30 Magnificent Churches of the World – A 360° Virtual Tour

1. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica (Italian: San Pietro in Vaticano) is a major basilica in Vatican City, an enclave of Rome. St. Peter’s was until recently the largest church ever built and it remains one of the holiest sites in Christendom. Contrary to what one might reasonably assume, St. Peter’s is not a cathedral – that honor in Rome goes to St. John Lateran.

2. The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, Paris (Sacré-Cœur)

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica and often simply Sacré-Cœur, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris.

3. Westminster Abbey, London

Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s great churches, with a history stretching back over a thousand years and an essential part of any trip to London. Westminster Abbey is in the heart of London – next to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.


4. Cologne Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

The Gothic cathedral dominates the skyline of Cologne and is one of Germany’s most famous landmarks. It is also one of the most beautiful examples of Gothic and Neo-Gothic architecture in the world. Building of the Cologne Cathedral was commenced in 1248, it took over 600 years to complete but the cathedral still dominates the skyline of the city.

Currently the cathedral is the seat of the Archibishop of Cologne and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996.


5. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia

One of the most outstanding architectural monuments in the world is a Roman Catholic basilica, near the Colombian city of Ipiales, not far from the border with Ecuador. The fascinating thing about this place is that it was built inside the canyon where the Guitara River flows. Las Lajas Cathedral, also known as “Las Lajas Sanctuary”, is at 100 meters high from the bottom of the canyon, being connected with a 50 meters tall bridge to the other side of the ravine.

6. Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The Church of the Nativity is a basilica located in Bethlehem, Palestine. The church was originally commissioned in 327 by Constantine the Great and his mother Helena over the site that was traditionally considered to be located over the cave that marks the birthplace of Jesus.

7. Cathedral of Brazilia, Brazil

The Metropolitan Cathedral, or Cathedral of Brasilia, is one of many public buildings designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, 60th in the Brazilian capital. The cathedral is located in the capital of the Federal Republic of Brazil. Brasilia, built in a central desert area of a continent and country, remains the youngest capital of South America and a large open-air exhibition of the works of Oscar Niemeyer.

8. Borgund Stave Church, Norway

Borgund Stave Church was built around 1180 and is dedicated to the Apostle Andrew. The church is exceptionally well preserved and is one of the most distinctive stave churches in Norway. Some of the finest features are the lavishly carved portals and the roof carvings of dragons’s heads. The stavchurches are Norway’s most important contribution to world architecture and Norway’s oldest preserved timber buildings.

9. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Notre-Dame de Paris, also called Notre-Dame Cathedral, cathedral church in Paris, France. It is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages and is distinguished for its size, antiquity, and architectural interest. Notre-Dame lies at the eastern end of the Île de la Cité and was built on the ruins of two earlier churches, which were themselves predated by a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter.

10. Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen, Poland

The shrine was established in connection with the Marian apparitions of the 19th century, and the basilica built in Lichen in 2004 is currently Poland’s largest church. The Madonna gazing down from the miraculous picture is the only one that embraces Poland’s emblem, the white eagle.

11. Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian better known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro or as the Cathedral of St. Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro.

12. St. Sophia Cathedral, Kiev, Ukraine

Kyiv’s oldest standing church, St. Sophia’s was built in 1037 by Prince Yaroslav the Wise, who incidentally was laid to rest inside. He commissioned the project to commemorate the site of a victory of Kyivan Rus over the Pechenegs (Asian nomadic tribes) and to glorify Christianity. It was named after the famous St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Constantinople. This majestic 13-cupola sanctuary adjoined Yaroslav’s Palace and became a holy place of worship for Kyivites as well as a political and cultural centre.

13. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Hagia Sophia is a great architectural beauty and an important monument both for Byzantine and for Ottoman Empires. Once a church, later a mosque, and now a museum at the Turkish Republic, Hagia Sophia has always been the precious of its time.

14. St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Bulgaria

Named after St. Alexander Nevski, a Russian Tsar who saved Russia from invading Swedish troops in 1240 and the patron saint of Tsar Alexander II, who was also referred to as Bulgaria’s Tsar Osvoboditel (Liberator), since it was his troops that finally brought about Bulgaria’s liberation from Ottoman rule. The foundation stone of Sofia’s biggest church was laid in 1882.

15. St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is the seat of the Bishop of London and a major London landmark. It is located on Ludgate Hill in the financial district known as the City of London.

The present St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was built between 1675 and 1710, is the fourth cathedral to occupy the site, which was sacred even before Christianity arrived- The cathedral’s immediate predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666

16. Chapel of the Holy Cross, Arizona

The Chapel of the Holy Cross is a Roman Catholic chapel built into the buttes of Sedona, Arizona, run by the Diocese of Phoenix, as a part of St. John Vianney Parish in Sedona.

17. St. Patricks Cathedral, New York

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, situated on posh Fifth Avenue near Rockefeller Center, is actually the “new” St. Patrick’s. The original church opened in 1815 on Mulberry Street in lower Manhattan. During the next several decades, the Catholic population of New York City continued to rise, and in 1853, Archbishop John Hughes declared that the city’s faithful should have a new place to worship.

18. Hallgrimskirkja, Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 73 metres high, it is the largest church in Iceland and among the tallest structures in Iceland. Its 73-metre-high tower provides a wonderful 360° view over all Reykjavík, the mountains around and the ocean streaching west to Greenland and the Americas. Because of this, the tower is among the most visited tourist destinations in Reykjavík.

19. Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York City

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, officially the Cathedral Church of Saint John: The Great Divine in the City and Diocese of New York, is the cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City is the largest cathedral in the world (St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is larger, but it’s not a cathedral).

20. Chartres Cathedral, France

The Chartres Cathedral is probably the finest example of French Gothic architecture and said by some to be the most beautiful cathedral in France.

The Chartres Cathedral is a milestone in the development of Western architecture because it employs all the structural elements of the new Gothic architecture: the pointed arch; the rib-and-panel vault; and, most significantly, the flying buttress.

21. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The Sagrada Familia is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona. The church is such a huge size, so they often referred it as “cathedral”, but without having a bishop’s seat. Pope Benedict XVI. inaugurated the Sagrada Familia on November 7, 2010. The church building is raised to a basilica.

22. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral is the largest and the most important temple in Prague. Apart from religious services, coronations of Czech kings and queens also took place here. The cathedral is a place of burial of several patron saints, sovereigns, noblemen and archbishops.

23. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia, was built by Ivan the Terrible between 1555 and 1561. According to legend, the builder of this cathedral was blinded so that such a beautiful structure could never be built again. The cathedral is vividly colorful and contains redbrick towers that add to its beauty. The church’s design consists of nine chapels, each mounted with its individual dome that marks the assault on the city of Kazan.

24. Florence Cathedral, Florence

The typical Italian Gothic building, the Cathedral of Florence, is dedicated to “Santa Maria del Fiore”. The church was designed by Arnolfo di Cambio (c1245-1302) who considerably enlarged the existing religious structure. Finished around 1367, the Cathedral was completely covered by coloured marbles like the earlier Baptistery, except for the façade that remained unfinished and was terminated only in the 19th century.

25. Milan Cathedral, Milan

Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of Milan, Italy. Dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete.

26. United States Air Force Academy Cadet Cathedral, Colorado Springs

The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel, completed in 1962, is the distinguishing feature of the Cadet Area at the United States Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs. It was designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago. Construction was accomplished by Robert E. McKee, Inc., of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Originally controversial in its design, the Cadet Chapel has become a classic and highly regarded example of modernist architecture. The Cadet Chapel was awarded the American Institute of Architects’ National Twenty-five Year Award in 1996 and, as part of the Cadet Area, was named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 2004.

27. Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral was one of the most important centres of pilgrimage in Medieval England. There has been a cathedral at Canterbury since 597 when St. Augustine baptised the Saxon king Ethelbert. The Archbishop of Canterbury was the most senior religious figure in the land and he was based at the cathedral. While the cathedral had huge significance at both a religious and political level in medieval times, its importance as a centre of pilgrimage greatly increased after the murder of Thomas Becket there in 1170.

28. Mont St. Michel Abbey, France

The Mont Saint Michel Abbey is located within the city and island of Mont-Saint-Michel in Lower Normandy, in the department of Manche. The abbey is an essential part of the structural composition of the town the feudal society constructed.

29. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna, Austria

St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) is not only the main Roman Catholic church in Vienna – and the seat of the city’s Archbishop – it’s also one of Austria’s most popular attractions, welcoming more than a million guests each year. With its 137-meter-high spire and richly decorated roof, it’s the city’s most important Gothic edifice and represents eight centuries of architectural history.

30. Rouen Cathedral, Rouen, France

Rouen Cathedral (La cathédrale primatiale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption de Rouen) is one of the most impressive Gothic churches ever built. Construction dragged on for three centuries allowing all forms of the Gothic spectrum from early to high, flamboyant and late to feature in the main structures. The spire is even Neo Gothic – added in the 19th century, it is the tallest church tower in France. The dukes of Normandy were traditionally crowned here and several are buried in the cathedral, including the heart of Richard the Lion Heart. Joan of Arc was put on trial in the bishops’ palace. The church has some stained-glass windows from the early-13th century and the oldest recumbent tomb statue in France.


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