As the article mentions, this was a time of tremendous change for the world as a whole. Western civilization basically had to rebuild itself after the fall of Rome, Europe really took shape and London and Paris both came into their own as world cities during this time.
I've always thought the medieval period was a fascinating time to study. I'm kind of a student of English history, and the political maneuverings in England during this time were some of the most elaborate of any time in the country's history. Plus, it's always interesting to see how ordinary people lived during a particular period.