25 unique and breath-taking views of temples from around the world
Some of these temples were constructed centuries ago while others were created by modern architects. It took decades, even centuries, to bring some of these ideas to the realization stage, yet some of them were finished a couple of years after the concept first came to one great architect’s head. But there’s one thing that all these buildings have in common: they’re all unique architectural masterpieces that attract millions of people from all over the world, regardless of their religious views.
We here at Bright Side compiled our own small collection of sacred places from around the world that will probably make you reconsider your next travel destination.
Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy
It’s the largest Gothic cathedral and the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world. Its roof line dissolves into openwork pinnacles that are punctuated by a grove of spires, topped with statues that overlook the city. This Gothic marvel took nearly six centuries to complete.
Paro Taktsang Location in Paro Valley, Bhutan
This Buddhist sacred site lies on the edge of a cliff at a height of 10,236 feet. According to local legend, an Indian guru came to the cliff on the back of a tigress. ’Taktsang’ literally means ’tiger’s nest.’
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE
This mosque can easily fit over 40,000 worshipers at the same time. It features 82 domes of Moroccan design and 1,000 columns, all decorated with white marble and other semi-precious stones. The world’s largest hand-knotted carpet covers the floor of the main prayer hall.
Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík, Iceland
This Lutheran church is the largest church in Iceland and the sixth tallest architectural structure in the country. Hallgrímskirkja church is located in the heart of Reykjavík and it can be seen from every part of the city.
The Lotus Temple in New Delhi, India
For Indian people, the lotus represents purity and peace. The Lotus temple in New Delhi is one of the most visited buildings in the world.
Las Lajas Sanctuary in Nariño, Colombia
The neo-Gothic basilica church stands on a 130-feet tall bridge built over the Guaitara river. Two Franciscan religious communities from Colombia and Ecuador carry the pastoral care of the sanctuary, thus symbolizing the peace and unity between the two South American peoples.
The Kamppi Chapel in Helsinki, Finland
Also known as the ’Chapel of silence,’ this site is designed to be a calm place where anyone, irrespective of their religious and political views, can have a moment of silence. They don’t hold any regular church services in here, so one can just escape the busiest area of the city and enjoy a peaceful moment in the eco-friendly environment.
Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Angkor Wat literally means ’city of temples.’ It really is the whole city — this temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world, with the site measuring 1,626,000 square meters. It was constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer Empire and gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple.
The Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Mary on Bled Island, Slovenia
This church is located on the only island in Slovenia. To get inside, you need to rent a boat and climb 99 stone stairs.
The United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel in Colorado, USA
This unique chapel is considered to be a classic example of modernist architecture. The chapel was designed to house several religious groups and denominations, so Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, and Islamic services can be held simultaneously here. Each chapel has its own entrance.
Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, Philippines
This church is a great example of the Spanish colonial earthquake baroque architecture preserved in the Philippines.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Melbourne, Australia
St Patrick’s Cathedral is the tallest and the largest church building in Australia.
The Green Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina
A Catholic parish church, also known as the ’Garden of Olives,’ most likely a reference Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, became one of the most interesting and sacred places in the world due to the ivy that covers the whole facade of the building.
LDS San Diego California Temple, USA
The whole building exterior is made of marble chips in stucco, giving the building a white glow, as the white color traditionally represents purity. Tourists and visitors aren’t allowed inside the church.
The Crystal Mosque in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
This mosque is located in the Islamic Heritage Park on a man-made island. The whole structure is made of steel, glass, and crystal.
The Dutch Reformed Church in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa
This church is located in the center of the city, being the fourth sacred building constructed at this very place. The Dutch Reformed Church is considered to be one of the best examples of early Gothic architecture in South Africa.
Taung Kalat Monastery, Myanmar (Burma)
This Buddhist monastery sits at the height of 2,417 ft above sea level, on top of Mount Popa. To get to the sacred site, you have to endure the stairway of 777 steps to the summit of Taung Kalat. But once you’re up there, you will be rewarded with a breath-taking view of the surrounding scenery, including a stunning view of Mount Popa and the city of Bagan.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
This cathedral was built in the 16th century on order from Ivan the Terrible to commemorate a victory over the Kazan and Astrakhan Khanates. Legend goes that Ivan blinded the architect and builders so that they couldn’t recreate the masterpiece elsewhere in the world.
Borgund Stave Church in Lærdal, Norway
This church was built sometime between 1180 and 1250 AD. It’s currently one of the best-known ancient wooden churches of Norway.
Wat Arun in Bangkok, Thailand
This temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna who is personified as the rising sun. The main tower of Wat Arun is almost 300-feet high and it’s fully encrusted with colorful porcelain.
La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain
A grand Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, was started in 1882 on private donations. The basilica is now the most famous landmark and the most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona. However, due to the complex stone carving technology, the church will not be fully completed until 2026.
The see-through church in Limburg, Belgium
This church was built in 2011. It’s 32-feet high and is made of 100 layers and 2000 columns of steel. The building can be perceived as a massive wooden or metal construction, and appears as if it dissolves in the landscape. Everything depends on the perspective of the visitor. They say that from a distance, the church seems to be levitating above the ground.
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia is a former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica. Starting in 1453, it was used as an imperial mosque and reopened as a museum in 1935.
St. Anne’s Church in Vilnius, Lithuania
St. Anne’s Church is one of the best examples of Flamboyant Gothic and Brick Gothic styles of architecture. Today, St. Anne’s Church is a popular landmark and tourist attraction in Vilnius.
Candi Prambanan in Central Java, Indonesia
Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. The complex houses the 154-feet high central building and numerous individual temples. Prambanan’s tall and pointed towers, typical of Hindu temple architecture, attracts millions of tourists every year.