Top 9 Most Breathtaking Churches in the World
|Most Beautiful Churches in the World - Photo: Cntraveler.com|
Churches have always been regarded as some of the most spectacular structures in society, as they are constructed and built to house religious services and elicit and inspire the devotion of God. Because church officials felt the need to demonstrate God's omnipotence, they commissioned the construction of massive churches with soaring spires and enormous façade decorated with biblical themes.
Romanesque and Gothic styles gave way to Renaissance and Baroque embellishments over the course of many hundreds and millennia. The priceless relics and holy pieces of art housed in their sanctuaries also evolved over time. Millions of worshippers and tourists visit these stunning cathedrals every year, making them among the most significant architectural and historical landmarks in the world.
Let's take a look at top 9 Most Beautiful Churches in the world to find out how beautiful and meaningful they are (Ranked by KnowInsiders.com):
9. Duomo di Milano, Italy
Building of the Duomo di Milano, or Cathedral of Milan, began in 1386, though this massive beauty took over six centuries to complete. It was built in dedication to St. Mary of the Nativity, and is the fourth largest church in the world.
8. Sacré-Coeur -
Sacré-Coeur, a renowned landmark above Montmartre, offers stunning panoramas of Paris and is instantly recognizable to visitors from all over the world. The pristine white basilica dates back to 1914 and was designed in the ornate style of Byzantine architecture; it contains two cupolas on either side of a massive dome.
There are two equestrian statues of French saints Joan of Arc and Louis IX lying over the arched entrance, signifying the building's status as a national monument. The interior is equally as impressive, with a massive mosaic covering the dome. Sacré-Coeur is now visited by millions of tourists every year due to its status as a major tourist destination.
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7. Mezquita of Cordoba
The magnificent Mezquita of Cordoba was originally built as a mosque, as suggested by the name. The Muslim rulers of Cordoba began construction on a magnificent mosque in 784, erecting a plethora of columns and arches over what had been a modest Visigoth chapel. Beautiful ceramic tiles and mosaics covered the walls and floors.
After the Reconquista, the mosque was transformed into a Catholic church, complete with a bell tower in place of the original minaret. The complex also features a Renaissance cathedral nave located at its core. Over the years, the Mezquita of Cordoba has served as a place of worship and refuge for followers of both Christianity and Islam.
6. Church of the Assumption, Lake Bled
The Church of the Assumption sits on an island in the middle of Lake Bled, with the majestic Julian Alps rising up behind it. The beautiful, small Gothic church was constructed at the end of the 17th century and is only accessible by boat across the lake.
The white spire of the church stands out even more dramatically against the reflective lake water, which is framed by towering trees. The chapel and lake are a great photo op and one of Slovenia's top tourist destinations.
5. Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá, Columbia
Unlike any other church in existence, the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá in Columbia was built within the tunnels of a halite salt mine in the town of Zipaquirá. It has three parts signifying the birth, life, and death of Jesus. While there are a few marble sculptures located in the temple, most of them are hand carved directly out of the halite rock.
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4. Hagia Sophia
The first heritage site in Ukraine to be inscribed on the World Heritage List along with the Kiev Cave Monastery complex, St. Sophia's Cathedral is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Kiev. Its foundations were laid in the early 11th century and its name comes from Istanbul's Hagia Sophia. Since the late 1980s there have been promises to return the building to the Orthodox Church but due to disagreements, the cathedral remains a secular museum.
The unique architecture of Hallgrmskirkja was inspired by the stunning natural features of Iceland, such as the country's mountains, glaciers, and basalt columns. One of the highest buildings in Iceland, at 74.5 meters, it overlooks the city of Reykjavik from a hilltop location.
The current church, which was constructed between 1945 and 1986 and is named after the Icelandic poet Hallgrimur Petursson, stands in front of a magnificent statue of the adventurer Leif Erikson. Hallgrimskirkja is not only a beautiful church but also offers breathtaking views of the Icelandic capital from its tower.
2. St. Basil’s Cathedral
St. Basil's Cathedral, one of the world's most famous structures, seems like it was plucked straight out of a children's fairytale. Red Square in the center of Moscow is dominated by the Kremlin, a majestic building with captivating spires and bright onion domes that was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible in 1561.
The complex of St. Basil's, which consists of ten churches joined together, is a proud display of uncommon and colorful architecture. The outside has made it famous, but the interior is just as entrancing, with murals and icons covering every available surface. St. Basil's Cathedral, which the Soviets secularized in 1929 after they almost destroyed it, has become an iconic emblem of Russia.
1. St. Peter’s Basilica
As the largest church in the world, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome naturally takes the top spot on our list. This Italian church is the most well-known example of Renaissance architecture; it was designed by Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Michelangelo. According to Catholic canon law, the high altar must be placed over the tomb of Jesus' main apostle, St. Peter.