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Churches

Outstanding Christian churches

Notre Dame de Paris, France
Notre Dame de Paris, France / A.Thomas, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-2.5.

Below are listed some of most important, impressive and beautiful Christian churches of the world. Churches are arranged by region and age when construction started.

Asia

Etchmiadzin Cathedral - Christian church in Armenia
Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia / Butcher, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-3.0
  • Etchmiadzin Cathedral - Armenia, Armavir Province. Centre of Armenian Apostolic Church. Initially built in 303 AD, rebuilt in 480, beautiful stone carvings.
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Palestine, West Bank, Jerusalem. Symbolically one of the most important churches for Christians - located in place where Jesus was crucified and buried. Pilgrimage site since the 4th century, church built since 333, rebuilt several times, last time in 1048, since then largely rebuilt.
  • Church of the Nativity - Palestine, West Bank, Betlehem. Supposed location where Jesus Christ was born. One of the oldest continuously operating churches, worshipped since around 100 AD. Current basilica built in 565.
  • Larnaca church of Ayios Lazaros - Cyprus, Larnaca. Important church from the late 9th century, possible site of burial of Lazarus.
  • Tokalı Kilise and other rock churches of Göreme - Turkey, Nevşehir. Rock hew churches in unusual cliff formations - fairy chimneys. Churches built here mainly in the 9th - 11th century, contain some of the best Byzantine frescoes in world.
  • Svetitskhoveli Cathedral - Georgia, Mtskheta-Mtianeti. One of principal Georgian churches, venerated as the location of Christ's mantle. Built sometimes around 1020.

Europe

Panagia Ekatontapyliani, Greece
Panagia Ekatontapyliani, Greece / Horology, Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
  • Panagia Ekatontapyliani (Church of Paros, Our Lady of Hundred Doors) - Greece, South Aegean. One of oldest continuously operating churches, built sometimes around 337 AD, rebuilt in later times.
  • Santa Sabina - Italy, Rome. One of oldest churches in Europe, built in 422 - 432, numerous items in interiors remain intact.
  • Hagia Sophia - Turkey, Istanbul. Former Orthodox basilica, now museum. Possibly - the highest achievement of Byzantine architecture, largest cathedral in world for nearly 1000 years. Built in 532 - 537.
  • Basilica of St.Denis - France, Paris. First truly Gothic building in world - rebuilt in the 12th century, although founded already in the 7th century. Burial site of almost all kings of France.
  • Canterbury Cathedral - United Kingdom, Kent. Enormous, richly decorated and historically important cathedral, rebuilt numerous times since around 740, today mainly in Gothic style.
    Canterbury Cathedral, United Kingdom
    Canterbury Cathedral, United Kingdom / Hans Musil, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
  • Aachen Cathedral - Germany, North Rhine - Westphalia. Historically very important church, residence of Charlemagne, place of coronation of 42 kings and queens. Built in 792 - 805, rebuilt numerous times adding new values.
  • Speyer Cathedral - Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate. One of most impressive Romanic style cathedrals in world, built in 1030 - 1106.
  • Greensted Church - United Kingdom, Essex. Oldest wooden church in world, built sometimes around 1063-1108 AD.
  • Duomo of Pisa with Leaning tower - Italy, Tuscany. Impressive monument of European medieval Romanesque architecture. Cathedral started in 1063, rebuilt several times, baptistry - started sometimes around 1153 and the famous leaning belltower started in 1173-1372.
  • Santiago de Compostela Cathedral - Spain, Galicia. Pilgrimage church of huge importance. This Romanesque cathedral is adorned with later Gothic and Baroque additions - beautiful facades and towers. Main part is built in 1075-1128, the gorgeous western facade in 1738-1750.
  • Saint Mark's Basilica - Italy, Veneto. Building of unusual beauty and splendour, one of the most important Byzantine architecture monuments, built in 1094.
  • Worms Cathedral - Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate. Magnificent Romanesque church from 1110 - 1081.
  • Vladimir Dormition Cathedral - Russia, Vladimir. One of most important churches in history of Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1160. Very ornate exterior with iconostas by Andrei Rublev (1408).
  • Notre Dame de Paris - France, Paris. 1163 - the late 14th century. One of most significant Gothic cathedrals and one of best known monuments of architecture in world.
  • Borgund stave church - Norway, Sogn og Fjordane. The most authentic of stave churches. This unusul and beautiful wooden church is built at the end of the 12th century and has little changed or rebuilt since then.
  • Limburg Cathedral - Germany, Hesse. Most accomplished late Romanic style church, built sometimes around 1190 - 1235.
  • Amiens Cathedral - France, Somme. One of most impressive Gothic churches and churches in general in world. Built in 1220 - 1266.
  • Burgos Cathedral - Spain, Castile-Leon. One of the best Gothic style examples in church architecture, built in 1221 - 1567.
  • Westminster Abbey - United Kingdom, London. Royal church of United Kingdom with numerous art values. Built in 1245 - around 1745, mainly in Gothic style.
  • Cologne Cathedral - Germany, North Rhine - Westphalia. Very impressive Gothic cathedral with two 157 metres tall towers, built in 1248 - 1880.
  • Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi - Italy, Umbria. Pilgrimage site of global importance, built in 1253.
  • Orvieto Cathedral - Italy, Umbria. Splendid and unusual building, built in 1290 - 1591.
  • Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral) - Italy, Tuscany, Florence. One of most impressive churches in world, the largest building in medieval Europe. Built in 1296 - 1469.
  • Rheims Cathedral - France, Marne. One of the best examples of Gothic architecture, end of the 13th century.
  • Ulm Minster - Germany, Baden-Württemberg. The tallest church in world so far (before the completion of 170 metres high Sagrada Familia in Barcelona) - 161.53 metres. Built in beautiful Gothic forms in 1377 - 1890.
    Milan Cathedral, Italy
    Milan Cathedral, Italy / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Milan Cathedral - Italy, Lombardy. One the most impressive Gothic buildings in world, built in 1386 - 1965.
  • Katedrala Sv. Jakova - Croatia, Šibenik-Knin. Beautiful Renaissance cathedral, built in 1402 - 1555 without mortar, using joints and stocks made in stone.
  • Rosslyn Chapel - United Kingdom, Scotland, Midlothian. Construction of the extremely ornate and symbolically rich chapel started in 1456. Recently gained unexpected popularity due to speculative theories regarding Freemasonry and the Knights Templar.
  • St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican City. Best known of four ancient papal basilicas. Most important church in Christian history, with the largest interior of any church. Present basilica built in 1506 - 1626, represents one of the most important pieces of Renaissance architecture.
  • Curtea de Argeş Cathedral - Romania, Argeş. Unusual, large cathedral from the early 16th century. Resembles mausoleum in Byzantine style, adorned with Moorish arabesques.
  • Saint Basil's Cathedral - Russia, Moscow. Very ornate and unusual church built in 1555 - 1561.
  • Church of the Gesu - Italy, Rome. Mother church of Jesuit order. Built in 1568 - 1580, one of frontrunner of Baroque style in world with very ornate interior.
  • Sârbi Susani Church - Romania, Maramureş. Representative of traditional wooden churches of region, built around 1639, with conservative construction methods, using ancient ornamentation.
  • Ottobeuren Basilica, Germany
    Ottobeuren Basilica, Germany / Johannes Böckh & Thomas Mirtsch, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-3.0
    St Paul's Cathedral - United Kingdom, London. Important representation of Baroque style, built in 1708, one of largest churches in United Kindgom.
  • Transfiguration Church in Kizhi - Russia, Republic of Karelia. Unusual wooden church with 22 domes, built in 1714.
  • Ottobeuren Basilica - Germany, Bavaria. One of the most ornate Baroque and Rococo buildings in world, built in 1737-1766.
  • Sagrada Familia - Spain, Catalonia, Barcelona. Largest and by far - most impressive Art Nouveau church in world, designed by Antoni Gaudi, started in 1882, due to be completed in 2026.

Americas

  • Church and Convent of San Francisco, Quito - Ecuador, Pichincha, Quito. The largest historical church building in Americas, built in 1550 - 1680. This beautiful structure represents a harmonious blend of Renaissance, Mannerism and Baroque styles. Interior is sumptuous, with much gold and other precious materials.
  • Church of the Society of Jesus, Quito - Ecuador, Pichincha, Quito. One of the pearls of Baroque architecture in Americas, built in 1605 - 1765. Very ornate building with gold coated interior.
  • Hvalsey Fjord Church - Greenland, Kujalleq. Ruins of the oldest original church in Americas, built in the late 10th century by Vikings. Church was built from enormous stone blocks, some up to 5 tons heavy. Fell in disuse in the 15th century.
  • Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral - Mexico, Mexico City. Largest and oldest cathedral in Americas, built in lush Renaissance and Baroque style in 1573 - 1813.
  • Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos - Bolivia, Santa Cruz. 11 missions of Jesuits built churches in the 18th century. Comparatively small sized churches have specific, locally adapted design, are richly decorated and harmonious.
  • São Francisco Church and Convent - Brazil, Bahia, Salvador. Baroque church with extremely ornate design, built in 1708 - 1755.
  • Las Lajas Sanctuary - Colombia, Nariño. Beautiful Neo-Gothic cathedral, built in 1916 - 1949. Unusual due to its location over deep gorge where apparition of Virgin Mary happened.

Africa

Bete Giyorgis Church in Lalibela, Ethiopia
Bete Giyorgis Church in Lalibela, Ethiopia / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
  • The Hanging Church - Egypt, Cairo. Ancient Coptic church built over a passage of Roman fortress. Built probably in 690 - 692 AD, rebuilt numerous times. Contains 110 very valuable icons.
  • Lalibela churches - Ethiopia, Amhara. 11 monolithic Christian churches hewn underground from cliff in the 13th century.
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro - Côte d'Ivoire, Yamoussoukro. Largest church in world, one of newest basilicas, built in 1989, 158 metres high.

Other articles

Map of described churches

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