Your Guide to Cupola Architecture

North Carolina is filled with numerous architectural wonders, including historic homes, lighthouses, and many others.  It also contains the perfect example of cupola architecture, a unique style that can be traced back thousands of years.  Learn all about the many characteristics of cupola architecture and discover where you can see it for yourself in this lovely Southern state.

Everything You Need to Know about Cupola Architecture

What is Cupola Architecture?

A cupola is a small, dome-shaped structure that is enclosed but has openings.  Although they are usually circular, cupolas can also be square or polygonal in shape as well.  These light structures are almost always found atop a roof or tower and are commonly used to hold a bell, clock, or provide natural light to the building below.  If they’re accessible from the inside, they’re usually called a belvedere or “widow’s walk.”

Cupola Architecture History

The origins of the cupola historic architecture can be traced back to Islamic culture in the 8th century.  From there it spread to Russia, and then to English buildings in the 17th century.  The cupola became a part of American architecture during the post-Revolutionary era.

Examples of Famous Cupola Architecture

Perhaps the most famous cupola in existence is Brunelleschi’s Dome in Florence, Italy, as it is the largest cupola in the world.  Another well-known example of fine cupola art can also be found atop the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Italy.  You can also see one at the Sacre-Coeur in Paris and also in Moscow, Russia, at the Onion Domes of St. Basil.  Our capitol building in Washington, D.C. is another example of a cupola.

Where Can I See Cupola Architecture in North Carolina?

You’ll be able to see a prime example of the cupola style in Edenton, North Carolina, at the Cupola House and the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse.  Here, you’ll be able to admire one of the finest pieces of cupola art on top of a magnificent, historic home and a beautiful structure atop the oldest continuously used courthouse in our nation.  These beautifully-preserved gems have been around since the 1700s.

Cupola House has served as the residence of a wealthy local family and their descendants throughout the years.  Today, the Cupola House and Gardens is one of the most beloved attractions in the state.  With fascinating tours and entertaining events, you’ll love visiting this home and experiencing one of the best examples of cupola historic architecture.

Come Stay with Us at Inner Banks Inn!

Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse of some of North Carolina’s gorgeous attractions, start planning your dream getaway today!  Make your trip the South the best vacation ever by booking a stay with us at Inner Banks Inn, a deluxe bed and breakfast in Edenton, one of the most charming towns in the state.  Tucked away on the banks of the peaceful Albemarle Sound, our cozy haven in North Carolina features all kinds of elegant accommodations, such as our comfortable, historic rooms, amazing amenities, and even our very own restaurant, The Table.  Spend time exploring our picturesque grounds or stroll through downtown to browse the numerous shops of downtown Edenton.  No matter what you choose to do, you’re guaranteed to love your time here.  Don’t wait another moment- check our availability and reserve your room today!

Scroll to Top