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World’s Most Magnificent Churches

When building a church to worship God it better be...well, magnificent. Some of the best artistic work has flowed from a desire to please God. After all, if making a masterpiece for the Big Guy doesn’t motivate you, what will? The guy who created endless worlds. The guy who gave us life, pizza, and big screens. He set the bar high. While we fall short, sometimes we get pretty close to touching the divine.

daisy.images | Flickr

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome

Would a list be complete without the world’s largest church? St. Peter’s Basilica is the crown jewel of the Catholic religion. The legend goes that St. Peter, one of the original apostles of Christ, was buried in the dome. It took over 100 years of sweat to finish. [Details]

Simon & Camera | Flickr

Westminster Abbey, London

If you ever want to feel really small, Westminster Abbey is the final resting place of 17 different monarchs. If kings aren’t your cup of tea, the Poet’s Corner will crush any hopes you had of becoming a great author. Over 100 brilliant writers are buried or commemorated here. Geoffery Chaucer, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare to name just a few. [Details]

McKay Savage | Flickr

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, Cundinamarca, Colombia

While traveling with the Fellowship through the Mines of Moria may be impossible, we all can do the second best thing -- visit the Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira. 14 small chapels were built 200 meters deep inside a salt mine. Connected by tunnels, each chapel represents moments in Christ’s life. [Details]

Dennis Jarvis | Flickr

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

It took 2 men with expertise in 3 scientific fields to design the complex, Hagia Sophia. Built in 360, the Hagia Sophia has been burned to the ground, destroyed by riots, and crushed by earthquakes. Talk about your terrible luck. When Muhammad prophesied that the first Muslim to pray here would go straight to paradise this destination became a hot spot for the religion ever since. [Details]

barnyz | Flickr

Milan Cathedral, Milan

The Milan Cathedral took 600 years to complete. Construction began in 1386 under Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo (possibly the same year an asteroid struck earth and obliterated the dinosaurs). If being one of the oldest churches in the world doesn’t impress you, it is also one of the largest. Napoleon was crowned king of Italy here. [Details]

tiny_packages | Flickr

Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury

Canterbury is the holy grail of Christian churches in England. But not everything that happened inside these walls was holy. In 1170 King Henry II sent 2 assassins to kill Thomas Becket in the cathedral itself. The force of the blade split Becket’s skull in half, afterward cracking from contact with the stone floor. Talk about anger management. [Details]

Lisa Hackett | Flickr

The Sistine Chapel, Rome

They told him to paint the ceiling white. Michelangelo kind of scrapped that idea and flew by the seat of his own pants. His art depicts scenes from Genesis including the creation. Contrary to popular belief, Michelangelo painted while standing, often craning his body like a sly fox. [Details]

United States Air Force Academy Cadet Cathedral, Colorado Springs

Built a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (aka 1962) this cathedral became a National Historic Landmark in 2004. Shaped like an Imperial Starship, this unique design contains 17 different spires. The giant worship area includes Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic chapels. [Details]

zoetnet | Flickr

Borgund Stave Church, Norway

Looks like a building straight out of the Hobbit. The Borgund Stave Church was made from wooden staves around 1180 AD. Out of all 28 different stave churches in Norway, the Borgund is the best preserved. [Details]

Hope you enjoyed this post of the world’s most unique churches. Which is your favorite?


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