Churches are always considered one of the striking architectural wonders of global history. Remarkable architecture, great history, and deep spiritual meaning make cathedrals a true work of art. Today, there are several famous churches in the world known for their exquisite mosaics, sculptures, and paintings. Everything designed here holds significant meaning in the Christian religion and culture.

Whether you’re religious or not, the church is always an interesting place to visit. So, if you’re curious to know the best and most famous churches in the world and why they’re so popular from an architectural perspective, keep reading till the end. Today, in this blog, I’ve made a list of the top 11 most beautiful churches worldwide.

Let’s get started. 

1. Mark’s Basilica, Venice, Italy

Mark's Basilica Church in Italy
ArchitectGreek architects
LocationPiazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Year832 AD
StyleByzantine and Gothic architecture

St. Mark’s Basilica, located in the heart of Venice, is considered one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. This church is famous for its intricate mosaics, stunning architecture, and rich history. Apart from its elaborate domes and cupolas, there is a statue of the apostle standing over a gold-winged lion just on the gable outside. It is considered the symbol of Venice.

The St. Mark’s Basilica is built from pale marble imported exclusively from Syria, Egypt, and Palestine. The interiors are as dazzling as the exteriors, making a wonderful example of Italo-Byzantine architecture. The ceilings are made from pure gold leaf, and the altarpiece; the Pala d’Oro has over 2,000 emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls.

2. Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, Israel

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Israel
ArchitectsHelena and Diotisalvi
LocationJerusalem, Israel
Year335 AD
StyleChristian architecture

Christians consider Jerusalem one of the most holy places on earth, as only Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected here. The “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” was literally built over Golgotha by the First Generation Christians in the 4th century. If you’re planning to go here, visit the Via Dolorosa route, a series of 14 Stations of the Cross tracing the final journey and death of Jesus Christ. 

3. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Basil's Cathedral in Russia
ArchitectsPostnik Yakovlev and Barma
LocationRed Square, Moscow, Russia
StyleRussian Medieval architecture with Byzantine influences.

Look at this beautiful church; can you believe it was constructed 462 years ago? 

St. Basil’s Cathedral was built by architects Postnik Yakovlev and Barma around 1561. Located at the Red Square, Moscow, Russia, this church is one of the world’s most colorful and prominent churches. It features nine towers with candy-colored onion domes. This cultural symbol represents festivity and cheerfulness among the people.

4. Valencia Cathedral, Valencia, Spain

Valencia Cathedral in Spain
ArchitectsMaster Andreu Julia and Master Antoni Dalmau
LocationPlaza de la Reina, Valencia, Spain
StyleGothic Architecture

The Valencia Cathedral church was built over a mosque in the 13th century, just after the Moors were driven out of the city. It is also known for the iconic jewel-encrusted cup of oriental agate stone, which is believed to be the Holy Grail, situated in the ornate Capella del Santo Calíz. The cathedral has some of the most priceless artwork on display. Right behind the chapel, you can see the chalice that attracts visitors and believers all around the globe.

5. Panagia Paraportiani, Mykonos, Greece

Panagia Paraportiani in Greece
LocationMykonos Town, Mykonos, Greece
Year17th century
StyleCycladic architecture

Greece is popular for its unique Cycladic architecture; the next church on the list was built with the same concept. We’re talking about the Panagia Paraportiani church, which features whitewashed walls and simple, geometric forms. This is not a single building, but a tiny cluster of 5 chapels situated at the entrance to Mykonos town. The name Panagia Paraportiani means “our lady of the side gate.” This snow-white cathedral structure looks immaculate against the sapphire seawater and deep blue skies. It was built in the 17th century and is still the top spot for tourists as well as worshipers.

6. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Nariño, Colombia

Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia
ArchitectsMariano Aulestia and Simón Atapuma
LocationIpiales, Nariño, Colombia

Beautiful and breathtaking are the right words to describe the beauty of the next church on the list. We’re talking about the gorgeous Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia. It has a church that is situated 150 feet over a river gorge. First, this site served as a shrine, but in the early 1900s, it was converted into a Gothic-style church. The Las Lajas Sanctuary church isn’t only a place for believers; it also symbolizes silence and devotion. With all these features, this one surely is one of the most famous churches in the world.

7. Metropolitan Cathedral, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Metropolitan Cathedral in Brazil
ArchitectEdgar Fonceca
LocationRio de Janeiro, Brazil
StyleModern Architecture

The Metropolitan Cathedral church definitely doesn’t look like it’s from this planet. With its unique shape and design, this church is one of the favorite spots for tourists to explore. It was built by architect Edgar Fonceca in 1976, and today, it is one of the world’s most famous churches. This cathedral has a cone-shaped structure inspired by the popular Mayan pyramid design. Furthermore, it is around 246 feet high and is dedicated to St. Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro. The four stained-glass windows reflect colors in the sunlight, making them a true architectural gem. 

8. Notre-Dame de Paris, Paris, France

Notre-Dame de Paris in France
ArchitectMaurice de Sully
LocationÎle de la Cité, Paris, France
StyleFrench Gothic architecture

When it comes to Paris, the Eiffel Tower instantly comes to mind, but there are also other notable buildings, such as the Notre-Dame de Paris. This is a world famous church with phenomenal architecture. This masterpiece cathedral features tall windows and vaulted ceilings. In 2019, its roof caught fire and got heavily damaged, and since then, it has been closed. However, tourists can enjoy its beauty from afar. 

9. Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík, Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík in Iceland
ArchitectGuðjón Samúelsson
LocationReykjavík, Iceland
StyleExpressionist architecture

Hallgrímskirkja is a majestic church located in Reykjavík, Iceland. Immediately, people were attracted to its striking architecture. It appears like an upside-down V because it is designed to resemble basalt columns and a towering concrete spire. The architects took inspiration from the rugged landscape and volcanic formations in Iceland. Made from tall, thin white beams, this church’s tower reaches 74.5 meters. This structure holds religious significance and is also seen as the symbol of Reykjavík’s skyline. This is why we put this on our list of famous churches in the world. 

10. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

La Sagrada Familia in Spain
ArchitectAntoni Gaudí
LocationBarcelona, Spain
StyleCatalan Modernism

Let’s move on to another spectacular, famous church in world, La Sagrada Familia! The fact that makes it more distinctive is that its construction was started in 1882 and is still in progress (estimated to be completed in 2026). It features multiple slender towers, ornate facades, and overall wavy architecture inspired by the holy mountain of Montserrat and natural elements. It was designed and constructed by architect Antoni Gaudí. Look at the above picture, and you’ll know why this is Spain’s most visited attraction point.

11. Sophia Cathedral, Kiev, Ukraine

Sophia Cathedral, Kiev in Ukraine
ArchitectOctaviano Mancini
LocationKiev, Ukraine
Year1037 AD
StyleByzantine architecture

This most famous church in the world is considered one of the most attractive churches in the world. St. Sophia Cathedral is derived from the Greek word Sophia, which means wisdom. This beautiful site was constructed by Prince Yaroslav in Kiev, as it was the political and social center of the country. It is the country’s oldest and most popular church; it is also the first UNESCO site in Ukraine.

Which is the most visited church in the world?

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is estimated to be the most visited church in the world, attracting 15-20 million pilgrims and tourists annually.

Which is the oldest church in the world?

As per the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Dura-Europos church in Syria is the oldest surviving church building in the world. It was built around 233-235 AD. 

Final Thoughts

All these famous cathedrals are becoming more than a religious symbol. These famous churches in the world are not only viewed as national or religious symbols but also hold historical importance. These remarkable churches showcase the diverse tapestry of faith, artistry, and history woven into their structures. People from different religions and countries visit these sites and read about their history, culture, and architecture to gain knowledge. 

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