Whether one is religious or not, one of the most fascinating places found on Earth are also one of the most surprising. And these are the places of worship. These religious places are widely recognized for its stunning architectural details built with the most incredible and rare materials around and are set against the backdrop of one of the most strikingly beautiful places on Earth. Yet unbeknownst to many people, there is more to these architectural designs that meets the eyes.
In fact, every nook and cranny that were incorporated into the building are steeped and rooted into their respective religious beliefs. From temples to churches, here are just some of the world’s most breathtaking religious structures found around the world that will give you a deeper and higher sense of spiritual being.
The Worlds Most Beautiful Religious Places of Worship
Air Force Academy Chapel, Colorado Springs, Colorado
This chapel was built in the early 1960s and finished construction in 1962. It was constructed by the construction firm Robert E. McKee, Inc. based on design by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill of Chicago. Although it had a design that was considered controversial at the time, the Cadet Chapel has become a classical icon of modernist architecture.
Byodo-In Temple, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, O’ahu, Hawaii
This temple was built in 1968 in order to commemorate the 100th year celebration of the coming of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. It was constructed as a smaller version of the original temple based in Uji, Japan. The temple, which is located at the bottom of the Ko’olau Mountains, is an inclusive, non-practicing Buddhist temple that welcomes all people of all faiths and backgrounds.
Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland
This is a Lutheran parish church located in Reykjavik, Iceland. Boasting a height of 244 feet, it is presently considered not only as the largest church of Iceland but also as the tallest structure. It is named after the Iceland clergyman and poet Hallgrimur Peturssonm who wrote the Passion Hymns.
Pisa Cathedral, Italy
This Roman Catholic cathedral was built during the medieval times as a dedication to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and is considered a classic example of Romanesque architecture. It serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Pisa and was completed in the year 1092.
Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
This temple is notable for its flowerlike design and as a result has become a prominent local attraction. As a Bahá’í House of Worship, it is open to all people, regardless of faith or background. It was built in the expressionist style and was completed in December 1986.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
As the largest mosque in the entire United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is considered the primary place of worship in the country. It is where many gather for daily prayers and Friday gatherings. During Eid prayers, it is reportedly visited by more than 40,000 people. It started construction in 1996 and was completed in December 2007.
Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia
This church is affiliated to the Russian Orthodox Church, and it was built in 1883, on the site where a gang of political nihilists killed Emperor Alexander II in 1881. Alfred Alexandrovich Parland was then commissioned by the imperial family to build the church in the Russian Revival architectural style. It was completed in 1907.
Taj Majal, Agra, India
The Taj Mahal is perhaps one of the most recognized places of worship in the world. Its name literally translates to “Crown of the Palace” and is a prominent ivory-white marble structure built on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India. It was built in 1632 and was commissioned by the ruler at the time as a gift for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
The Cathedral Church of St Marie, Sheffield, England
This is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Sheffield, England and is a notable example of a Gothic Revival style with an extremely refined interior decoration pieces, such as side altars, historic statues, and painted tiles. It started construction in 1846, achieving completion by 1850.
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain
The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, which literally translates to Basilica of the Holy Family, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica that was built in the Catalan modernism style. It started construction in 1882 and still remains unfinished up to this day, 137 years later. It was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in November 7, 2010 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Puthia Temple Complex, Puthia Upazila, Bangladesh
This complex is a cluster of ancient Hindu temples built by Zamindars Rajas, who came from a family of noted philanthropists. The temples were constructed with terracotta and boast a variety of architectural styles. The complex consists of the Pancha Ratna Govinda Temple, the Bhubaneshwar Shiva Temple, the Jagannath Temple, the Chota Anhik Mandir, the Chauchala Chhota Govinda Mandir, and the Bara Anhik Mandir.
Agios Theodori Church, Santorini, Greece
Situated in the pretty village of Firostefani, the Agios Theodori Church is a traditional Greek church that is notable for its picturesque blue dome and white walls. The church boasts three bells, which feature largely in many promotional photos of Santorini.
St. Mary’s Church, Indian River, Prince Edward Island, Canada
St. Mary’s Church was constructed in 1902 by William Critchlow Harris, who is known for his architectural trademark of a groined or rib-vaulted ceiling. At present, the church has become the architectural treasure and fine French Gothic example that Mr. Harris had always wanted it to be.
Wat Asokaram, Samut Prakan, Thailand
Compared to the other temples on this list, this is a relatively new one, having just been built in 1962 by Phra Acharn Lee Thammawaro. It is considered one of the important local temples where a devout follower can practice mediation. Visitors to the temple are directed towards the Phra Thutangkha Chedi, which are 13 chedi that are representative of the monk’s 13 duties while on religious trips.
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Moscow, Russia
This neo-Gothic Catholic Church serves as the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Moscow. It started construction in 1901 and was completed in 1911, a full ten years later. It was built on a design by architect Tomas Bohdanowicz-Dworzecki, and its style was largely inspired by the Milan Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.