Cathedrals are some of the most interesting structures known to man, with some located in every corner of the globe. These buildings were built for religious worship and devotion. Cathedrals generally took several years to complete as well as a lot of cash, some even taking centuries, making these some of the most fascinating structures in the world.
They were mostly built on command of kings or leaders, showing the historic presence of religion in government. Even though the support for churches seems to have declined with the current generation, Cathedrals continue to be some of the most incredible architectural pieces to exist. Here are 10 of the most beautiful Cathedrals to add to your tourist check-list.
10 The Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore
This Cathedral in Florence, Italy was designed by Arnolfo Di Cambio. It’s the 3rd largest church in the world, measuring 153 meters long and 90 meters wide. This Cathedral was built in honor of Santa Maria Del Fiore, the virgin of the flower. The different styles seen in the design of this Cathedral is mainly due to the large time gap between the starting date in 1296 and the date of completion in 1436. This Cathedral is not only beautiful but a physical representation of the progression of architecture in that time period.
9 The Church of Hallgrimur
Designed by Guojón Samúelsson in 1937, this Cathedral in Iceland was inspired by the process of cooling of lava into basalt rock. Iceland is usually a popular tourist destination for its natural environment and is home to not only active volcanoes but some of the largest glaciers in Europe.
The Church of Hallgrimur is the main landmark of Reykjavík. This Cathedral took 41 years to build between the years of 1945 and 1986. The time period it was built in heavily affected its design. Its unique architecture is not traditional, but beautiful all the same as it stands out against the others.
8 Saint Basil’s Cathedral
This colorful Cathedral in Moscow was built between the years of 1554 and 1561 on the demand of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. It has 9 individual chapels. The colors of the Cathedral were painted based on the colors used to describe heaven in the book of Revelation. While mostly used as a tourist attraction in the 1900s to today, every October Saint Basil’s holds a service to commemorate the Day of Intercession.
In 1990, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Russia has 16 cultural sites including Saint Basil’s Cathedral.
7 St. Patrick’s Cathedral
This Cathedral in New York celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2019. Built between 1858 and 1879, this Cathedral was made possible by citizens and poor immigrants who donated to help the construction.
St. Patrick’s is an active church and continues to be a place of worship, holding masses and confessions. This Cathedral opens its doors to the public as an invitation to participate in its mission. Every year, more than a million prayer candles are lit, showing how active the church’s population continues to be. Its beautiful exterior matches the beauty of the mission this church continues to follow.
6 Brasilia Cathedral
This stunning 131-foot design by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer has a hyperboloid shape, not common in the typical architecture of Brazil. It features a famous stained glass ceiling that adds tradition to the striking structure it belongs to. The construction of this Cathedral ended in 1968. The inside of this cathedral has hanging angel statues as well as sculptures of Luke, John, Mark, and Matthew. The details and work that went into putting this structure together took years and lots of effort to produce, which shows in its end result.
5 León Cathedral
Also called The House Of Light, this Cathedral is located in the city of León in Spain. Spain is predominately Catholic Christian, meaning it’s loitered with churches all over the country. Although nothing compares to León Cathedral. This is any Architecture buff’s dream! Its Gothic-style architecture reflects the time period it was built in. With traditional stained-glass windows and rich, gold sandstone, this Cathedral is the perfect historical structure to visit while in Spain. León Cathedral’s history lies in its walls which have been standing for many years.
4 Winchester Cathedral
Winchester Cathedral is one of the largest and oldest cathedrals in Europe. It is one of the most significant structures in all of the United Kingdom because of it’s long and rich history. Built on the orders of William the Conqueror in 1079, Winchester Cathedral continues to be a place of worship and religion to this person day. Many famous locals were buried in Winchester Cathedral such as Jane Austen as well as former kings of England and Cnut the Great who was also king of England, Denmark, Norway and parts of Sweden.
3 Notre-Dame Cathedral
This stunning Cathedral in Paris, France is known to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe. Built in honor of the Virgin Mary in 1163, construction continued for another 200 years or so.
After surviving so much history through the centuries it lived through, it shockingly caught fire in April of 2019. Many people around the world were devastated to see this building burn considering its long history and the beautiful architecture it brought to Paris. It was not only a tourist attraction but a place where many sought peace and clarity.
2 Duomo Di Milano
This Milan Cathedral was dedicated to St. Mary. This large and intricately designed church took over 6 centuries to complete. On the top of this Cathedral sits a sculpture of the Madonna. This extremely detailed structure truly makes it an artistic wonder above all else. The rooftop is open to the public where you can view the entirety of Milan at once. While being a huge tourist attraction, it is also still first and foremost a place of religion and is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, Mario Delpini.
1 Saint Charles Cathedral
This Cathedral in Vienna, Austria has a unique mix of architectural styles including Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Renaissance and Baroque styles. The Cathedral was announced in 1713, shortly after the Black Plague’s presence in Europe. The Fresco of the dome, painted by Johann Michael Rottmayr and Gaetano Fanti, depicts St. Borromeo, the Latin archbishop of Milan in the late 1500s, begging Jesus Christ to end of the plague that was dangerously present in Vienna. This dome is located at the main altar, making the history and mission of this Cathedral the point of interest.