25 unique temples of the world
Architecture of Temples has a very rich and ambiguous history which, however, shows that it was from the construction of the temples all architectural innovations, all new styles and trends began and spread all over the world. Majestic places of worship of the great civilizations of the ancient world have survived. And also appeared quite a few modern examples of the amazing architecture of religious buildings.
The Lutheran Church in Reykjavik is the fourth tallest building in Iceland. The church was designed in 1937 by architect Gudjon Samuelson. It took 38 years to build the church. The church is located in the center of Reykjavik, and is visible from any part of the city. It has become one of the main attractions of the city, and it is also used as an observation tower.
One of the most visited temples in Colombia. Construction of the temple was completed in 1948. The neo-Gothic cathedral is built directly on a 30-meter arch bridge that connects the two sides of a deep ravine. Thus, the cathedral of Las Lajas has become a pledge of peace and union between the two South American peoples.
A concrete pilgrimage church built in 1950-55 in the French city of Ronchan. Architect Le Corbusier, who was not religious, agreed to take on the project on the condition that the Catholic Church would give him complete freedom of creative expression. Initially the substandard building provoked violent protests from locals who refused to supply water and electricity to the temple, but by now tourists coming to see it have become one of the main sources of income for the Ronschans.
Or the Church of the Merciful God the Father is a community center in Rome. It was built by architect Richard Meyer in 1996-2003 to revitalize the lives of area residents. The church is built of precast concrete on a triangular site at the edge of a city park surrounded by 10-story residential and public buildings with a population of about 30,000 residents.
The Orthodox Church is located on Red Square in Moscow. It is a widely known monument of Russian architecture and one of Russia’s most famous landmarks. It was built in 1555-1561 by order of Ivan the Terrible to commemorate his victory over the Kazan Khanate. According to legend, the architects of the cathedral were blinded by order of Ivan the Terrible, so they could not build another such temple.
The world famous fourth largest church in the world is located in the center of Milan and is its symbol. It is a late Gothic marvel that contains a whole forest of spires and sculptures, marble pointed turrets and columns. The white marble cathedral was built over five centuries.
The church in Barcelona, built with private donations since 1882, is a famous project by Antoni Gaudi. Its unusual appearance made it one of the main attractions of Barcelona. However, due to the complexity of making the stone structures, the cathedral will not be finished until 2026.
The dazzling white church is located on the Greek island of Mykonos. The temple was built in the 15th-17th centuries and consists of five separate churches: four churches are built on the ground, and the fifth is based on these four.
One of the oldest surviving frame churches is in Norway. Metal parts were not used during the construction of Borgund Stark. And the number of parts that make up the church exceeds 2 thousand. The strong skeleton of the columns was collected on the ground and then lifted in vertical position by means of long poles. Stavkirka in Borgunna was built presumably in 1150-80.
The Cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brasilia was built in the modernist style by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer. In 1988, Oscar Niemeyer was awarded the Pritzker Prize for the design of the Cathedral. The building consists of 16 hyperboloidal columns symbolizing arms raised to the sky. The space between the columns is closed by stained glass windows.
Lutheran Church in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is one of the city’s most famous churches and a rare example of a religious building built in the Expressionist style. The design competition for the future church was won in 1913 by the architect Peder Klint. Construction lasted from 1921 to 1926.
It is the highest Catholic cathedral in Latin America. Its height is 114 m + 10 m cross on top. The shape of the cathedral was inspired by the Soviet satellites. Don Jaime Luis Coelho proposed the original design of the cathedral, and the architect José Augusto Bellucci designed the cathedral. The cathedral was under construction from July 1959 to May 1972.
It is located in the Spanish city of Cordoba. The very young church was designed by the architectural bureau Vicens + Ramos last year according to all the rules of strict minimalist canons. The only deviation from the strict white color is the golden wall on the place of the altar.
The cave church, carved entirely into the rocks, is located in the Ethiopian town of Lalibela. The building is a cross of 25 meters by 25 meters and goes under the ground as much. This miracle was created in the 13th century by order of King Lalibela according to legend over 24 years. In total in Lalibela there are 11 churches completely carved in the rocks and connected with the tunnels.
The Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of St. Joseph in Chicago was built in 1956. It is world famous for its 13 golden domes that symbolize the 12 apostles and Jesus Christ.
The cathedral in the form of a concrete tent towers over the Italian city of Syracuse. In the middle of the last century, an elderly couple lived on the site of the cathedral who had a statue of the Madonna. Once the statuette began to “cry” human tears, pilgrims from all over the world rushed to the city. A huge cathedral was built in her honor, perfectly visible from anywhere in the city.
The cathedral of Sipaquira in Colombia is carved in solid salt rock. A dark tunnel leads to the altar. The cathedral is 23 m high and has a capacity of over 10,000 people.Historically, there was a mine used by Indians to get salt in this area. When that was no longer necessary, a temple appeared on the site of the mine.
Located in Colorado on the grounds of a military campus and training base of a branch of the U.S. Air Force Academy. The monumental profile of the chapel building is created by seventeen rows of steel frames ending in peaks about fifty meters high. The building is divided into three levels, and Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish services are held in its halls.
It is one of the oldest monasteries in Kiev. It includes the newly built St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Cathedral, a refectory with the Church of St. John the Evangelist and a bell tower. It is believed that St. Michael’s Cathedral was the first temple with a gilded top, where this peculiar tradition in Russia came from.
The wooden chapel is located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, United States. The chapel was erected in 1980 and was designed by architect E. Fay Jones. The building of the bright and spacious chapel has a total of 425 windows.
Lutheran Church in the Norwegian city of Tromsø. According to the architect’s idea, the exterior of the building, consisting of two merging triangular structures covered with aluminum plates, should evoke an association with an iceberg.
Painted churches are the most famous architectural landmarks in Moldova. The churches are decorated with frescoes both outside and inside. Each of these temples is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
A cultural center project in the capital of Albania, Tirana, which will include a mosque, an Islamic cultural center and a Museum of Religious Concord. The international competition for the project was won last year by the Danish architectural firm BIG.
The concrete chapel on the edge of a field near the German town of Mechernich was built by local farmers in honor of their patron saint, Bruder Klaus.
The Dutch philosopher Frank Los invented the inflatable Transparent Church, which can be erected anywhere in the world and under any conditions: at festivals, private parties, and other public events. The inflatable church could easily fit in the trunk of a car, and when unfolded, could accommodate about 30 parishioners.
Famous temples worth seeing
Milan Cathedral, the Taj Mahal and the Church of Hatlgrimskirkja are just some of the majestic buildings for which tourists travel around the world. Here are nine religious buildings you won’t want to miss.
Here are nine other places to go for architectural masterpieces.
Milan Cathedral (Italy)
Milan Cathedral is one of the most impressive Italian Gothic cathedrals and the largest in Europe. In terms of capacity it is second only to St. Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican and the Cathedral of Seville. Its main feature is the material of which it is built. The façade is made of white marble, which gives the massive structure a light and airy effect. The porous marble turns black very quickly because of dust and dirt, so it has to be cleaned all the time. Cathedral is one of the attractions of Milan, which has become a symbol of the city.
The temple complex is considered to be the most ancient Buddhist shrine and since 1991 it is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of Indonesian medieval architecture. Built in the 9th century, the temple gradually fell into disrepair until it finally disappeared under layers of volcanic ash and overgrowth. The interest in the forgotten sanctuary was manifested by the British who came to Java. The first excavations of Borobudur began in the XIX century, and the last restoration work ended in 1984. Today, the pyramid-shaped structure once again rises 30 meters above the ground and consists of nine tiers. At the very top is a large stupa, the center of energy and perfection.
Ulm Cathedral (Germany)
The highest church in Germany and Europe, contrary to popular belief, is not in Cologne, but in Ulm. The central tower of the Ulm Cathedral is 163 meters high. Its construction lasted more than 500 years and stopped many times. During this time the local parishioners who originally themselves collected funds for the erection of the church, had time to change Catholicism to Protestantism, and the cathedral lost its status as the bishop’s residence. The last stage of construction of this grandiose building was completed in the late 19th century. During the Second World War, the cathedral miraculously survived the bombing. Only the stained-glass windows were lost. Today they are being carefully restored from the surviving details.
Sagrada Familia (Spain)
The most important modern building in the Catholic world is scheduled to be completed by the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudi’s death in 2026. Once the 170-meter-high central tower is completed, Sagrada Familia will be the tallest cathedral in Europe. The temple is being built from plaster models of the famous Barcelona architect, as well as from photographs and publications of his original drawings. In 2016, it turned out that 137 years ago the City Hall never gave permission to build the cathedral, so the document was approved by the developer. In addition to the tax to be paid to the city budget, those responsible for the construction are obliged to improve the territory adjacent to the cathedral for $36 million.
Sheikh Zayd Mosque (UAE)
The most grandiose construction of the Muslim world was built literally by the whole planet. Above the project worked 3 thousand workers and 40 international companies. Marble was supplied from China and Italy, carpets from Iran, chandeliers from Austria and Germany, glass from India and Greece. It is not only the size of the mosque that impresses, but also its interior. The 15-meter chandelier that weighs 12 tons in the main prayer hall is included in the Guinness Book of Records for its size: its diameter is 10 meters. On the floor of one of the halls there is the biggest carpet in the world: 5 000 sq. m. Since 2008 part of the premises were opened to tourists, who can enter the mosque for free.
Due to its size Akshardham is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest Hindu temple in the world. It was opened in 2005 with donations from all over India. Akshardham is built of pink sandstone and lined with marble inside. The halls are decorated with 20,000 statues of deities. In the central part of the temple is a golden statue of the founder of the religious current to which the monumental complex belongs. The main building is 42 m high, surrounded by gardens with ponds covering an area of 12 hectares. It is free to enter, but tourists are required to surrender all equipment at the entrance, because it is forbidden to take pictures.
The Lutheran Church in the center of Reykjavik can be seen from anywhere in the city. The 75-meter building is the fourth tallest in Iceland. The construction of the project, which began in 1937, was completed 50 years later. According to the architect’s idea, the shape of the building with the upwardly pointing bell tower above the main entrance is to resemble an eruption of lava from a volcano’s mouth. Not everyone who sees the temple agrees with this comparison: some claim it looks more like a stalagmite, while others think it resembles the magical tower from Tolkien’s works. Tourists and parishioners can climb to the top of the Hatlgrimskirkja bell tower, where there is an observation deck.
St. James’ Cathedral (Spain)
The giant cathedral in northern Spain is one of the historic centers of pilgrimage and the site of the relics of the Apostle James. The building was built from the ninth to the eighteenth century and combines Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architecture. Four different facades show traces of reconstruction, but somewhere the exterior has remained almost untouched from the Middle Ages. One of the main attractions of the cathedral is a huge censer the size of a human being. It is lowered from the ceiling on feast days, and is swung by eight ministers in special scarlet robes.
This majestic temple-mausoleum was built in the 17th century in memory of the last wife of the Indian Shah Jahan. The architecture of the building combines elements of Persian, Central Asian and Islamic styles. Despite its massive size, the temple looks almost weightless thanks to the many water channels in the adjacent park. Its reflection in the water gives the impression of floating above the ground. The marble veneer of the building changes color at different times of day: under the bright sun the cathedral is white, at sunset it is pink, and in the moonlit night it is silver. By the beginning of the 21st century, the stone had become very black from dirt and exhaust fumes. Workers used a composition of a cosmetic mask to clean it: a mixture of earth, cereal grits, milk and lemon. To prevent subsequent darkening of the marble, local authorities allowed only eco-friendly vehicles to pass near the temple.