22 Of The World’s Most Remarkable Churches
When we’re talking about the most incredible buildings in the world, churches undoubtedly have a special place in our hearts, not just because of their religious significance, but also because of their remarkable architecture. Since most churches were built a long time ago, many of them feature unique designs based on baroque, gothic, renaissance or other impressive architectural styles that are meant to inspire believers while encouraging them to step inside for a prayer. If we caught your interest, then you’ll be glad to know that we compiled a list containing 22 of the most remarkable churches in the world. If you want to find out a bit about each one, all you have to do is keep on reading.
Sagrada Familia – Barcelona, Spain
Even though it is not technically complete yet, the Sagrada Famillia church in Barcelona, Spain is undoubtedly one of the most incredible churches in the world, which is why it is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sketched out by Antoni Gaudí himself, the construction process of this magnificent landmark started off in 1852. In 2010, Pope Benedict consecrated the church and named it a “minor basilica” instead of a cathedral, since all cathedrals need to represent the seat of a bishop in order to gain their title.
Grundtvig’s Church – Copenhagen, Denmark
Grundtvig’s Church is definitely not your ordinary church in terms of appearance, which is probably why it became so famous in the first place. Located within the Bispebjerg district of Copenhagen, this outstanding landmark was designed by Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint and was completed in 1940. The church boasts 1440 seats and measures 160 feet in height, while its exterior design was created following the principles of Expressionism.
The Felsenkirche (Church of the Rock) – Idar-Oberstein, Germany
This beautiful church overlooks the dwellings of Oberstein in Germany, but aside from its incredible architecture, what makes it truly stand out is the fact that it was actually built within a niche in a mountain. This means that the church can only be accessed via a special tunnel that was dug into the rocks for this very purpose. One of the main highlights of the Felsenkirche is a superb medieval winged altar that was made somewhere around 1400 by an unknown artist.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral – Moscow, Russia
As one of the most prominent symbols of Moscow and of Russia, Saint Basil’s Cathedral can be found within Moscow’s Red Square. The building presently operates as a museum and is known as the “Cathedral of the Intercession of the Blessed Virgin on the Moat”. Consecrated in 1561, the church impresses with its colorful, eye-catching exterior design and imposing size, since it flaunts a height of no less than 156 feet. Stain Basil’s Cathedral was built between 1555 and 1561 at the behest of Ivan the Terrible in order to celebrate his victories in Astrakhan and Kazan.
Notre Dame De Paris – Paris, France
Notre-Dame Cathedral is undoubtedly the most renowned church in Paris and in France. This beautiful Catholic cathedral can be found within the fourth arrondissement of France’s capital, and it is generally considered one of the most noteworthy examples of French Gothic architecture. Built between 1163 and 1345, the cathedral boasts a maximum height of 226 feet. During the most important phases of the French Revolution in the 1790s, Notre Dame was damaged extensively, but it was later restored to its initial glory in 1845 thanks to a project supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.
Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá – Cundinamarca, Colombia
This Roman Catholic church can be found underground in Cundinamarca, Colombia. More specifically, the cathedral was built within the tunnels of a salt mine that were dug at a depth of 656 feet. Its name was chosen mostly to attract tourists, but otherwise, since it actually has no bishop of its own, the Salt Cathedral is not exactly a cathedral as far as Catholicism is concerned. During Sundays, as many as 3,000 people descend to the Salt Cathedral in order to say a prayer or participate in the sacraments.
St. Peter’s Basilica – Rome, Italy
This extraordinary church can be found in Rome, Italy, more specifically within the renowned Vatican City. As one of the most exquisite examples of Renaissance architecture, St. Peter’s Basilica was designed by some of the world’s most famous architects, including Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Carlo Maderno, Donato Bramante and Michelangelo. The church plays a very important role in Christianity because it is believed that it represents the actual burial place of Saint Peter.
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery – Kiev, Ukraine
St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery can be found within Ukraine’s capital of Kiev, on the right side of the Dnieper River. This church was founded between 1108 and 1113, and it was built by Sviatopolk II Iziaslavych. Presently, the monastery comprises the main cathedral as well as a few other structures that were added over the years. These include the Economic Gates, which were built in 1760, the Refectory of St. John the Divine built in 1713 and a tower that was constructed between 1716 and 1719.
Westminster Abbey – London, England
As its name suggests, Westminster Abbey can be found within the City of Westminster in London. As one of the most important churches in the UK, this stunning Gothic landmark represents the burial and coronation site for numerous English and British monarchs. Built during the 10th century, Westminster Abbey flaunts an imposing, gorgeous exterior design that is based on Gothic architecture. The church became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Jerusalem, Israel
Located just a stone’s throw away from the famous Muristan of Jerusalem in Israel, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. What makes this particular church special is the fact that it is believed to have been built on the biblical “Golgotha” site where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, but it is also regarded as the burial place of Jesus, also known as the Sepulchre. This Romanesque Baroque church was founded by Constantine I and was consecrated between 325 and 326.
The Pilgrimage Church – Neviges, Germany
Sketched out by Gottfried Bohm, The Pilgrimage Church in Neviges, Germany is one of the most unusual yet spectacular churches on our list. Boasting an intricate design based on sharp angles and concrete elements, this church was built on a hillside and manages to impress its visitors instantly. The interior of the Pilgrimage Church involves a central sanctuary as well as several hallways and stairs that ensure great accessibility.
Saint Mark’s Basilica – Venice, Italy
Officially known as the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco, Saint Mark’s Basilica can be found in Venice, Italy. This extraordinary example of Italo-Byzantine architecture is one of the most famous churches within this beautiful Italian city and one of the most visited ones as well. Consecrated between 1084 and 1117, this Roman Catholic church was designed by Domenico I Contarini and flaunts a total of 5 domes. For most of its existence, the church served as the chapel of the Doge, but it officially gained its cathedral status in 1807 when it became the official seat of the Patriarch of Venice.
Hagia Sophia – Istanbul, Turkey
Haga Sophia was a very important Eastern Orthodox cathedral from when it was built in 537 and all the way until 1453, but it was eventually converted into a mosque following the conquest of Constantinople by Sultan Mehmed II. Presently, the church acts as a museum and can be found in Istanbul, Turkey. Originally, the church was dedicated to Logos, also known as the Wisdom of God. Flaunting a height of 180 feet, this landmark is definitely imposing to say the least, and it actually represents one of the finest remaining examples of Byzantine architecture.
Church of Hallgrímur – Reykjavík, Iceland
The Church of Hallgrímur can be found in Reykjavík, Iceland, and it is arguably one of the most amazing Lutheran parish churches in the world. With a height of 244 feet, this landmark is quite a sight to behold indeed, not to mention the fact that it features an extraordinary design that was meant to resemble the renowned basalt lava flows of Iceland. Founded in 1945, this church wasn’t consecrated until 1986. Presently, the Church of Hallgrímur is a completely functional parish church and represents a superb example of Expressionist architecture.
Las Lajas Sanctuary – Colombia, South America
Another incredible and unique church is the Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia. This Roman Catholic cathedral is a very important pilgrimage destination as well as a very significant tourist attraction of Colombia. Built between 1916 and 1949, this church is dedicated to “Our Lady of Las Lajas Ipiales” and features a height of 330 as it rises majestically above a steep canyon. Another very important feature of Las Lajas comes in the form of a 160 ft tall bridge that connects the far end of the canyon with the church itself.
The Chapel of St.Gildas – Brittany, France
The Chapel of St.Gildas was built to commemorate the site where an Irish monk by the name of Gildas preached the teachings of Christianity to a local pagan population during the 6th century. The story tells that Gildas was accompanied by another monk named Bieuzy, and that both of them lived in a cave that now marks the site of this splendid chapel.
Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro – Brazil
Also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, the Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro is one of the most important Roman Catholic churches in Rio De Janeiro and in Brazil. As the official See of the Metropolitan Archbishops of Rio De Janeiro, this landmark was dedicated to the patron saint of this renowned city: Saint Sebastian. The church was sketched out by Edgar Fonceca and boasts a spectacularly modern exterior layout. The Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro was built between 1964 and 1979 and can be found in the city’s center.
Paraportiani Church – Mykonos, Greece
The Greek island of Mykonos is the host of a plethora of lovely churches, but the most impressive of them all is undoubtedly the Paraportiani Church. This small yet splendid church can be found in central Chora and amazes with a clean and simple design based on white shades. The landmark has roots in the Byzantine times and boasts a superb array of adornments from the Middle Ages.
Milan Cathedral – Milan, Italy
The Milan Cathedral can be found within the city of the same name in Italy and currently represents the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. Built in honor of Saint Mary Nascent, this glorious cathedral is actually the fifth largest in the world and was completed in 1965 even though its groundbreaking begun in 1386. The church features a maximum height of 354 feet and was sketched out following the principles of Gothic, Neoclassical and Neo-Gothic architecture.
Cathedral of Brasília – Brasília, Brazil
The breathtakingly beautiful Cathedral of Brasília was inaugurated in 1970 and currently represents the seat of the Archdiocese of Brasília. Apart from its major importance as a Roman Catholic cathedral, this amazing landmark is noteworthy because of its staggering, modern design. The church was sketched out by an architect named Oscar Niemeyer and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The structure is framed in concrete and boasts a hyperboloid shape as well as a glass roof.
Chapel of the Holy Cross – Arizona, USA
The Chapel of the Holy Cross was built at the behest of a sculptor named Marguerite Brunswig Staude, who was deeply inspired by the remarkable architecture of the Empire State Building. This incredible church required 18 months to be complete as well as a budget of $300,000, but it was finally ready to receive its first visitors in 1956. One year later, this masterpiece received the Award of Honor from the American Institute of Architects, while in 2007 it was named one of the “Seven Man-Made Wonders of Arizona” by the citizens of Arizona.
Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe – Aiguilhe, France
This amazing chapel can be found in Aiguilhe, France, and what makes it truly special is that it was actually built on a very old volcanic formation. This formation rises towards the sky at an altitude of 279 feet, and so the chapel can only be reached after climbing a series of steps 268 to be precise. Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel was constructed in 962 and is now a very important tourist destination as well as a pilgrimage site.