The world’s most famous churches are all located around the globe, from Rome to London to New York City. Explore the history and architecture of the 27 most famous church buildings.
St Peter’s Basilica Vatican
The Saint Peter’s Basilica is a Roman Catholic church and a basilica in Vatican City. The largest church of all, it has been one of the most important attractions of Rome and the Vatican for over 500 years. This magnificent structure was completed by famous artist Michelangelo in 1506 and contains famous artworks such as Bernini’s Baldacchino and his stone pietà.
St Peter’s Basilica is one best example of Renaissance architecture of the most recognizable European Landmarks, the tallest dome in the world.
St Peter’s basilica church holds great religious importance as a seat of Papal Power and a pilgrimage site for millions of Catholics all over the world.
Notre Dame de Paris France
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the best-known churches in the world, and it has become a symbol of Paris and a landmark of France. This medieval gothic cathedral was designed with flying buttresses to support its high ceilings, creating vast open spaces for worship with over 10,000 people.
After the fire in April 2019, the cathedral spire collapsed and the roof got burned. Since then cathedral is under renovation, but you still can admire it from the outside, when you stroll around the Seine in the most romantic city in the world.
Sagrada Familia Barcelona Spain
The Sagrada Familia is not yet finished, but it has already become one of the most famous churches in the world and one of the most know Spanish Landmarks. A masterpiece by Antoni Gaudi, its unique design features spires reaching towards the sky with colorful stained glass windows and sculptures along exterior walls. When the church spires will be finished, Sagrada Familia will be the tallest church in the world.
Sagrada Familia, with other works of Gaudi, is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
St Paul’s Cathedral London United Kingdom
The St Paul’s Cathedral was designed by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren, best known for designing over 50 churches, as well as the great Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford University. Located on Ludgate Hill in London, it is considered one of the finest examples of English Baroque architecture.
Saint Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy
The Saint Mark’s Basilica is the most famous church in Italy, and it’s located right on the canal of Venice. It was originally built by Doge Domenico Contarini, who funded its construction to house St Mark’s remains. St Mark is one of four patron saints of Venice.
This church was built in 1469 and contained some interesting exterior pillars with unique capitals. Inside, its pillars are decorated with bronze Renaissance originals depicting biblical scenes, including David slaying Goliath.
Saint Mark’s Basilica is a cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. The basilica is one of the best-preserved examples of Byzantine architecture.
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore – Rome, Italy
The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore is one of the four major basilicas in Rome, and it has been operating since 340. It was built by Pope Sisto II, who also built the Tomb of the Saint on which the church is located. This structure contains beautiful wooded ceilings, marble columns and a huge statue of the Virgin Mary.
Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany
The Cologne Cathedral is a Gothic church located in Cologne, Germany. It was voted as one of the most famous buildings in the world, and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This tallest cathedral is a popular tourist attraction. Over 40 million tourists visit the cathedral every year, which houses over 20 chapels and 150 rooms with artwork dating back to 1884
Uppsala Domkyrka Sweden
The Uppsala Domkyrka is the oldest cathedral in Sweden, and it is considered a fine example of the Swedish Brick Gothic style. At almost 700 years old, it has an 800-foot spire and contains some notable artworks such as the altarpiece of Engelbrekt and an early 17th-century pulpit.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral Moscow, Russia
The Saint Basil’s Cathedral was originally built in 1555 on Red Square but had to be rebuilt after a fire destroyed it in 1931. This strikingly unique cathedral is known for the nine chapels surrounding its central core, which resemble colorful mushrooms.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral – New York, USA
The St Patrick’s Cathedral was originally built in 1858, but it was destroyed by fire only seven years later. Its replacement is the structure you see today, which has large rose windows, extensive interior decoration and striking spires which can be seen for miles around. Sait Patrick’s Cathedral is an example of the Gothic Revival style
Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière – Lyon, France
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière is an impressive building in Lyon which has great views over the city. It features both Romanesque and Byzantine styles, making for a structure, unlike any other cathedral.
Westminster Abbey, London United Kingdom
Westminster Abbey is a large gothic church located next to the Palace of Westminster.
Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous churches in the UK and an important London Landmark. Westminster Abbey is a centre for the traditional coronation and memorial services. It has hosted these ceremonies since 1066, and they are still performed there today.
Santa Maria Maggiore Rome Italy
The Santa Maria Maggiore is considered one of the finest examples of early Christian basilica architecture. Its unique structure consists of five domes, which are symbolic of the church’s theological understanding of Heaven.
San Lorenzo Basilica – Florence, Italy
The San Lorenzo Basilica was built between the 4th and 10th centuries, but its interior has been completely remodelled since then. It is home to some important frescoes and wall paintings which give it an interesting appearance inside.
Duomo di Milano, Milan Italy
The impressive Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) is the third-largest church in the world. It was built between 1386 and 1813 after a fire destroyed an earlier version of this dome-topped building which sits opposite a square known as Piazza del Duomo.
The Christ Church Cathedral of Dublin, Ireland
The Christ Church Cathedral of Dublin is the mother church of the Anglican diocese of Dublin. It has been used for regular worship for over 800 years, and it contains some impressive works of art, including a statue of Jonathan Swift, who was its dean from 1713 to 1745.
Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland
The Hallgrímskirkja is the largest church in Iceland, and it offers some incredible views over Reykjavík. This modern church was built by architect Guðjón Samúelsson between 1945 and 1986 after he won a competition to design this building. The churches tower is 74 meters high, and it is not only the tallest church but as well the tallest building in Iceland.
Church Of The Nativity, Bethlehem Palestine
Church of The Nativity is located in the birthplace of Jesus, this cathedral is one of the most sacred places in Christianity. Its walls are decorated with ancient mosaics, and it has a nave that is 14 meters long. It’s one of the oldest churches in the world.
Hagia Sophia Istanbul Turkey
Hagia Sophia was built as a church in 537 by order of the emperor Justinian I got converted in 1453 to an imperial mosque by Sultan Mehmed II. It is now a museum holding important relics and mosaics within its structure.
Hagia Sophia is now a museum and one of the most well-known pieces of architecture in Turkey, just next to Blue Mosque. Its massive dome measures 31 meters across, and it has stood for over 1500 years without requiring repairs.
It’s one of the Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the best-known examples of Byzantine architecture.
St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney Australia
Designed by William Wardell, this cathedral in Sydney is the largest church in Australia, and it has some beautiful stained glass windows. These include a rose window on the west façade, which was originally intended for Westminster Abbey but ended up here instead.
Chapel Of The Holy Cross, Sao Paulo Brazil
Located in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this chapel has an impressive cross-shaped design that measures 51 meters long. Its walls are decorated with numerous pieces of art which give it a unique appearance.
Gergeti Trinity Church Georgia
Gergeti Trinity Church is a little-known church that is one of the most beautiful in the Caucasus. It was built between the 14th and 16th centuries, and it has an unusual shape with three pyramidal roofs that let in a large amount of natural light.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre Israel
Located in the Old City within Jerusalem, this church is one of the holiest places for Christians, and it was founded by Constantine I around AD 330. It has been destroyed and restored on numerous occasions due to religious conflicts and earthquakes
Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia
The Las Lajas Sanctuary is located in the south of Colombia, and it was built between 1916 and 1949 due to a strange story involving Our lady of Las Lajas. When María Muses de Quiñones went to the area, she came across a small river that was impossible to cross by herself. She saw an image of the Virgin Mary on a nearby cliff, and she was able to cross it easily. An engineer later visited the area and helped her build a church on that site with a bridge that looked like an arch over the small river.
Salt Cathedral Of Zipaquira, Colombia
Built in the 14th century, this Roman Catholic cathedral is placed on top of a cave, and it’s one of the most interesting churches in Colombia. It was built by indigenous tribes who used special techniques to construct their buildings (stones were not cut, but they were stuck together using molten salt).
Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Ivory Coast
The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is an amazing structure located in the Ivory Coast, covering 6,000 square feet. It has five domes, each with its own bell tower and can seat 3,000 people for religious services. Its exterior walls are adorned with carvings of important Biblical scenes like the Last Supper.
The Most Famous Churches In The World
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