The Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic or Neo-Gothic) is an architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England. Its popularity grew rapidly in the early 19th century, when increasingly serious and learned admirers of neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, in contrast to the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time.
In England, the centre of this revival, it was intertwined with deeply philosophical movements associated with a re-awakening of High Church or Anglo-Catholic self-belief (and by the Catholic convert Augustus Welby Pugin) concerned by the growth of religious nonconformism. Ultimately, the style became widespread for its intrinsic appeal in the third quarter of the 19th century.
In parallel to the ascendancy of neo-Gothic styles in 19th-century England, interest spread rapidly to the continent of Europe, in Australia, South Africa and to the Americas; indeed the number of Gothic Revival and Carpenter Gothic structures built in the 19th and 20th centuries may exceed the number of authentic Gothic structures that had been built previously.
The Gothic Revival was paralleled and supported by medievalism, which had its roots in antiquarian concerns with survivals and curiosities. As industrialisation progressed, a reaction against machine production and the appearance of factories also grew. Proponents of the picturesque such as Thomas Carlyle and Augustus Pugin took a critical view of industrial society and portrayed pre-industrial medieval society as a golden age. To Pugin, Gothic architecture was infused with the Christian values that had been supplanted by classicism and were being destroyed by industrialisation.
Luján is a city in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina, located 68 kilometres north west of the city of Buenos Aires. The city was founded in 1755 and has a population of 67,266 (per the 2001 census [INDEC]).
Luján is best known for its large neo-gothic Basilica, built in honor of the Virgin of Luján, the patron saint of Argentina. Every year, more than six million people make pilgrimages to the Basilica, many walking there from Buenos Aires. The city is known as La Capital de la Fe (Capital of the Faith). It is popular day-trip for non-believers too, with abundant grill restaurants (like most places in Argentina) and souvenir shops with kitsch religious memorabilia.
The church was designed by the French architect Ulderico Courtois and started in 1889, completed by 1937. Its towers stand 106m high and it has a copper roof and bronze doors. The huge church towers over the surrounding flat country and houses the tiny 38 cm high statue of the Virgin. A large and important organ by French builder Cavaille-Coll stands in the gallery in a state of deterioration, although efforts are underway to see to its restoration.
Luján is also home to the Enrique Udaondo museum complex, housing exhibitions of colonial life in the house of the Viceroy and old town hall, with art, uniforms, silverware and transport with many antique vehicles including Plus Ultra the first hydroplane to cross from Europe to Argentina and La Porteña, Argentina's first steam locomotive operated by Ferrocarril Oeste. Also on display are the prison cells where Colonel William Carr Beresford, commander of the 1806 British invading forces, and General Cornelio Saavedra, president of the first national government (Primera Junta) in 1810, were held.