Gothic architecture is known for the height of its knaves, its rich ornamentation, and for its “upward thrust” pulling the eye, both upon view of the exterior and the interior, to “heaven.”
The history of many of the cathedrals is that they often replaced prior structures, being built often on the same sites, and even on the same foundations. Not only did the cathedrals oftentimes replaced prior structures that had been dedicated to Christian worship, the cathedrals, themselves, took long periods of time to build up to 500 years to build.. Many of them have, over the centuries, been renovated, redecorated, and some made to appear even more Gothic than the original structure.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_architecture for an article describing the history of the renovation of some of the cathedrals,with some excellent photographs.
NOTE: Wikipedia is a treasure house of pictures, and the substance of the written content, while providing much greater detail and footnotes which I can check if I have concerns, is also generally consonant with my accumulated knowledge of the subjects, as a music teacher, teacher of the humanities, an attorney, a person well grounded in history, and some experience through reading, teaching, discussion and performance. Moreover, it is not my purpose to critique Wikipedia. Rather, it did more than adequately meet my needs to acquaint the reader with the subject through its substance as well as its pictures (each of which I understand to be worth 1000 – or is it 10,000 words?). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest_church_naves for a comparison of the highest church naves.
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