Few factors have played more heavily into European architecture than Christian worship. For hundreds and hundreds of years, kings, pontiffs and nobles have poured countless resources into to erection of churches that stand as some of the most impressive man-made structures to ever exist.
We’ve assembled a list of 20 we find to be the most beautiful. By no means is this an exhaustive list, and the order in which they’re ranked is very much a subject for debate. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section below!
1. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona (Spain)
Construction of The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família or Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family began in 1882 and is ongoing to this day. Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, the world famous structure has attracted controversy and acclaim throughout the years. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as of 2010 a basilica. Construction was recently projected to be completed in 2026, the centennial anniversary of Gaudi’s death. When Gaudi was asked about the lengthy duration of the construction he famously responded, “My client is not in a hurry.”
2. Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence (Italy)
Construction of The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or “Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flowers” spanned from 1296-1436. Located in Piazza del Duomo, the cathedral complex includes the Baptistery and Giotto’s Campanile, which comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site covering the historic centre of Florence. The basilica is one of Italy’s largest churches. The dome was the largest in the world until contemporary development of new structural materials allowed for larger structures to be erected. To this day it’s the largest brick dome ever constructed.
* Bonus – ST Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow (Russia