You’re sure to come across some genuinely stunning architecture on your travels around the globe. But after a time, all the cathedrals and royal residences merge into one amazing Gothic building in your mind.
In order to inspire you even after your European trip, we’ve chosen a few of our favorite cathedrals. These stand out to us due to their distinctive narrative, aesthetic, or size.
4 churches to see in Europe
Berliner Dom – Berlin, Germany
The Berlin Cathedral is one of the symbols of Berlin and the headquarters of the Protestant Church in Germany. It was built on the foundations of the chapel dedicated to Saint Erasmus, which was incorporated into Berlin Castle. In 1465, this was a Catholic church, but it was converted into a Protestant church during the first half of the sixteenth century.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, the church was completely destroyed. The new church was built in the Baroque style in 1750, but it was also short-lived. The foundation stone of the new cathedral was laid in 1894, and its construction was completed in 1905. The dome is 114 meters high, and the value of the cathedral is around 180 million euros. This is one of the most beautiful buildings in Berlin.
Basilica of St. Johan Lateran – Rome, Italy
Basilica of St. John Lateran is the seat of the Roman bishop, that is, the official seat of the head of the Catholic Church – the Pope.
The Basilica of St. Ivan Lateranski is located approximately one kilometer east of the Colosseum and even six kilometers away from the Basilica of St. Petra. Despite this, this basilica is the official seat of the Pope, the bishop of Rome, and is therefore also the Roman cathedral, so if you are planning your trip to Rome, this is a must-see location. It is also one of the Vatican’s properties outside the territory of the Holy See, and the Lateran Basilica is also the most important of the four ancient papal basilicas in Rome.
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The first church there was built by Emperor Constantine at the beginning of the 4th century on the former property of the Laterani family, after whom the basilica and the entire surrounding district were named. However, most of the current structure dates from the 17th and 18th centuries, and the interior is especially impressive, where the famous Francesco Borromini worked.
The beautiful cloister is worth seeing; it’s an ideal place to clear your mind, but it’s also an excellent architectural achievement and probably the best example of a Cosmatic mosaic.
St. Stephen Cathedral – Vienna, Austria
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located in the center and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Vienna. It is the most significant building for Catholics in Vienna. It is located in the main pedestrian zone, in the historical part of the city, on St. Stephen’s Square.
The construction of today’s church was started in 1304, in the Gothic style. The cathedral has as many as three towers, and the southern, largest tower was completed in 1433; the tower is 136 meters high.
The bell in the northern tower was cast by cannonballs, with which the Turks tried to destroy the cathedral. The roof of the cathedral is made of colorful mosaic, made of as many as 230 thousand tiles of various colors, and the interior is imposing and rich and leaves you speechless.
High Gothic vaults are responsible for the acoustics of the cathedral, where concerts are held. The main entrance to the cathedral is decorated with reliefs of animals and saints and is called the “Giants’ Portal.” According to historical stories, a mammoth bone was found at the place where the foundation of the northern tower was laid.
Notre Dame – Paris, France
A magnificent building like Notre Dame makes Paris an even more attractive destination for tourists! Cathedrals are private to visitors because they remind us of castles from fairy tales, both because of their extraordinary architecture and because of the magic hidden within their walls.
Notre Dame is a cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The construction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris began in 1163 during the reign of Bishop Mauritius and was completed only in 1345 as the first masterpiece of Gothic art.
Notre Dame is distinguished by its specific architecture with typical Gothic elements, tall columns, and pointed towers, and its interior hides numerous works of art.
These basilicas and cathedrals are just a handful of the magnificent churches you’ll see while traveling across Europe’s most populous cities, but they do provide a glimpse into the spiritual and cultural zeniths of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Visit a few churches while you are in Europe, even if you have never been inside one before. They’re some of the most stunning and important structures you’ll see when traveling throughout Europe.