Cupolas are a common architectural design, yet many people don’t know the history of these architectural marvels.
The first recorded use of cupolas dates back to the early 8th century when they were incorporated into most Islamic architecture, particularly mosques. They often topped minarets – a tall, slender tower attached to a mosque – and had one or more projecting balconies from which the muezzin (crier) would call the faithful to prayer.
Over time, cupolas became common fixtures on domestic dwellings in the Middle East and India. It is believed that Moors (a mixed race of Arabs and Berbers from North Africa) eventually brought cupola architecture to Spain and the rest of Europe. Cupolas also led to the “onion dome” design, as seen in St. Petersburg. In addition to being exceptionally decorative, the incline of the dome allows snow to slide off the cupolas, preventing roof cave-ins.
Once cupolas became a staple of English domestic architecture, their spread to America was inevitable. Cupolas are prominent in American architecture, particularly during the post-Revolutionary Federalist era, as seen in the design of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Around this same time, Americans who wished to distinguish themselves from their neighbors began to place cupolas on their residences and surrounding outdoor structures, such as barns and stables.
Soon people became aware of the practical benefits of cupolas: namely, that they allow light and ventilation into a structure. This lead to a rapid increase in cupola popularity, and if you travel through America – particularly New England – you will find thousands of cupolas still adorning homes, barns and other structures.
Cupolas remain a common fixture on barns and stables across the country as farmers take advantage of the ventilation they offer. When a cupola is installed above a hayloft, it helps to keep the hay from becoming damp and rotting. Likewise, cupolas keep stables properly ventilated in winter without allowing drafts, keeping the air healthy for the livestock.
Add Beauty and Style to Your Home With a Cupola
The rich history of cupolas continues to this day, with a variety of shapes and styles available to compliment any home. All of our cupolas are handmade by skilled Pennsylvania craftsmen with years of experience. Built from high-quality, durable, materials, our cupolas will add beauty to your home for years to come.
We have been dealing in cupolas for 15 years, and enjoy working with our customers to craft a custom cupola they will love. If you aren’t sure how your house or garage would look with a cupola, simply email a photo to MagicCupolas@ValleyForgeCupolas.com and we will give you a FREE custom digital quote. We’re confident that when you see how a cupola adds character to your home, you will want to purchase one!
Call us at 866-400-1776 and get your custom cupola today!