Essential Travel Experience # 10 – Gaze in awe at a magnificent European Cathedral

   Religious buildings display some of the world’s greatest architecture, probably because man values his religion above most other things. Since the cathedrals, wats, and mosques are a visible expression of that religion, man invests much time, energy, and money into making these hallowed places magnificent.

    There is no better place to see these incredible religious structures than Europe, the seat of Western Civilization for the last two thousand years. As you travel throughout Europe, you will be amazed at the beautiful and ornate extravagance that has been invested in these buildings.

     The following photos represent some of the very best of these structures and are all excellent places to visit:

In France, you will find

Chartres Cathedral


Notre Dame Cathedral


Sacre Coeur


Notre Dame Cathedral

In Italy, you will find cathedrals everywhere. Some of the most important and most beautiful are listed below. In Rome you can see

St Peter's Basilica


Santa Maria in Trastevere

In Assisi, there is the very famous

St Francis BasilicaFlorence is the Renaissance City and home of several gorgeous churches. Santa Croce


Duomo, Florence


Santa Maria NovellaThe iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa is part of a beautiful religious ensemble. Cathedral, Baptistry, and Campanile, Pisa

and one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world can be found in Milan.

Duomo, MilanSiena is another wonderful city and its cathedral is as impressive as any in the country.Duomo

There are also some beautiful churches in England; London has several  

St Paul's Cathedral


Westminster AbbeyIn York you can find the MinsterYork Minster

and, of course, there is the famous

Canterbury Cathedral

In Scotland, the most famous church is

St Giles Cathedral

Spain is another country with a wealth of beautiful churches. El Escorial, northwest of Madrid, was both a church and a royal residence 

El Escorial

Another view of this great structure

El Escorial

In Seville is Spain’s largest cathedral with its distinctive bell tower

Cathedral & Giralda, Seville

In Salamanca, the Old and New Cathedrals are physically connected

Old-New Cathedral

Segovia’s Cathedral has lovely spires and appears graceful

Cathedral, Segovia

while in Avila the Cathedral is built into the walls of the city

Cathedral, AvilaIn Belgium, the delightful city of Bruges has two noteworthy churches, the Church of Our Lady Church of Our Lady

and the Basilica of the Holy Blood

Basilica of the Holy Blood

in the corner of Burg Square. Its interior is very

Altar, Basilica of the Holy Blood


Moving further east, we can admire Stephansdom in Vienna

Giant's Doorway, Stephansdom

with its distinctive roof tiles


Prague is one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Its famous cathedral, St Vitus, is located within the Prague Castle complex

St Vitus CathedralAlso in Prague, on the Old Town Square are two interesting churches, Tyn Church which rises impressively above the square Tyn Church, Old Town Square

and St Nicholas Church which occupies a corner of the square

St Nicholas Church, Prague

In Budapest, St Mathias Church is associated with the castle

St Mathias Church

In Switzerland, you will marvel at the Munster in Bern, with its interesting door carving of heaven and hell

Munster Door, Bern

 as well as the Church of Saints Peter & Paul

St Peter & Paul Church, Bern

Another beautiful church is found in Arlesheim. The Cathedral here is lovely on the outside

Exterior, Arlesheim Cathedral

and inside

Interior of Arlesheim Cathedral

 My favorite church in Germany is the Wieskirche, a small but lovely church near the southern terminus of the Romantic Road.


The spectacular interior looks like this.

Interior, Wieskirche

Greece isn’t known for its churches but this one in Santorini is beautiful.

Thira, Santorini, Church


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