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Gargoyle

medieval gargoyles buildings

Gargoyle, decorative waterspout on a building, used to throw rainwater clear of the walls. Though sometimes of plain geometric form, in medieval buildings of the 13th–16th centuries gargoyles were fanciful or grotesque images of demons or animals, with the water pouring out of the open mouths. Although gargoyles are to be found on many ancient buildings, including the Parthenon in Athens, they are mostly associated with medieval structures such as the cathedrals of Milan, Italy, and Notre Dame in Paris.

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