Most Beautiful Churches in the World

Churches have traditionally been considered among society’s most essential and majestic structures, as they are created and erected to hold religious ceremonies to elicit and inspire God’s adoration. Because religious leaders wanted to depict God’s majesty and strength, they erected huge buildings with spires soaring to the skies and towering façade decorated in biblical scenes.

Aesthetics evolved across centuries and millennia, with Romanesque and Gothic architecture giving place to Renaissance and Baroque aspects. The glistening riches and divine artworks that adorned their chapels and naves evolved with the eras as well. Millions of worshippers and tourists visit these gorgeous cathedrals every year, making them some of the most important architectural and historical landmarks in the world. Also, read Most Famous Mausoleums in the World.

1: St. Basil’s Cathedral

 

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St. Basil’s Cathedral, one of the most famous monuments in the world, seems as if it came straight out of a children’s book of fairytales. The majestic cathedral, with its dazzling spires and brilliant onion domes, dominates and defines Red Square in the centre of Moscow, and was built at Ivan the Terrible’s command in 1561.

St Basil’s boasts a lot of distinctive and interesting architecture, with vivid colours and swirling patterns wherever you look. It’s made up of ten individual churches united together. Although it is known for its unusual exterior, the interior is equally as stunning, with icons and murals covering every surface. St. Basil’s Cathedral was secularised in 1929 by the Soviets, who pondered dismantling it. It is now an important symbol of the country.

2: St. Peter’s Basilica

Because Vatican City is the seat of the Catholic Church and home to the Pope, it’s only natural that it also houses the world’s largest church, St. Peter’s Basilica. The basilica, commissioned by Pope Julius II to be the most magnificent structure in Christendom, was constructed between 1506 and 1626, with contributions from renowned luminaries such as Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

The beautiful Renaissance style church, named after the famous saint whose tomb is within, proudly displays a huge front and dome, with the colonnade-lined St. Peter’s Square leading up to it. Its marble floors extend eternally out in front of you, displaying beautiful statues, centuries-old artworks, and glittering jewels. St. Peter’s Basilica, unquestionably one of the most magnificent churches in the world, is an architectural masterpiece with incredible artworks for you to enjoy.

3: Hallgrímskirkja

 

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The unique style of Hallgrmskirkja is said to be inspired by the mountains, glaciers, and basalt columns that dot Iceland’s breathtaking landscapes. It is one of the country’s highest structures, standing at 74.5 metres and overlooking Reykjavik from its hilltop location.

The current cathedral, which was built between 1945 and 1986 and is dedicated after the Icelandic poet Hallgrimur Petursson, is flanked by a magnificent statue of the explorer Leif Erikson. Hallgrimskirkja, one of the biggest attractions in Iceland’s capital, also offers visitors breathtaking panoramic views from its tower.

4: La Sagrada Família

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is another church that is sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Work on the stunning basilica, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, began in 1882. Surprisingly, it is still happening on today. While the exterior, with its intricate facades and towering spires, resembles a massive sandcastle, the interior is awash in vibrant colours and light, which pours in through the beautiful stained glass windows.

In addition, the church is supported by massive columns that resemble trees, and there are beautiful geometric motifs everywhere. La Sagrada Familia is a piece of art unlike any other. It is one of the most original and imaginative structures on the planet. Also, read 10 Most Famous Towers in the World.

5: Duomo di Milano

 

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The Duomo di Milano, with its beautiful and carefully constructed exterior, took over six centuries to finish. The gigantic Gothic masterpiece features several beautiful spires and arches, as well as elegant flying buttresses that line its naves, making it one of the world’s largest churches.

The statue of Saint Bartholomew and Pellegrini’s divine altars are among the most colossal artworks on both its exterior and interior, with the statue of Saint Bartholomew and Pellegrini’s divine altars among the most monumental artworks. The Duomo di Milano is one of Italy’s most prominent architectural, cultural, and historical landmarks, with a baptistery beneath its floors dating back to 335.

6: Sacré-Coeur

 

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Sacré-Coeur, one of Paris’ most iconic and identifiable structures, offers stunning views of the city from its prominent location atop Montmartre. With two cupolas surrounding a massive dome, the brilliant white church was completed in 1914 and boasts some outstanding Byzantine architecture.

Two equestrian statues of Joan of Arc and Louis IX, both French saints, can be located above the arched entrance, as it is a significant national monument. The interior is as impressive, with one of the world’s largest mosaics covering the huge dome. Millions of tourists visit Sacré-Coeur each year, making it a popular tourist attraction.

7: Las Lajas Sanctuary

 

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The exquisite Gothic Revival style architecture of Las Lajas Sanctuary, hidden in a canyon on the Guaitara River in Colombia, provides for a spectacular sight. The stunning sanctuary, which was built between 1916 and 1949, sits atop a 130-foot-high bridge that crosses the river, with a beautiful waterfall glittering beside it.

The church, which is located near the Ecuadorian border, was founded after a supernatural sighting of the Virgin Mary and is today one of Colombia’s most famous pilgrimage destinations. Also, read 8 Most Beautiful Fjords of the World.

8: Mont St. Michel Abbey

Mont St. Michel Abbey, perched on a tidal island just off the coast of Normandy in northwest France, is one of the most striking views in the world. The imposing abbey, with its lovely chapels and cloisters, towers over the town’s packed old buildings and halls, which cascade down the slope.

This is due to the mediaeval society’s prioritisation on the abbey – and thus God – over all else. While monks and a monastery have been greeting pilgrims to the summit since the 9th century, the abbey and its splendid Romanesque church were only completed in 1523. Visitors to Mont St. Michel are now largely drawn to the monastery because of its stunning surroundings and incredible historical sights.

9: Borgund Stave Church

Borgund Stave Church, nestled in a lush valley in Norway, appears to have stood in the same position since time immemorial. The triple-nave church is made of wooden staves and has shaky roofs with carved dragon heads guarding the gables, giving it a truly Viking aspect and feel. The well-preserved mediaeval church, built between 1180 and 1250, is today a major museum and tourist destination.

10: Our Lady of the Rocks

 

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Our Lady of the Rocks is situated on a little islet in the Bay of Kotor, surrounded by beautiful mountains. According to legend, the artificial island was created over ages by sailors throwing rocks into the harbour as a thank you to the Madonna for ensuring their safe return.

While the cathedral and its beautiful setting make for great images, the church’s interior is equally impressive. This is because the walls are decorated with exquisite paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a 17th-century baroque artist whose best famous work is The Death of the Virgin.

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