Mexico City’s mammoth cathedral was built across three centuries (1573–1813)—starting soon after Cortés and his allies vanquished the Aztec Empire—using stones taken from a destroyed indigenous temple. Today’s sanctuary serves up contrasts between unadorned neoclassical walls alongside exuberant gilt chapels and altarpieces as well as a massive pipe organ, with some baroque elements, that’s still dusted off and played from time to time. Be sure not to miss the high altar, and consider shelling out for a visit to the sacristy, with its glistening dome, grand canvases, and massive cabinets, fit to hold an archbishop’s entire stock of holy utensils. And for a queasy view of how much the ground beneath the city is sinking, note how chandeliers appear to list in comparison to the chapel’s vertical lines.
St. Basil’s Cathedral is Moscow’s most famous artistic work of architecture. Also called "Pokrovsky Cathedral" or "The Cathedral of Intercession of the Virgin by the Moat", it is the most recognizable Russian building. This Cathedral is to the Russians what the Eiffel Tower is to the French, an honorable symbol of their past, present, and future.
The cathedral stands on the Red Square, facing the Ivory Gate Chapel. The St. Basil's Cathedral history started in 1555 by the order of Ivan IV ("Ivan the Terrible") in celebration of the defeat of Kazan, the last remaining grip of the Mongol Empire on European lands.
Today there are more than 400 icons painted between the 14th and 19th centuries by the most famous schools of Novgorod and Moscow hanging on the walls.
A narrow pathway leads you from one alter to another, passing through a wooden spiral staircase so well hidden in a wall, that it was only found during the 1970 restoration of the cathedral. Taking in the medieval aura and mystical spirituality of St. Basil’s imbues visitors with what can only be described as a quintessential Russian experience.
The history of the Cathedral of São Paulo goes back in time to 1589, when it was decided that a main church (the Matriz) would be built in the small village of São Paulo.
The Cathedral is the largest church in the city of São Paulo: 111 metres long, 46 metres wide, with the two flanking towers reaching a height of 92 metres. The Cathedral is a Latin cross church with a five-aisled nave and a dome that reaches 30 metres over the crossing. Although the building in general is Neo-Gothic, the dome is inspired by the Renaissance dome of the Cathedral of Florence.
The cathedral’s organ, built in 1954 by the Italian firm Balbiani & Rossi, is one of the largest in Latin America. It has five keyboards, 329 stops, 120 registers, and 12,000 pipes, the mouths of which display hand-engraved reliefs in Gothic style.
Süleymaniye Mosque built on top of the third hill of historical Istanbul is one of the biggest mosques of the city.
The truly staggering size of the Süleymaniye Camii (Suleymaniye Mosque) is one of its most distinctive features – built by the legendary architect, Mimar Sinan, it is known as one of his masterpieces, and his largest design. It is not just the awe-inspiring size that is impressive (the central dome stands 47m high), but also the elegantly decorated interior. The sense of space and light is emphasized the supporting semi-domes to the northwest and southeast and the monumental arched spaces to the southwest and northeast.
St. Patrick's Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Archdiocese of New York and the seat of the Archbishop. Located on Fifth Avenue, across from Rockefeller Center, the sanctuary is the largest Gothic Catholic cathedral in the US. This international landmark, dedicated in 1879, welcomes more than five million visitors each year. With its 330-foot spires, it is one of the City's most spectacular architectural sights. Inside, it boasts a seating capacity of 2,400, numerous altars and stained glass windows, and a giant organ with 7,855 pipes.
It’s become something of a cliché – a sad one at that – but we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: there’s much more to Egypt than Ancient Egyptian antiquities. Granted, the Zabaleen area of Mokattam receives its fare share of attention for its sheer uniqueness, but one particular feature often goes unnoticed – St. Samaan Church.
The church is named after Samaan Al Kharaz (Simon the Ranner), who, according to the tradition, performed a miracle in moving the mountain to help Abraam – Pope of the Egyptian Church – prove his faith to a Jewish grand vizier. The areas of the mountain around the church also feature a number of carvings. These carvings were done by a Polish artist in 1995 and was commissioned by the church’s founder, Samaan Ibrahim. In addition to the church itself – which can seat up to 1000 people – the monastery also include a library, children’s playground and a cafeteria.
Built in 1862 and promoted to main church a year later, the Saint Anthony of Jacutinga Cathedral is in the middle of busy Nova Iguaçu's downtown area. Festivities in honor of the city's patron saint are held there, in June.
The magnificent dome of the Cathedral Church (Berliner Dom) is one of the main landmarks in Berlin’s cityscape – and marks the spot of the impressive basilica housing the city’s most important Protestant church. With its elaborate decorative and ornamental designs, the church interior is especially worth seeing.
Yet although the church is known as a cathedral, it actually has the status of a parish church – though not just any parish. This was the court church to the Hohenzollern dynasty, the rulers of Prussia and later the German Emperors. Today, as the High Parish and Cathedral Church, the church serves the Protestant community in Berlin and the surrounding areas. The congregation is not based on place of residence, but open through admission to all baptised Protestants in the region.
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest temples for Christendom and one of the largest churches in the world. Besides, it is where the Pope presides many liturgies all year round.
The construction of the new basilica began in 1506, when the old basilica had been torn down, and was finished in 1626. It was consecrated on 18 November, 1626. Several renowned architects designed the temple, highlighting the works of Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno.
The basilica was called St Peter’s after one of Jesus’s twelve disciples known as Saint Peter, who became one of the founders of the Catholic Church and was executed in Rome and buried where the Basilica now stands.
Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is an unforgettable experience when staying in Rome. Visitors mustn’t miss out on climbing to the top of the dome, where a stunning view of St Peter’s Square, and if the day is clear of most of the city, awaits them.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, is the most visited monument in France. It was built in the Middle Ages, at the far end of the Île de la Cité. Work started in the 13th century and finished in the 15th century. Badly damaged during the French Revolution, the cathedral was restored in the 19th century by the architect Viollet-le-Duc. Its many visitors come to admire its stained glass and rose windows, the towers, the steeple and the gargoyles. They can also discover the Notre-Dame treasury and have a go at climbing the towers to enjoy a panoramic view of Paris. In 2013, Notre-Dame is celebrated its 850th anniversary. For this occasion, many events were organized and the cathedral renewed its bells with the arrival of eight new bells as well as a new great bell. Road distances from Paris in France are calculated from point 0 on the cathedral forecourt.
The Sagrada Familia is definitely the most famous building in Barcelona. Considered one of Gaudi’s masterpieces, it’s a key attraction in Barcelona and one of the most striking monuments ever built in the world.
In fact, there is absolutely no other building in the world featuring such a genius mixture between Gothic and Art Nouveau styles. Antoni Gaudí took over the project in 1883, a year after construction had begun, and completely reshaped the project to fit his unique style.
Unfortunately, Gaudí died in 1926 when only a quarter of the project had been constructed. Sadly, most of the blueprints left were burned in a fire, therefore, all that’s been built ever since has been a wide interpretation of Gaudi’s architecture.
Stopping over the Sagrada Familia should be top priority if you’re in Barcelona for the first time.
Visiting the basilica it’s an enjoyable experience and a great way to be introduced into Gaudí’s architecture. Besides, it offers the best possible views of the surrounding Eixample District, Barcelona’s own Big Apple.
The Gothic Quarter is one of the most famous landmarks in Barcelona. Located in the heart of the old city, this neighborhood features a fusion of buildings dating from Roman times to the 20th century.
The main attribute of the Gothic Quarter is the antique aspect of its buildings, narrow streets and the near absence of traffic. In fact, many areas are for pedestrians only and built like a labyrinth of winding streets and hidden squares.
St. Stephen's Cathedral is the symbol of Vienna. Construction commenced in the 12th century. Today, it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria. St. Stephen's Cathedral is 107.2 meters long and 34.2 meters wide. It has four towers. The tallest of these is the south tower at 136.44 meters. The tower room, from which there is a gigantic view across Vienna, is reached via 343 steps. A total of 13 bells hang here. However, the best-known bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Pummerin, is located in the 68.3 meter-tall north tower. It is the second-biggest free-swinging chimed church bell in Europe. On the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral, colorful roof tiles were laid to create the Royal and Imperial double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the city of Vienna. The interior of St. Stephen's Cathedral was changed again and again over the centuries, right through to the Baroque period.
The construction of the Duomo di Milano initiated in 1386 on the site of the ancient basilicas of Santa Tecla and Santa Maria Maggiore, which were then demolished at a later date. Dedicated to Maria Nascente, the cathedral was commissioned by Gian Galeazzo Visconti and had a dual purpose: the plan was to replace the sites of worship in the heart of Milan with an imposing edifice and it was also intended to celebrate the Visconti Signoria and its ambitious expansion policy.
It is the largest and most complex Gothic building in Italy, made of pink-veined white marble from the Candoglia quarries, in the Val d'Ossola. It is 157 metres in length and covers an area of 11,700 m2. The highest spire measures 108.5 and, in October 1774, the golden 4,16 metre-high statue of the Madonna by the sculptor Giuseppe Perego was placed on its pinnacle.
The construction works were prolonged over five centuries and, during this extensive period, local and European architects, sculptors, artists and workers all proceeded in turn to work in the Fabbrica del Duomo. The result of all their labour is a unique style of architecture, a fusion of European Gothic style and Lombard tradition.
The biggest, most important, most beautiful. The Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral at Prague Castle is a place of so many superlatives. Above all, it’s the spiritual symbol of the Czech nation and the resting place of Czech history’s greatest rulers. Come and learn the story of this fascinating architectural masterpiece which is among the most important cathedrals in Europe.
Once you are standing in the heart of the cathedral you will feel a real rush of history. Massive pillars support magnificent vaulting, and everything is illuminated by the sun’s rays glinting through the beautifully decorated stained glass windows. The most important part of the cathedral is the exquisite St. Wenceslas Chapel, where the priceless Bohemian coronation jewels are stored behind seven locks. In the cathedral you will also find the tombs of saints, kings, princes and archbishops, the most important of which are the resting places of St. John of Nepomuk and King Charles IV. You can conclude your visit to the cathedral with an ascent of the top of the south tower, where you will be rewarded with an amazing panorama of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin's oldest building, a leading visitor attraction and a place of pilgrimage for almost 1,000 years. Renowned for its beauty, architecture and exquisite floor tiles, it is home to the famous 12th Century crypt, one of the oldest and largest in Britain and Ireland. Perfectly located in the heart of Medieval Dublin, it was founded in 1030 by Sitriuc, King of the Dublin Norsemen and was incorporated into the Irish Church in 1152 and eventually led by the famous Archbishop and patron saint of Dublin, Laurence O’Toole.
Over the years, Christ Church has borne witness to many significant events including the crowning of Lambert Simnel as Edward VI in 1487. Today, it houses the important Treasures of Christ Church which features manuscripts and ancient artifacts as well as a spectacular exhibition of original 16th Century costumes from the historical series 'The Tudors'. Designed by Emmy award winning designer Joan Bergin, the opulent costumes from the drama have travelled the world including a display in Macy’s New York.
Near the Gesú Nuovo church, there is the monumental complex of Santa Chiara, one of the most important buildings commissioned by the French Kingdom of Anjou for the Franciscan order. Built in 1340, it is a rare example of Medieval architecture in Napoli. The convent was to accommodate both monks and nuns in two separate buildings but at the same time depending on the same church. The church was then built in a simple Gothic style, with the typical Neapolitan yellow tufa. Unfortunately, the church has been reconstructed changing the original features into the Baroque style with marbles, polychrome stuccos and exorbitant decorative elements by Domenico Antonio Vaccaro between 1742 and 1769. Sadly, in 1943 the church was partially bombed during the second world war. It was decided that it would be rebuilt in its original Gothic style. It was reopened in 1953. Most of the antiques sculptures have returned to their original location, including the splendid tombs of the member of the Anjou family, like the monumental tomb of Robert of Anjou dated 1343, the tomb of Mary Valois, second wife of Robert, and his son's tomb. A small part of a fresco still remains from the medieval decoration attributed to Giotto (who stayed in Napoli between 1328 and 1333) and his workshop.
The fine cloister outside the church is richly decorated with majolica tiles and it is a pure gem of the eighteenth century, designed by Domenico Antionio Vaccaro. He left the original medieval plan of the cloister but redesigning parts of it, adding two wide paths in the middle, the fine majolica decorations on the pillars with motif of vine shoots and wisteria twisting up, flowers, lemons while the seats are decorated with scenes of the city and country life in the eighteenth century.
The Temple Mount, a massive masonry platform occupying the south-east corner of Jerusalem’s Old City, has hallowed connections for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
All three of these Abrahamic faiths regard it as the location of Mount Moriah, where Abraham prepared to offer his son Isaac (or Ishmael in the Muslim tradition) to God.
For Jews, it is where their Temple once stood, housing the Ark of the Covenant. Now, for fear of stepping on the site of the Holy of Holies, orthodox Jews do not ascend to the Temple Mount. Instead, they worship at its Western Wall while they hope for a rebuilt Temple to rise with the coming of their long-awaited Messiah.
For Christians, the Temple featured prominently in the life of Jesus. Here he was presented as a baby. Here as a 12-year-old he was found among the teachers after the annual Passover pilgrimage.
For Muslims, the Temple Mount is al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). It is Islam’s third holiest site, after Mecca and Medina, and the whole area is regarded as a mosque.
Mattancherry in Kochi is most known for the oldest synagogue in the Commonwealth, the Paradesi Synagogue. Built in 1568,this synagogue attracts numerous visitors to this day. It adds to the area's quaint charm and is a great symbol of the love and harmony that exists in the community. 'Paradesi' literally translates to foreigner in most Indian languages. Many of the original members of the community hailed from Kodungalloor, the Middle East and Europe.
Made by the Portuguese Santa Cruz Basilica in Kochi, this church is one of the eight Basilicas in India. Situated nearby the famous St. Francis Church, this heritage building of Kerala is also one of the finest cathedrals in India and it serves as the cathedral church of the Diocese of Cochin. It's a Roman Catholic Cathedral situated at K.B. Jacob road in Fort Kochi. It's a holy place and the centre of historical significance, endued with artistic splendor and the colors of the medieval style.
Facing Jackson Square and flanked by the historic Cabildo on one side and the equally historic Presbytere on the other, St. Louis Cathedral is among the tallest and most imposing structures in the French Quarter. And one of the most recognizable.
Officially known as the Church of St Elizabeth of Hungary, but commonly referred to simply as ‘the Blue Church’ for obvious reasons, this is Bratislava’s most appealing art nouveau building. Its style, sometimes known as Hungarian Secession, is repeated in the nearby grammar school on Grösslingová Street. Both were designed by Budapest architect Edmund Lechner and built in the early twentieth century (the church was consecrated on 11 October, 1913).
Both the interior and exterior of the church are painted in shades of pale blue and decorated with blue majolica; even the roof is tiled with blue-glazed ceramics. The structure incorporates a 36.8-metre round tower.
A three-nave Gothic church from the 15th century and the former coronation church. A gilded replica of the coronation crown fixed on the top of the cathedral tower at a height of 85 metres and weighing 150 kg reminds of this glorious age.
Exquisite altarpieces, medieval burial slabs and other works of religious art can be seen in this 1230-era church-turned-museum. Saints, dancing skeletons and silver – not to mention the occasional organ concert – are the main attractions here.
Known as the "Westminster Abbey of the Pacific," Kawaiahao Church was the first Christian Church built on Oahu. Dedicated on July 21, 1842, “The Great Stone Church” is made of 14,000 coral slabs from ocean reefs that were hauled from the sea by native laborers and missionaries. The church and the grounds were named a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
Florence's cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, with the baptistery right across. The cathedral named in honor of Santa Maria del Fiore is a vast Gothic structure built on the site of the 7th century church of Santa Reparata, the remains of which can be seen in the crypt.
The exterior is covered in a decorative mix of pink, white and green marble. The interior, by contrast, is pretty stark and plain but quite enjoyable on warm summer days since the temperature inside tends to be cooler.
Please note the clock above the entrance on the inside of the church. It was designed in 1443 by Paolo Uccello in accordance with the ora italica, where the 24th hour of the day ended at sunset... and it still works!
The Medici Chapels form part of the monumental complex of San Lorenzo. The church of San Lorenzo was the official church of the Medici from their period as private residents in their palace in Via Larga (now via Cavour), becoming their mausoleum up to the time of the extinction of the line.
The Grossmünster church is a landmark of Zurich. According to legend, Charlemagne discovered the graves of the city’s patron saints Felix and Regula and had a church built as a monastery on the spot.
In the first half of the 16th century, the Grossmünster church was the starting point of the Swiss-German Reformation led by Huldrych Zwingli and Heinrich Bullinger. The theological college then annexed to the monastery spawned what is now the University of Zürich.
The stained glass windows by Sigmar Polke, the Romanesque crypt, choir windows by Augusto Giacometti, bronze doors by Otto Münch and the cloister Reformation Museum are just some of the highlights see here.
Known to Zurchers as the Fraumunster, the Minster of Our Lady church is popular to visit thanks to its graceful spire (which tops Zurich's skyline) and its Marc Chagall stained-glass windows. The church was founded in the ninth century by Emperor Ludwig, Charlemagne's grandson, though the property's iconic spire wasn't added until 1732. And in 1970, Chagall's famous stained-glass windows were added.
Some previous visitors said the church's exterior isn't much to look at. However, most agree the interior's stained-glass windows are well worth a visit. In addition to the newer Chagall windows, some featuring designs by Augusto Giacometti, who is famously linked to the stained-glass windows at the Great Minster, are also located inside.
Saint Mark’s Square is surely a place that can’t be missed, an exhibition of rare and unique beauty appear on a 360° view in front of the visitors, the Saint Mark’s Church, the bell tower, the “procuratie” and the Napoleonic wing, the clock tower and the two blacks.
The Church, a Romanic Byzantine style was born initially as a mausoleum of the Patron Saint, it has 5 domes, marbles and mosaics to embellish the façade, inside, decorations and wall of golden leaf mosaics represents tales of the Patron Saint.
The bell tower is the highest point of the city, 98.6 meters tall, from the top there is a unique and breathtaking view of the isle, it was originally built as a watchtower and a lighthouse in the IX century.
Finally the clock tower, also a renaissance style palace, its arcade allow to enter into the square from the “Mercerie” so called because during the Republic there where many shops selling precious merchandise coming from distant ports. Today the Mercerie are site for various commercial activities, mostly murano glass shops and most modern cloth and gift shops.
If you are in Venice you cannot miss the opportunity to visit St Mark’s Church, the famous San Marco Basilica. It is one of the most valuable treasures of history, art and faith in the world, located in St Mark's Square, the so-called ‘drawing room of Europe’.
When you visit St Mark’s Cathedral you cannot avoid gazing at the vast amount of decorations, mosaics, architectonic structures, precious objects and sacred and allegorical images that adorn the church inside and outside. To face all this in the best way before delving into the details, it is important to let oneself be swept away by this abundance, which changes time after time depending on the lighting, one’s stance and many other details that all together turn San Marco Basilica into a constantly new and deep experience to live in Italy.
A visit of St Mark’s Basilica means entering into an intricate world imbued with religion, art and sacred images that narrate in detail the history of Venice: the beauty of this place is nonetheless blindingly evident and one does not need to decipher it in order to appreciate it.
Hallgrímskirkja church is Reykjavík's main landmark and its tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city.
It was designed by the late Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, who was often inspired in his endeavours by the fascinating shapes and forms created when lava cools into basalt rock.
Construction of the church began in 1945 and ended in 1986, with the tower completed long before the rest of the building. The crypt beneath the choir was consecrated in 1948, the steeple and wings completed in 1974 and the nave consecrated in 1986.