Architecture of Parliament Canada
The Nation’s Capital contains some of the most stunning architecture in the country, most notably the Parliament Buildings. These prominent structures were designed by an architect by the name of Thomas Fuller. In studying Fuller’s work and his buildings, there is a recurring theme and design style that I believe are reminiscent of another style of architecture..that of The Knights Templar.
Could there be a possible connection between the ancient and mysterious Knights Templar and our city’s most prominent buildings? Is it mere coincidence many of Ottawa’s buildings share features of those built by a medieval order of knights known as the Templars? Well with a grain of salt let’s take a look and see what we can find…
The Knights Templar
Formed in 1120, the Knights Templar were created to protect pilgrims to the Holy Land of Jerusalem. It began with nine knights, but quickly grew under the order of the King of France and the Pope of that time. They built their domed headquarters on what was supposedly the ruins of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem, forming their name the Knights of the Temple or “Knights Templar”.
Templar knights, in their distinctive white cloaks with a red cross were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades and the non-combatant Templars managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking and building fortifications and churches across the Holy Land.
When the Crusades ended and the Holy Land they were sworn to protect was lost, the Knights Templar fell under suspicion by the King and the Pope of that time, the two figures who created the order in the first place. By 1307 mistrust of the Knights grew based on the Knights odd initiation rites and “un-Christian Practices”. King Philip IV of France and Pope Clement soon had the Knights Templar arrested, tortured then burned at the stake. On Friday the 13th of October 1307, many Knights Templar were rounded up and executed by the King under orders of the Pope. This is a popular reason Friday The 13th is regarded as an “unlucky day”.
Escaping persecution, hundreds of remaining Knights Templar knew that their fate was sealed and began to pack up their hordes of treasures, including what many believe to be the Holy Grail and other religious relics and loaded them onto a fleet of ships in the Mediterranean. The Templar ships left at midnight from La Rochelle, France and reportedly headed to where they were given asylum and refuge: Scotland.
It seems Robert The Bruce of Scotland gave the Knights Templar refuge in his land, having been excommunicated by the same Pope a year before the Templars were persecuted. Unloading men, treasures, and wealth into Scotland, the Knights went into hiding, taking their secrets and their myriad of skills with them. Their advanced skills in masonry, architecture and design can be seen in various church structures throughout England and Scotland to this day.