Places of worship have been one of the earliest known structures in our society. They were not just a place where people would offer prayers, but also a place for community building. It is our faith in gods that as humans we have been able to overcome some of the biggest adversities. This world is dotted with innumerable churches, and most of them symbolize the power of god and worship. Most of these churches are grand and huge, not just to accommodate the large number of people, but as a symbol that there is nothing bigger than god in this world.
In this blog we have listed some of the selected churches of this world that are most beautiful. These churches are the ones that you must visit, in your lifetime, or add to your itinerary if you are visiting someplace near. It doesn’t matters if you are religious or not, but these churches are must visit.
St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
St. Basil’s cathedral is one of the most popular structures in Moscow, and unarguably it is the most recognizable buildings in the entire world. It is declared as the UNESCO World heritage site, and has survived the tumulus history of Russia. In 20th Century and even before it came very close to be demolished, but there it stands. It consists of 9 domes which represent 9 small churches which are there inside the Cathedral. This church is a symbol of Orthodox religion in Russia.
The bizarre yet beautiful color scheme of the church which resembles candies and ice creams, was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1561. The interiors of the church are ornate with beautiful murals, and orthodox iconology.
The Church was built in the memory of Russian victory over the Kazan and Astrakhan. The church is built with a blend of Tudor, Orthodox Russian, Victorian, Gothic style of architecture.
Notre Dame de Paris, Paris, France
Notre Dame de Paris or Notre Dame Cathedral or Notre Dame is unarguably one of the most beautiful churches in the world. With sheer massive size of the cathedral it is one of the largest religious structures in the world. It is built in the French Gothic style of architecture. It is home to several statues and sculptures, that adorn both the inside and the outside of the cathedral. The south tower of the church is also home to its largest bell weighing 13 tons, which is named as Emmanuel Bell.
Unfortunately a fire broke out in the Notre Dame Cathedral in the year of 2019, which shocked the world, and pushed the cathedral into renovation work for 5 years. Currently the cathedral is closed to public, but you can still admire its beauty from the outside.
It is to be taken note of that this cathedral was built between 1163 and 1345, and some of the rose windows of the church are still intact from the ages back in time.
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
La Sagrada Familia of Barcelona is an architectural marvel which is built in a blend of Gothic Revival and Art Nouveau style of architecture. Interesting thing about this cathedral is that the construction started in 1882 and still the work is incomplete, though the construction board of Barcelona plans to finish it by 2026. The design of this cathedral was made by Antoni Gaudí the renowned architect, who died before the cathedral got finished. He put 43 years of life to this cathedral.
The portion of this cathedral that was built by Antoni Gaudi is one the UNESCO World Heritage site list. The outside of the cathedral is adorned with façade and spires, which gives it a resemblance of giant sand castle, while from the inside the stained glass windows add charm to it.
It is estimated that roughly 4.5 Million people visit this cathedral annually. It also offers breath taking views if you choose to ascend to one of the towers via escalators.
St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
St. Peter’s Basilica is not just the largest church of this world but also one of the most beautiful ones. The Vatican City which is the governing body of Catholic Churches lives up to the expectation. The site where this church is built is the burial ground of St. Peter who was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ who was executed in Rome. There have been many churches built on this site at different times, but the one that stands now was built in 1626.
The dome of the church was designed by Michelangelo and has been the inspiration of the Capitol Building of the Washington DC. The church is also home to a sculpture built by Michelangelo of Mary holding the dead body of Jesus.
The church houses many paintings, sculptures and artifacts from the history Catholic Churches. While visiting it, if you want to witness some breath taking views, then get to the top of the dome.
Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy
Duomo di Milano which is also known as Duomo or Milan Cathedral or Santa Maria Nascente is the second largest church in Italy and the fourth largest church in world as per its size. The construction of the Church started in 1386 and it was completed in 1965. It took whopping 6 centuries to complete this church which is reflected in its design which is blend of French, Italian, and Gothic style of architecture from different periods of time.
The church also boasts of having the maximum number of statues and figurines in its structure which consists of 135 gargoyles, 700 figures and around 3400 statues. It has whopping 135 spires which consist of the Cathedral, Duomo museum, archeological area and rooftop.
Inside the church complex you will also find a huge sun dial on the floor which receives sun light passing through an opening in the walls. The time depicted is so precise that it is still used to set the clocks.
Las Lajas Sanctuary, Narino, Colombia
Las Lajas Sanctuary which is a Gothic styled Roman Catholic Church, is located in Southern Colombia near the border of Ecuador. The origins of the church dates back to 1754, when a deaf mute girl got cured with her impairment when she saw Mother Mary on some rocks while taking shelter in midst of a storm. Initially there was chapel but the structure that stands today was built between 1916 and 1949. This beautiful church was built from the donations of the locals.
The interesting thing about this church is that it is built 150 feet above a gorge of River Guaitara. The location of this church is what makes it beautiful. Apart from the river, the surrounding region is lush green and gives a scenic backdrop to the church.
The name of the Church which was kept in the local language means, A miracle of God in the abyss. The word Lajas which is used in the name is a rock found here.
Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavík, Iceland
Hallgrimskirkja church is the tallest structure in Reykjavik and was built in the Neo Gothic style of architecture. The appearance of the church symbolizes the common landscapes of Iceland which resembles like that of basalt rock with flowing lava. The church is named after the renowned Poet and Clergyman of Iceland, Hallgrimur Petursson. He was the author of Passion Hymns, which is a collection of 50 hymns that are sung during the Lent in Iceland.
The church was built between 1945 and 1986. Inside the complex of the church there also is a striking statue of renowned explorer Leif Erikson. The church also has an elevator inside which can take you on the top of main tower from where you can enjoy breath taking views of the city.
The interiors of the church are minimalist. It also houses a massive pipe organ, which has an electronic action, is a must see while you are visiting this iconic Icelandic church.
Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi Island, Russia
Church of Transfiguration is the most unusual church that you will ever hear of or see. This amazing church is made entirely out of wood. It is located on Kizhi Island, on Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia. It was built around 18th century, though the people behind who constructed it are unknown. It is a part of some of more historically significant structures built on the island and they have attained the status of UNESCO World Heritage site in year 1990.
The bell of the church was forbidden during the Soviet Reign and this church remained silent from 1929 to 1989. The church complex consists of total 22 domes that are built out of wood. There has been no use of nails in the construction of this church. All wood panels are just inter locked.
This church might not be located in some fancy destination, but is a marvelous and beautiful piece of architecture, that should be seen. In addition the place is very picturesque.
Church of the Assumption, Lake Bled, Slovenia
Unarguably the location of Church of the Assumption is by far the best than any of the churches in the world. It is located in the very popular Lake Bled of Slovenia. It is flanked by the Julien Alps in the backdrop, and complimented by emerald water of the lake. The Lake Bled is one of the most visited places in entire Slovenia. There has been a church on this island since 9th century, but the one that stands in present times was built in 17th century.
To reach this beautiful church you will have to hop on a Plenta, which is a wooden boat similar to gondola. Upon reaching the island you will have climb up the 99 stone steps to reach the main church complex. The Gothic styled church of this island is adorned with many beautiful frescoes from inside.
The church is also home to a wishing bell. It is believed by the locals of the region that if you ring it three times and make a wish, it would be fulfilled.
Gergeti Trinity Church, Gergeti, Georgia
Gergeti Trinity Church is one of the most beautiful churches in the world when it comes to scenic locations, and natural beauty. It is located on the sides of Chkheri River, with Mount Kazbek in the backdrop towering it. The church sits at an elevation of 2170 meter, and offers some breath taking views of the neighboring mountains. It was built way back in 14th century, and it is the only cross cupola church in the province of Khevi of Georgia.
The church is known for its secluded location which also attracts lots of photographers seeking picture perfect. Although you can drive to reach this magnificent church but many travel enthusiasts also choose to hike up to the summit.
The original murals of the church are no longer existent, but only in the fragments. One of the highlight and perfect for pictures is the bell tower of this church.
Santa Maria Del Fiore, Florence, Italy
Santa Maria Del Fiore in Florence is a UNESCO World heritage site and it is the world’s third largest church. At the time of its consecretation it was the largest church in Europe. The size of the church is so massive that it dominates the skyline of Florence. The construction of this marvelous church started way back in 1296 and it was finally completed in 19th century. This church is the most iconic structure of the entire Renaissance history of the city of Florence.
The dome of the church which is the highlight of the church complex is built with blend of pink, green, and white marble. Before the construction of this church it was the site of Cathedral of Santa Reparata whose remains can still be accessed at the site.
There are total of 44 stained glass windows in the church which are spectacular, and the inside of this church is adorned with many frescoes. The views of the city from the dome are must see.
Borgund Stave Church, Borgund, Norway
Borgund Stave Church is a wooden church which is made in the Stave Architectural style. In our entire world there are very few wooden churches that still stand today,. And Borgund Stave Church is one of them that stood the test of times. It was built in 1180, and is probably one of the best preserved structures from medieval times. In present times the church is no longer used for religious purposes and the Borgund Stave Church is converted into a museum and a tourist spot.
The Stave churches are very popular and common in Norway and you will find many of them. These churches are made out of wooden staves with rickety roofs, and carved dragon heads that guard the gables. It very much looks like a structure from Viking times.
Stave churches have held an important place in the Norwegian style of architecture and has put them on the global map. To witness their true beauty, Borgund Stave church is the perfect spot.
Wieskirche, Steingaden, Germany
The church of Wies in Germany is probably the most beautiful church when it comes to the interiors. This church was built in the year of 1754, and in present times it attracts close to one million visitors every year. It is built in the Bavarian Rococo style of architecture and in the backdrop of the church are the Alpine valley which makes it picturesque. From outside you won’t find many towers, or the fancy spires, but once you will walk inside you are bound to be mesmerized.
The interiors of the church have abundance of glitzy stucco work and the frescoes, in almost every nook and corner of the church. Most of the interior is in white or the gold, which makes it striking and divine at the same time. The main mural inside is purely stunning.
This church was designed by Dominikus Zimmermann. The best thing about this church is that is far from the hustle and bustles of the city, and visiting it is a serene experience.
Cathedral of Brasília, Brasilia, Brazil
Cathedral of Brasilia is located on the monumental axis of the city which is the exact centre and city’s central avenue. The cathedral was built between 1958 and 1970. It is built in the modernist style of architecture and was designed by renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer. There also an interesting thing about this cathedral is that it was the very first structure built in Brasilia. This Roman Catholic Cathedral is probably one of the most iconic structures in the entire country.
From the outside there are 16 boomerang shaped columns that go upward with space left in between for stained glass of blue, green, white and brown colors. From the inside the light passing through these stained glasses makes it even more beautiful.
The church is surrounded with a pool and to enter the church you have pass through a tunnel beneath that pool. The design of the church which is like that of a crown makes it unique.
Be thou blessed with travel!