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11 of The World's Most Beautiful Cathedrals!

Wanderlust September 21, 2017 By Vincent

Places of worship are often grand and auspicious venues in a tribute to the god, gods or deities they stand as a testament to. Sometimes they have a historical or national relevance and thus have had the treatment from some of the best architects of their time with money from global church organizations or wealthy royals poured into them.

As such, they are often amongst the most beautiful and stunning structures in the world and so here we look at some of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.

1.  Hallgrimskirkja - Reykjavik, Iceland

A towering, white monolith that sits atop a hill which peers out over the whole of the capital city of Iceland, this cathedral looks more like a futuristic space rocket from a 50s sci-fi movie rather than a house of god but it is a unique building that took over 40 years to complete and was named after poet Reverend Hallgrimur Petersson, who wrote Iceland's most popular hymn book Passion Hymns.

What is strange is that Iceland is a predominantly atheist country and yet this cathedral is a much-loved icon of the country. You can go right to the top of the clock tower and look out over the bay as well, for a small fee.

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2. Nidaros Cathedral - Trondheim, Norway

It took nearly three centuries for this cathedral in Norway to be built as work on it began in 1070AD and was finished sometime around 1300AD. Employing aspects of both Romanesque and Gothic style design and architecture, the cathedral is the largest in Norway and is regarded both as a national shrine and a coronation church.

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One of the most popular tourist attractions in the country it draws many visitors each year.

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3. Sagrada Familia - Barcelona, Spain

Not technically a cathedral but rather a very large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, it is still worthy of a mention. The sheer size and scope of this project mean that it is still under construction despite work commencing in 1882. In 1883, the famed Catalan architect took over the project and imbuing it with his own unique design and aesthetic.

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Interrupted by the Spanish civil war and relying on private donations to work towards its completion, it reached a halfway stage sometime in 2010 and has an estimated completion date of 2026. Despite not being finished it is a  UNESCO World Heritage Site and when work on the spires is completed it will make Sagrada Família the tallest church building in the world.

4. Notre Dame - Paris, France

One of the most famous cathedrals in the world due to its immortalization in the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the building itself is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in existence and the naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture often found around Europe.

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With several periods of construction on the building starting in 1163, it was essentially completed in 1345.

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5. Santa Maria del Fiore - Florence, Italy

An absolutely massive basilica, the plans of this cathedral actually make a Latin cross from up above.  502 feet long, 124 feet wide, and 295 feet at the crossing. The height of the arches in the aisles is an amazing 75 feet and the architect in charge of the project, Filippo Brunelleschi, never produced full documents of his designs so that he could maintain control over the project.

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A glorious example of Italian Renaissance architecture it incorporates many great engineering feats in order to keep a dome of its size held up.

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