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Middle Ages
Building a Cathedral



Building a Cathedral
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.7

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    clerestory, long-range, quarrying, stonecutters, stonemasons, template, transept, medieval, clergy, provided, cross-section, keystone, spires, cathedral, nave, foundation
     content words:    Middle Ages


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Building a Cathedral
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Building a cathedral took a long time. How long? Well, let me put it this way. If you were hired to work on a cathedral, you would have a job for the rest of your life. Not only that, when you were finally ready to retire, your son would have a job. And not only that, when he was ready to retire, his son would have a job, too!
 
2     Building a beautiful medieval stone cathedral with its arches, flying buttresses, and gargoyles took about one hundred years. When the people of a medieval town decided to build a cathedral, they knew that they were taking on a long-range project, but they also knew that they were building something that would last for ages.
 
3     There was plenty to do even before the first stone of the cathedral was laid. First, a good source for quarrying the stone had to be found. The closer the new cathedral would be to this source, the easier the job would be, because transporting heavy stone was a difficult task in the Middle Ages. If it had to be transported a long distance, the best choice was by boat. This was often possible, since many towns were located by a river. Even so, transportation was a big part of the project.
 
4     The stone work would begin at the quarry. There, stonecutters would cut large, rectangular pieces of stone. These roughly cut blocks would then be transported to the cathedral site.

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