic style, with many elements comprising the decoration.
Romanesque churches are short and squat, and generally have thick walls with small windows, wide naves and large circular apses. Apses are the large spaces to the rear of a church behind the altar. Gothic churches have tall westward facades with large windows and plenty of exterior decoration and, being taller then earlier Romanesque churches, typically utilize flying buttreses to support their upper stories. Flying buttresses prevent exterior walls from collapsing outward and are differentiated from regular buttresses by being freestanding structures. Finally, Baroque churches have very dynamic interiors with large statues displaying a wide range of emotions and poses and ornate ceilings being common, with exteriors that blend a variety of different elements together.