THE 10 MOST BEAUTIFUL CATHEDRALS IN THE WORLD

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Majestic, strong, solid, Gothic or Modern, able to tell and enclose among their imposing walls centuries of history. In one word, beautiful. They are the Cathedrals, places of worship, but also of art. We have selected for you the 10 most beautiful Cathedrals in the world, to enrich with a divine touch your vacation.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – New York – USA

Saint Patrick, New York - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Those who visit the Big Apple cannot avoid crossing the threshold of the magnificent Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in the heart of Manhattan, on 5th Avenue. Saint Patrick is the largest Gothic Cathedral in North America; its construction began in 1858 to end only in 1906, although it was consecrated in 1879. The Cathedral was designed by Archbishop John Joseph Hughes, and today it represents the reference point for over 2 million Christian citizens.

Its 100-meter-tall spire towers, with a Latin cross plant and the three naves, embellished with numerous marble sculptures, are extraordinary. They highlight the chapels, such as Lady Chapel, which has been built in honour of the Virgin Mary.

The church is accessible every day from 6.30 am to 8.30 pm.

Address: 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022, USA

Info: http://www.saintpatrickscathedral.org

The Duomo of Milan – Milan – ITALY

The Duomo of Milan - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

The Duomo of Milan – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Impressive: it is the term that best describes the Cathedral of Milan. Built in the heart of the city, it was designed in 1386 by Archbishop Antonio da Saluzzo instead of the Cathedral of Santa Maria Maggiore, and it has been dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente.
In 1387, in order to complete the works, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Milan, founded the ‘Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo’, calling to his court the best architects, sculptors and craftsmen from all over Europe. And between 1650 and 1800 the famous and venerated ‘Madonnina’ was placed on top, transforming the Cathedral into the very symbol of Milan.The Cathedral’s style is between Gothic and Neoclassical; the use of Candoglia marble characterizes the entire monument, and inside there are the remains of many archbishops, including those of San Carlo Borromeo.

Even today the Duomo is not completed in all of its parts; since the begin, ing of 1900 there have been here archaeological excavations that have brought to light the whole tracing of the baptistery of San Giovanni alle Fonti and the baptistery of Santo Stefano and the apses of Santa Tecla, partly accessible to visitors. One thing you can’t miss is the visit of the Duomo’s terraces, to admire a whole different side of Milan

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 20122 Milan, Italy

Info: http://www.duomomilano.it/it/

St. Basil’s Cathedral – Moscow – RUSSIA

St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Arriving in Moscow’s Red Square means to be captured by the magnificence of St. Basil’s Cathedral, right in front of the Kremlin. The Cathedral was built in 1500, consecrated on July 12, 1561, and secularized in 1929. Its characteristic shape, with the ‘onion spires’, comes from a collection of 8 churches built all around the ninth, the central one, which stands out for its height of 65 meters. In 1588 the tenth church was built, dedicated to St. Basil, and all the church deserved the title of ‘Cathedral’.

Its construction was designed by the first Tsar of Russia, Ivan ‘the Terrible’, to celebrate his victories. Legends say that the same Tzar blinded the two architects who had prepared the project, to prevent them from making  ‘A work of equal beauty in other parts of the world’.

Today St. Basil’s Cathedral is officially considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and it’s recognized as a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Its characteristic shape resembles the flames of a bonfire rising into the sky.

St. Basil’s Cathedral is open to the public every day, from 10 am to 5 pm, excluding Tuesday and the first Monday of each month.

Address: Red Square, Moskva, Russia, 109012

Info: http://www.saintbasil.ru/

Brasilia Cathedral – Brasilia – BRAZIL

Cathedral of Brasilia - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Cathedral of Brasilia – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

The Cathedral of Brasilia represents the perfect blend of Christianity, spirituality and modernity, and today it is considered one of the most beautiful places of worship in the world. Its construction started in 1958, designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer; it was completed in 1960 and consecrated in May 1970. The structure is made of reinforced concrete, built on a circular area of 70 meters and supported by 16 pillars with a glass roof, which seem to represent two hands facing the sky to magnify the glory of God.  

Each year, the Cathedral of Brasilia – original name ‘Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida’ – collects thousands of faithful citizens, especially tourists, captured by the grandeur of the 4 bronze statues in the square in front of the building, which represent the 4 Evangelists.

A must visit is to the Crypt, inside the Cathedral, where you have a faithful copy of the Holy Shroud, and then the Baptistery.

The Cathedral is open every day except in the hours when the Mass is celebrated.

Address: Esplanada dos Ministérios lote 12 – Brasília, DF, 70050-000, Brazil

Info: https://catedral.org.br/

Notre-Dame de Paris – Paris – FRANCE

Notre Dame de Paris - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Notre Dame de Paris – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

The Gothic appearance makes Notre-Dame de Paris one of the most distinctive and extraordinary worship sites in the world, enrolled in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed by the Bishop Maurice de Sully in 1163, in the east part of the Ile de la Citè, it was completed in 1250. During the French Revolution the Cathedral suffered several damages, including the theft of all the gold jewellery and the decapitation of almost all the statues, especially those of the kings, and during the years several renovations and restorations were carried out and the last works date back to 1965. This is where Napoleon was consecrated Emperor of France in 1804.

It is impossible not to be enchanted by the majesty of the exterior facades of the Cathedral, with the three Portals: the central one, the portal of the Universal Judgment, and the two smaller laterals, the Sant’Anna Portal, at the south side, and the Portal of the Virgin, at the north side, the statue of the Virgin Mary with the Child, side by side with two angels. The central nave of the Cathedral has five double vaults and above lateral naves, there is the women’s gallery.

The revival of interest for the Cathedral emerged because of Victor Hugo’s “Notre Dame de Paris” historical novel, which made known the stories of Esmeralda and Quasimodo.

Lastly, you have absolutely to visit the archaeological crypt and the zero point, from which road distances are calculated.

The Cathedral is open to the public from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6:45 pm; On Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 7 pm.

Address: 6 Parvis Notre-Dame – Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France

Info: www.notredamedeparis.fr

St. Paul’s Cathedral – London – UK

St. Paul's Cathedral, London- The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London- The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

It is the first Protestant Cathedral in the world and it is the official church of the Royal House of England. We are talking about St. Paul’s Cathedral, built in 1720, a masterpiece by Sir Christopher Warren, who inspired the dome design of St. Peter’s Basilica but with smaller dimensions. St. Paul’s Cathedral is considered the symbol of London’s resistance, after the church survived the bombing of September 12, 1940, when a bomb fell inside the Cathedral but remained unexplored.

Today, Saint Paul’s Cathedral dominates the financial district’s buildings: the panorama that can be seen from the dome, which is accessed by 300 steps, is extraordinary. Inside the Cathedral, along the main aisle, there is the bronze monument of the Duke of Wellington, who defeated Napoleon in Waterloo; also, you cannot miss the Byzantine dome decorations, the altar featuring a baroque canopy, the American Memorial Chapel, designed in the 1950s in memory of the 28,000 soldiers who fell during World War II, and finally the works of Turner and Van Dyck between the walls of the building

The Cathedral is open from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am to 4 pm. On Sundays, the church is open only for the functions and the choir performs at 10.15 am, 11.30 am and 3.15 pm.

Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK

Info: https://www.stpauls.co.uk/

Santa Maria del Fiore – Florence – ITALY

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

An explosion of art, culture and Christianity makes the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore one of the most extraordinary places of worship in the world. In the cradle of the Renaissance, which is Florence, stands a royal and wonderful structure, characterized by the masonry cupola designed and made by Brunelleschi, and which has made it famous all over the world. Its construction began on September 8, 1296, under the direction of Arnolfo di Cambio; it was consecrated in 1436, and today it houses masterpieces of Italian art such as the Crypt of Santa Reparata, the Baptistery of San Giovanni, the Campanile of Giotto, and the Museum of the Opera.

You cannot deny that the facade of the Cathedral, with its four side doors and the bell tower, is a real outdoor museum of Florentine sculpture. The same work by Donatello is closely linked to the work carried out for the Opera of Santa Maria del Fiore, with the realization of marble David, now kept in the Bargello Museum, and San Giovanni for the facade, and then the series of Five Prophets, the Abraham, and his interpretation of Mary Magdalen in 1543. Not only that: the Cathedral also held the David of Michelangelo and the works of Vasari, just to mention some of the most famous artists who still make Santa Maria del Fiore a must-have for those visiting Florence.

Address: Piazza del Duomo, 50122 Florence, Italy

Info: www.operaduomo.firenze.it/

León Cathedral – León – SPAIN

León Cathedral - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

León Cathedral – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

It is located in the north of Spain and it is considered one of the most extraordinary Gothic architecture examples along with Notre-Dame. It’s the Cathedral of León, characteristic and famous for its stained glass windows. The story tells that in the place of the Cathedral there was the Royal Palace of the King Ordogno II, who, in 916, after a victory over the Arabs, decided to donate his own palace to build a cathedral to thank God. In 1205 the works began for the building we know today, under the guidance of the architect Maestro Enrique. The works were interrupted, then they resumed in 1255, with Master Juan Perez and with the support of Bishop Fernandez and of King of Castile and Leon, Alfonso X.

Today, the Cathedral of Leon is surely a masterpiece: 90 meters long, made up of 3 Aisles, with 125 windows, and two Gothic towers, the first one high 65 meters, the second one high 68 meters. Inside there are the remains of Bishops, including Don Rodrigo, and of Kings, like Ordogno II.

Address: Plaza Regla, s/n, 24003 León, Spain

Info: http://www.catedraldeleon.org

Saint Charles Cathedral –  Vienna –  AUSTRIA

Saint Charles Cathedral, Vienna - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Saint Charles Cathedral, Vienna – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

An extraordinary example of baroque, rich, pompous, joyful, architecture, with an impressive dome: it is the Cathedral of Saint Charles in Vienna, a less-known building, yet an extraordinary beauty that with its charm dominates the city of the Waltz. The Karlskirche is the last great work of the famous Baroque architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach; it was completed in 1739 by his son Joseph Emanuel.

The Cathedral of Saint Charles was realized for Emperor Charles VI to honour the vote made because of a plague epidemic that raged on Vienna; the name of the Cathedral, instead, comes from St. Charles Borromeo, a member of the Habsburg family. Many objects belonging to the Bishop of Milan are now kept in the small Borromeo Museum.

In addition to the exterior architecture and beautiful gardens, the Viennese Cathedral is characterized by the colourful frescoes by Johannes Michael Rottmayr, covering an area of 1250 square meters and celebrating the glory of St. Charles Borromeo. To emphasize the majesty of the interior there is the entrance staircase, flanked by two angels, representing the Old and the New Testament. The two twisted columns, inspired by the Trajan’s Column in Rome and realized by Lorenzo Mattielli, are decorated with reliefs depicting the life of the saint.

The Cathedral of Saint Charles is open from Monday to Saturday, from 9 am to 6 pm. On Sundays and public holidays from 12 pm to 7 pm, and the last uphill to the dome with lift is possible at 5.30 pm.

Address: Kreuzherrengasse 1, 1040 Wien, Austria

Info: https://www.wien.info

Winchester Cathedral – Winchester – UK

Winchester Cathedral - The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

Winchester Cathedral – The most beautiful Cathedrals in the world

This was one of the first Christian churches, today the main church of the Anglican Diocese. Built in the Winchester area, Winchester Cathedral was named after hosting the throne of the Bishop of Winchester. Built in 1079, the area was historically famous for being the seat of the largest community of Benedictine monks. It was them who, in 1300, built a choir in the Cathedral with extraordinary carved wooden roofs that still represent flowers, plants, dragons and riders.

Over the years the site has hosted several crowns of kings, and the legend says that King Arthur was buried just inside the Winchester Cathedral.

The Cathedral is famous for its ‘Chantry Chapels’, the many chapels dedicated to the bishops who led the church, and today it deserves to be visited not only for its characteristic late-Gothic and Renaissance style but also for the statue of Joan of Arc and for the grave of the famous writer Jane Austen.

Famous also is the Organum of the Cathedral, built by architect Willis in the year of the Great Exposition in Hyde Park in 1851. The success was so great that even Queen Victoria organized a private visit to see it. Unforgettable is the sound of the numerous bells that over the years have enriched the Cathedral.

Address: 9 The Cl, Winchester SO23 9LS, UK

Info: http://www.winchester-cathedral.org.uk/

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