More than a symbol of man’s faith, churches(or any house of worship), are among the most relevant reflection of a civilization’s age, culture and story.
Of all the churches I have visited during my trip to Europe, here are 12 (At no particular order) with the most beautiful facade I’ve seen and an impressive setting that gave an ethereal feel of place. Though these churches may not necessarily be the grandest of grand, the selection is based on distinct exterior details and on how I was awed by standing on its presence.
The Budapest Cathedral (St. Stephen’s Basilica) of Hungary. Although this Roman Catholic Church is relatively new (completed 1905), the church impressively stands at the middle of the a crossing that its tallest towers can splendidly be seen from blocks away. It effortlessly became one of my favourites. The church also has one of the most impressive altars I have seen, to which I shall be featuring on a separate post. Architectural Style : Neo Classical
St. Stephen Cathedral (Stephansdom) of Vienna, Austria Here is another cathedral named after St. Stephen, that is amazing it its own right. The original structure was completed 1160, and underwent a number of restorations due to fire and war. However, the structural and most of its facade and details remain original. The most amazing feature of the church is probably its tiled roof with geometric patterns, that is unlike any other. Architectural Style : Gothic
St. Vitus Cathedral of Prague(The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert). Original structure completed 1344, the church completely embodies the Goth-bohemian character of Prague with its impressive exterior embellishments. The facade still has burn marks on the walls from several fire accidents of the past, to which somewhat gave the church a story to tell. Architectural Style: Gothic
St. Mary’s Basilica of Krakow, PolandSt Mary’s of Krakow is a unique Brick-Cladded church, originally built in the early 13th century. The very tall church proudly stands like two guardians. Krakow is among the most beautiful towns I have visited; And indeed, its church and square has one of the most beautiful setting. By tradition, a golden trumpet is blown every full hour from the window of the higher tower. This is still practiced until today. Architectural Style: Gothic
Barcelona Cathedral, SpainBarcelona Cathedral(Original Structure constructed 1298 to 1420) is another Gothic church with a beautiful set up, worthy of praises. The Spanish steps elevated the church to a more impressive view and an ethereal feel. Although the Sagrada Familia is the more famous, it is yet to be completed and there are cranes and lifts around its towers. Based on perfect setting, this church is the most beautiful in Barcelona. Architectural Style: Gothic
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris. Original structure completed 1345 (plus several recent restorations). Notre Dame is a historic Catholic monument of French royalty. The cathedral is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, and it is among the largest and most well-known church buildings in the world.The Notre-Dame de Paris was among the first buildings to use the flying buttress, or the additional reversed L shaped support placed on the outer side walls for further stability, and later became part of the design pattern. The box type bell towers at the front also made the church distinct from others. And who doesn’t know Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame? Architectural Style: Gothic
Le Madeleine Church, Paris (completed 1828) is somewhat a skillfully fully made revival of the Greek classical facade of the Parthenon. This church graciously stands right at the middle of a main crossroad in Paris.I must admit that the 90’s movie ‘Madeline’ did have an impact for me to like this church so much. =) Architectural Style: Neo clasical
The Pisa Cathedral, Tuscany, ItalyThe Pisa Cathedral is probably the oldest in the list (construction started 1064). The baluster-like posts at the facade are each made of solid white marble, and most of the original posts were picked by the Romans from the ruins of Greece. Behind this church is the famous leaning tower. Architectural Style: Romanesque.
Romanesque (pre-gothic time)was prevalent especially in the 11th and 12th centuries and characterized by massive walls, round arches, and relatively simple ornamentation and less window openings since structural design are yet to be further developed during that time.
Milan Cathedral, Italy Milan Cathedral, Italy (Construction started 1836). With the capacity of 40,000 pax, Milan Cathedral is the 2nd biggest, next to St. Peter’s in Vatican. And with 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures in all, Milan Cathedral has the most impressive number of decorative statues. Impressive in every angle, this church easily because one of my favourites. Architectural Style: Gothic
St Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, Italy St Mark’s Cathedral (Construction started 1084). Located in the East Isles of Italy, Venice shared a lot of its history with the Turks, as such, the Byzantine Architecture is very evident on the city’s most celebrated church. The Gold facade embellishments, pointy arches and mosaic art frescos and colored glass chandeliers are among the adopted characters from the Turks, and have clearly made this catholic church a ‘one of a kind’. Architectural Style: Byzantine
The Stripe Church of Monterosso, Cinque Terre in Liguria, ItalyThe Stripe Church of Monterosso (Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista – Church of St John Baptist, Monterosso al Mare, 14th Century). Standing at the Seaside town of Monterosso, Ligurian Region of Italy, the church is really a stand out on this list for its Stripe black and white walls and impressive rose window. Though the relatively unknown of the group, the seaside church (and the whole Cinque terre, infact) is worth a visit. Architectural styles: Renaissance architecture
Florence Cathedral, of TuscanyWith such intricately detailed exterior, Florence Cathedral honestly got my spot for most beautiful facade on this list. The Photo does not give enough justice, as this church is truly ethereal and stunning in actual (nakaka-lula in tagalog). Living up to the principles of Renaissance art, the cathedral itself is an a masterpiece of when Italian art and knowledge was at its most glorious days. Architectural styles: Renaissance architecture
Source of dates : Wikipedia.com. All Photos owned by the Blog Owner. All rights reserved.