32 spectacular places of worship around the world

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde

The most impressive religious sites on Earth

Places of worship, sacred places, churches, cathedrals, temples and other religious edifices are always considered among the most interesting monuments and places when visiting a city. Special attention is always paid to their architecture, beauty and uniqueness. There are two ways to find a spectacular religious site: often, these places have passed through centuries of history to present themselves to us as a witness to the past; but those built recently impress us with their new architecture that stands out from the usual lines.

A place of worship is also remarkable for its location. You’ll see that some of them were built in impressive locations. We’ve rounded up 32 places of worship around the world that stand out from the crowd!

Stavkirke in Borgund, Norway

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Borgund church is the best-preserved standing wooden church (Stavkirke) in Norway. The trees used for its construction were felled during the winter of 1180-1181. The church was therefore probably built before 1200. It is also the oldest wooden building in Norway.

Taktshang Monastery, Bhutan

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Taktshang is Bhutan’s most famous Buddhist monastery. It clings to a cliff at an altitude of 3,120 metres, some 700 metres above the Paro valley. Just 300 metres from the monastery is the « Tiger’s Lair », a hermitage where a monk isolates himself for three years.

Santa María Magdalena Monastery, Novelda, Spain

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The Santa María Magdalena sanctuary, built in the 19th century by José Salas (1918-1946), a disciple of Antoni Gaudí who drew inspiration for his design from Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia, is one of Novelda’s most important heritage features.

Duomo (or Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin), Milan, Italy

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The Duomo, or Milan Cathedral, is the third largest church in Europe (after St. Peter’s in Rome and Seville Cathedral). Construction began in 1386, but took almost 500 years. 135 spires and 3,200 statues adorn the cathedral’s roof, on which you can climb for a superb view of the Piazza del Duomo and the rest of Milan.

Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, Bled, Slovenia

Eglise Lac de Bled

Cadet Chapel of the US Air Force Military Academy, Colorado Springs, USA

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde

Comprising 17 aluminum spires, each 45 m high, this cathedral houses a Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and multi-faith chapel. Every day, at 11:35 a.m., the 4,000 cadets (academy students) parade through the square at the foot of the chapel to go to lunch.

Chipkan Memorial Temple, Bulgaria

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The Chipka Monastery boasts a 51-meter-high bell tower with a total of 17 bells, the largest of which weighs 12 tons.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde It’s not called « Grand » for nothing. This mosque can hold around 40,000 worshippers, boasts 82 domes, over 1,000 columns, and the world’s largest handmade carpet.

San Agustín Church, Paoay, Philippines

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde One of the few remaining Baroque churches in the country, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. Completed in 1710, the church is known for its distinctive architecture, characterized by huge buttresses on the sides and rear of the building.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, Australia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde This is the largest and most important church in Australia.

St. Elisabeth Church, Bratislava, Slovakia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Also known as « the blue church », for obvious reasons, the façade and decorations are blue, and the interior is richly decorated, with benches… blue.

The cardboard church in Christchurch, New Zealand

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde This temporary church was built after the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, damaged the city’s cathedral. Intended to replace the neo-Gothic Anglican church destroyed in 2011, the building is designed to last 50 years. The cardboard building, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, thus appears as a symbol of the city’s recovery.

Basilica of Our Lady of Altagracia, Higüey, Dominican Republic

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The Basilica of Higuey is dedicated to the cult of the country’s patron saint, the Virgin of Altagracia (Nuestra Señora de Altagracia), who is said to have appeared to Christopher Columbus’s soldiers. Believers come from all 4 corners of the country and take part in impressive processions on January 21.

Kiji Pogost (Church of the Transfiguration), Russia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The 22-domed, 37-meter-high church made entirely of wood is one of the tallest log structures in the world. Legend has it that the Church of the Transfiguration in Kiji was built using a single axe (it’s built without nails), which the craftsman then threw into the lake. In reality, there are a few nails, but only in the upper part.

Green Church, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde

Saint Andrew’s Church, Kiev, Ukraine

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde A masterpiece of Rococo art, this church is considered one of the most beautiful in Kiev. It was built in 1755 by the Italian architect Francesco Rastrelli. It is one of many magnificent churches in Kiev.

Mormon Temple, San Diego, USA

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The San Diego Mormon Temple is a temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located near La Jolla, in San Diego, California.

Crystal Mosque, Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Located on an artificial island and inaugurated in 2008, this mosque is made of steel and glass, giving it the appearance of being made of crystal. Blending tradition and modernity, Malaysia’s Cristal Mosque blends perfectly with its surroundings.

Dutch Reformed Church, Graaff-Reinet, South Africa

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The church is located right in the center of town and is the fourth to be built on the same site. It is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in South Africa. Its pulpit and organ are well worth a look. The treasury, housed in the sacristy, features a collection of silver goblets.

Mount Popa Buddhist Monastery, Burma

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Perched on top of a neck (volcano) at an altitude of almost 760 metres, the monastery can be reached by climbing a 777-step staircase. But keep an eye out for the hundreds of monkeys that might steal food from your bags as you climb.

Qolsharif Mosque, Kazan, Russia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The Qolşärif (or Kul-Sharif) Mosque is a religious building in the kremlin of the city of Kazan, Russia. At the time of its construction, it was reputed to be the largest mosque in Europe behind those in Istanbul.

Little chapel, Guernsey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde This is perhaps the smallest chapel in the world, and is beautifully and richly decorated with shells, pebbles and colorful pieces of broken porcelain.

Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Jerusalem, Israel

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde This Russian Orthodox church is a distinctive Jerusalem landmark with its seven golden domes glinting in the sunlight on the Mount of Olives. The church is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, a disciple of Jesus who is said to have been the first to see him after his resurrection.

Annunciation Cathedral, Kharkiv, Ukraine

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The grandiose Cathedral of the Annunciation, located in the city’s historic center, attracts visitors with its original forms and unusual « striped » brickwork, and is one of Kharkiv’s most beautiful temples.

Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde For the people of India, the lotus flower signifies purity and peace. It’s one of the most visited religious buildings in the world. It’s a monument open to all faiths. Quite apart from its religious character, this remarkable architectural work has won numerous awards.

Collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant, Belgium

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Located on the banks of the Meuse, this is one of the most representative monuments of 13th-century Gothic architecture.

Hallgrímskirkja Church, Reykjavik, Iceland

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Construction of Iceland’s largest church began in 1945 and took almost 38 years. The church is made of concrete and its spire measures 75m. Its architecture is reminiscent of basalt organs, which are found in large numbers in Iceland.

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Built in the early 1600s, this mosque is famous for its cascading domes and 6 minarets. Most mosques have a maximum of 4, and only the Sacred Mosque of Mecca has seven.

Monastery of Saint Michael the Golden Dome, Kiev, Ukraine

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde The monastery is located on the west bank of the Dnieper, on the edge of a steep rock face, northeast of St. Sophia Cathedral. The building is located in the « Upper Town », Kiev’s historic core and administrative district, and overlooks the city’s commercial center, the Podol district. Construction began in 1713.

Trinity Church, Antarctica

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde This Russian Orthodox church was built in Russia in the 1990s and transported to the Russian Antarctic Station. It is one of seven churches in Antarctica.

Cathedral of St. Basil the Blessed, Moscow, Russia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde Located on Moscow’s Red Square, this cathedral was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible and built in the mid-1500s.

Sanctuary of Las Lajas, Colombia

Lieux de culte et sites religieux les plus spectaculaires au monde This neo-Gothic church is located near the border with Ecuador, on a 46-metre bridge over a river. The church straddles a gorge, on the very spot where a mute girl miraculously regained her ability to speak.

Which of these buildings impressed you the most?

Source photos : Distractify