Christianity is a religious faith that has triggered the building of some of the world’s largest and most magnificent places of worship.
Travelling the European continent one cannot avoid entering a city of some size, and there they have it: A cathedral, often in Gothic style, located in the very centre with open space around it. Every so often this cathedral has been designated by the Euro-centrist UNESCO World Heritage Committee as a World Heritage Site.
Here is my collection of huge European cathedrals.
View of the Square and Rome from the top of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican
St Peter’s is in the Vatican. This is the largest and by far the most impressive church. And it should be, housing the bishop of Rome, heir to Peter who was the foremost pupil of Jesus Christ himself.
There are a number of Gothic styled cathedrals/monasteries in Portugal, enhanced by local architectural styles. The ones in Batalha, Alcobaca and Jeronimos are all wonderful churches. The picture below is from a side entrance to another World Heritage cathedral on the Iberian peninsula. This is the cathedral of Seville, in neighbouring Spain. Spain also hosts Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, also a WHC Site.
Portal of the Cathedral of Sevilla, Spain
Westminster Abbey in the UK is part of the Westminster complex. It is world famed for its marriages, funerals and crowning ceremonies. I enjoyed the lovely evensong one beautiful spring afternoon. The featured image on top of this blog post is the York Minster, further north in England.
Westminster Abbey, London UK
The cathedrals of Reims and Notre Dame (France) and Cologne in Germany are also large, splendid in one way and a bit too overwhelming in another way.
Of a quite different character, when it comes to World Heritage Sites in Europe, are the nice little churches of Wieskirche in Germany and Urnes in Norway. The former’s interior decorations are incredible, the latter’s exterior is unique.
Ceiling detail of the Wieskirche, Germany
Stave church of Urnes, Norway
And then, the onion domes of the Christian Orthodox churches of Russia. The town of Sergiev Posad and the churches in the Kremlin are both World Heritage Sites. And so is the St Basil’s Cathedral on the Red Square in Moscow, right outside the Kremlin. They are absolutely amazing places to visit. In my opinion the Greek onion top churches or chapels have a lovely appearance as well, just have a look at picture below. (Not a WHC Site though.)
Onion gold domes on the Cathedral of the Annunciation, inside the Kremlin, Russia
Belltower and onion dome of a Greek Orthodox church on the island of Schinoussa in the Cyclades
Browsing this travel blog one may also find three World Heritage Sites that are located outside Europe. Read about the churches of Chiloé and about the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The third is Göreme (Turkey) with a large number of churches dug into the rocks, pictured here.
From a small area with 365 churches (caves) – This is one of the largest. Göreme, Turkey
Articles about religious buildings:
Theme I, Places of worship:
(2) Christian places of worship
(3) Muslim places of worship
(4) Buddhist places of worship
(5) Other contemporary places of worship
(6) Places of worship for extinct religions
Theme II, Monasteries and educational institutions (chapter 7) Read
Theme III, Housing for the deity itself or its premier representatives (chapter 8) Read
Theme IV, After death (chapters 9-12) Read the first
Click to enlarge the following images tagged “church”: