The Most Beautiful Churches In The World
Travel to any city in the world and you’ll see a distinct and unique difference in much of the architecture. Cities are full of historical buildings and some of the most amazingly designed buildings in the world are churches.
Churches are, most notably, places of worship but you don’t need to be a member of any particular church to appreciate and marvel at the intricacies that went into the design and construction. It’s even more amazing when we are talking about some of the older churches of the world because people simply didn’t have the technology or equipment we have today. Yet these amazing structures were still built and many of them are still standing in all their magnificence, today. While the older churches are spectacular in their own right, there’s a lot to be in awe of with some of the more recently built churches as well.
Make a point of visiting your local churches and when you do travel, make sure you put these 10 amazingly designed churches in the world on your itinerary.
1. The Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy
Absolutely every traveler knows about the Sistine Chapel in Italy’s capital, Rome. If not by name, they will certainly know it by the exquisite artwork on the ceilings, being the work of one of the greatest names in the art world – Michelangelo. The building itself is a Renaissance architectural masterpiece, but the real magic is in the enormous and varied frescos painted on the ceilings.
2. Chapel Of The Holy Cross, Sedona, Arizona, USA
Imagine a chapel that seems to rise up out of the jagged red rocks so commonly seen in the Arizona desert. The first thing you will notice when you visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona is the enormous cross that seems to come from the very rocks themselves. The chapel is the brainchild of Marguerite Brunswick Staude, a local rancher and sculptor. The interior is every bit as magnificent as the exterior with sweeping views that will inspire you to worship.
3. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is home to St. Vitus Cathedral. This is one of the most amazingly designed churches in Europe and is in close proximity to the royal residence in Prague. Construction of the cathedral began in 1344, and although it has been in use over the centuries, it wasn’t completed until 1929. The cathedral is an example of Gothic Architecture with amazing details and the interior features high vaulted ceilings and eye-catching stained glass.
4. Kamppi Chapel, Helsinki, Finland
Kamppi Chapel in Helsinki is definitely unique in terms of amazing design that won the prestigious title of International Architecture Awards in 2010. This Lutheran chapel is made from different types of wood and is often referred to as the “Chapel of Silence”. The exterior resembles a large cup and sits in one of the busiest parts of the city, and the interior looks amazing thanks to the curved wood walls.
5. United States Air Force Academy Cadet Cathedral, Colorado Springs, USA
Completed in 1962, the Cadet Cathedral at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is a modern marvel. Designed by Walter Netsch, it was built by Robert E. McKee Inc. The design was somewhat controversial at the time, but it still managed to take the American Institute of Architects’ 25 Year Award and also become a US National Historic Landmark in 2004.
6. Salt Cathedral Of Zipaquira, Cundinamarca, Colombia
Everything about this cathedral is so breathtakingly amazing. This Roman Catholic church was built 600 meters underground inside the tunnels of the salt mines. There are 3 sections to this church, each one representing a period in the life of Jesus Christ – His birth, life and death. Much of the architectural details, icons and decorations have been hand carved in the halite rock and it also includes some marble sculptures.
7. Borgund Stave Church, Norway
Built sometime between 1180 and 1250, this medieval church has been constructed of wood. It is dedicated to the Apostle Andrew and features remarkably carved portals with additionally carved crosses and dragons’ heads which were believed to ward off evil spirits. The miracle of this church is that it has remained meticulously preserved after so many centuries, despite being made from wood.
8. Papal Basilica Of Saint Mary Of The Angels, Assisi, Italy
The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels in Assisi, Italy is possibly one of the most interesting churches in Europe because it comes with such an amazing story. The original church, known as the Porziuncola, is very dear to the Franciscan monks and was, in fact, given to St Francis by the Benedictine monks. After the death of St Francis, pilgrims flocked to this Porziuncola, and it became completely overcrowded, to the point that the Basilica was built around it, making this a church, within a church. There are two aisles within the church which are flanked by ten small chapels or altars.
9. Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland
At its highest point of 250 feet, Hallgrímskirkja Lutheran Church in Reykjavik is an architectural sensation. Apart from being the largest church in Iceland, it also looms like an ice castle in the very center of this great city. The design is said to be a representation of this friendly country’s landscape of ice-covered mountains and glaciers, with the interior every bit as impressive as the exterior.
10. Cathedral Of Brasilia, Brazil
The interior of this amazingly designed cathedral is bright and beautiful and features thousands of painted ceramic tiles. The exterior stands like an elegant vase and visitors enter through a dark tunnel before entering a bright, glass-ceilinged church. There are many amazing sculptures within suspended by cables for an ethereal look.
You don’t need to be religious to be amazed by the designs of these churches and for the most part, you will always be welcome to come in and admire the work that has gone into these architectural wonders. Just remember, these are places of worship, so keep the noise to a minimum. This shouldn’t be a problem as the wonders within will leave you speechless.