Historic Churches | Historical Church List

Old and historic churches rank among the most impressive historical places in the world. From famous churches such as Britain’s Westminster Abbey and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul to more obscure examples, such as the fortified church at Prejmer, historical churches have given us stunning examples of art and architecture to rival anything in ancient or modern times.

While traditional Christian churches are often built in the shape of a cross, the wide variety of design and architecture thrown up by historic churches means there is no standard type of old church. Indeed, with historical churches from all over the world, the often enthralling buildings on offer can be truly magnificent to explore.

So if you like to potter around famous churches or historic churches on your travels, then the below list of historical churches should get you on your way. This list of old churches and historic churches generally covers those churches built after the end of the ancient era running through to the early twentieth century. For churches built before 500 AD, you can explore our guide to ancient churches.

Click on each historic church for more information or explore our historical church map above.

Historic Churches | Historical Church List: Editor's Picks

Photo by tillwe (cc)

1. Saint Mark’s Basilica

One of the largest and best known historic churches in the world, Saint Mark’s Basilica is a famous Byzantine cathedral in Venice in Italy, built on a grand scale with ornate decorations throughout.

Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco a Venezia) is a world famous Byzantine cathedral in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, sometimes known as Chiesa d’Oro or "Church of gold". St. Mark’s Basilica was originally founded in 828 AD, after the relics of the patron saint Mark the evangelist were brought,... Read More

Photo by Historvius

2. Lalibela Rock Churches

Lalibela in Ethiopia is famous for its eleven UNESCO-listed medieval rock cut churches, an attempt to create a “New Jerusalem”.

Lalibela, named after a 12th century king of Ethiopia, is famous for its amazing rock cut churches. Carved out of the rock rather than built with stone (see also Petra in Jordan), each of these eleven churches  has been excavated from the rock, cutting down up to 40 feet then... Read More

Photo by Mark Ramsay (cc)

3. Westminster Abbey

Among the most famous historic churches in the world, Westminster Abbey is an iconic medieval structure and the site of many British royal events, from coronations and weddings to burials.

Westminster Abbey is an iconic medieval structure and the site of many historic royal and national events, from coronations and weddings to burials and even deaths. Centrally located in London, Westminster Abbey was first constructed in the eleventh century by King Edward the Confessor, a Saxon king who dedicated this... Read More

Historic Churches | Historical Church List: Site Index

Photo by archer10 (Dennis) (cc)

Agios Eleftherios

An important Byzantine-era church in Athens, Agios Eleftherios is a small historic church which was nonetheless the most important church in the city until around the 12th century. It is sometimes known as the little cathedral.

Agios Eleftherios is a very small yet important Byzantine church in Athens set in the shadow of the city’s cathedral. Built in the twelfth century, Agios Eleftherios was once the main church in Athens. This fact, coupled with the vision of the diminutive church next to the monolith of Athens... Read More

Photo by dobrych (cc)

Alexander Nevsky Lavra

One of Russia's most important historical churches, Alexander Nevsky Lavra was built in the eighteenth century by the famous Russian monarch Peter the Great.

Alexander Nevsky Lavra, translated as the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, is St. Petersburg's oldest monastery, built under the orders of Peter the Great in 1710. Its namesake, Alexander Nevsky, was a military commander also known as Alexander of Novgorod. A brilliant leader, Nevsky’s successes on the battlefield led to him being viewed... Read More

Photo by Piper... (cc)

Basilica de la Virgen de los Desamparados

A seventeenth century church built in a Baroque style, Basi­lica de la Virgen de los Desamparados ranks among the most important religious building in Valencia, Spain.

Basi­lica de la Virgen de los Desamparados (Basilica of Our Lady of the Forsaken) is a 17th century church built in a Baroque style and dedicated to the patron saint of Valencia. Begun in 1652 and completed in 1667, Basi­lica de la Virgen de los Desamparados is considered to be... Read More

Photo by Liam Q (cc)

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar

One of many historic churches in Buenos Aires, Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar was built in the 18th century and lies opposite the famous Recoleta Cemetery.

Basilica de Nuestra Senora Del Pilar was constructed in 1732 in a colonial style including a square tower and a dome. Its interior includes a central nave opening up to two chapels. It sits across from the Recoleta Cemetery.... Read More

Photo by b.roveran (cc)

Basilica di Santa Croce

A beautiful old church in Florence, the Basilica di Santa Croce is most famous for being the burial place of many of the city's most iconic figures.

The Basilica di Santa Croce or “Basilica of the Holy Cross “ is a medieval church in Florence, Italy most well known for its beautiful decoration and its status as the burial site of many of Florence’s most famous individuals. Constructed around 1294, the Basilica di Santa Croce has sixteen chapels,... Read More

Basilica of Sant Angelo

The Basilica of Sant Angelo is an 11th century church partially made up of the remains of a Roman temple, making it a particularly fascinating place to visit.

The Basilica of Sant Angelo in Formis is an eleventh century Benedictine church constructed on the former site of a Roman temple dedicated to Diana Tifatina. In fact, the remains of this Roman temple are incorporated into the Basilica of Sant Angelo in Formis, including its Doric columns and floor,... Read More

Photo by kyllercg (cc)

Basilica of St Denis

One of the more famous churches in France, the Basilica of St Denis was the site where French monarchs were buried until the French Revolution, when many of the tombs were opened and the remains removed.

The Basilica of St Denis (Basilique Saint-Denis) in Paris, France is a cathedral basilica named after France’s patron saint. In fact, the place where Basilica of St Denis stands is believed to the site where Saint Denis, also known as Saint Dionysius, was buried after his death in around 275... Read More

Photo by chantrybee (cc)

Basilica of St Sernin

The Basilica of St Sernin in Toulouse is a UNESCO-listed eleventh century medieval church which formed part of a famous pilgrimage route.

The Basilica of St Sernin (Basilique St-Sernin) in Toulouse is an eleventh-twelfth century basilica said to be the largest one of Romanesque style in Europe. It is named after Saint Saturninus, the first bishop of Toulouse, who was martyred in the third century AD during the Roman persecution of Christians. A... Read More

Photo by Rob Alter (cc)

Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouviere

Visually stunning, the Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouviere in Lyon, France, is an iconic nineteenth century church inspired by Byzantine design.

Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouviere in Lyon is a flamboyant nineteenth century church designed to look like a Byzantine creation. Built from 1872 to 1896, Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouviere is now considered to be one of the city’s most iconic buildings.... Read More

Photo by stevecadman (cc)

Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey in the UK was originally built in the late fifteenth century. It was destroyed by Henry VIII and restored under Elizabeth I in a glorious manner, leaving the striking historic church we see today.

Bath Abbey is an imposing medieval church built from 1499 on the site of a once vast but ruined Norman cathedral. In fact, the first church to be built on the site of Bath Abbey was an eighth century Anglo-Saxon church torn down by the Normans after 1066 and replaced... Read More

Photo by Andrey Belenko (cc)

Berliner Dom

One of the most impressive buildings in the city, Berliner Dom was the royal church of the Prussian monarchy in Germany.

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is an early twentieth century cathedral built during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Constructed between 1894 and 1905, ornate and crowned with an imposing dome, Berliner Dom contains the Hohenzollern royal crypt which is the final resting place of, amongst around a hundred others, Frederick William... Read More

Photo by M Glasgow (cc)

Bethel Baptist Church

An important historical church in the US, Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, played a crucial role in the US Civil Rights movement. It was attacked on three separate occasions by extremists.

The site of Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama played a crucial role in the fledgling American Civil Rights movement. From 1956 until 1961 Bethel Baptist Church was the headquarters of the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights which strove to ensure equal rights through non-violent means and fought... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Boyana Church

The Boyana Church houses some of the most impressive medieval frescoes in Europe and is a UNESCO world heritage historic site.

The Boyana Church in Sofia is famous for housing some of the most impressive medieval frescoes in Europe. The church complex was built over three distinct periods. The initial construction was built during the late 10th century as a private chapel which stood within the Boyana fortress. Later, during the 12th... Read More

Photo by dumbledad (cc)

Castle Acre Priory

Castle Acre Priory was an eleventh century monastery dissolved by King Henry VIII, now only the picturesque ruins of this once famous church survive.

Castle Acre Priory was a monastery founded in 1090 AD by William de Warenne, the Second Earl of Surrey. Inspired by the French monastery of Cluny, de Warenne built Castle Acre Priory in its image. The result was an impressive and ornately decorated medieval monastic structure later accompanied by a... Read More

Chiesa del Gesu

Notable for its ornate artistic decorations, particularly its ceiling frescoes, the Chiesa del Gesu is an historic church in Rome and centre of the Catholic Jesuit Order.

The Chiesa del Gesu is an historic church in Rome notable for both its artistic wonders and its place as the centre of the Catholic Jesuit Order. The brainchild of the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Ignatius himself did not live to see his vision realised. However, the... Read More

Photo by cristianocani (cc)

Chiesa di San Lucifero

A baroque 17th century church in Cagliari, Italy, the Chiesa di San Lucifero is built on the remains of a sixth century ancient Christian necropolis.

Chiesa di San Lucifero is a baroque seventeenth century church in Cagliari built on the remains of a sixth century Christian necropolis.... Read More

Photo by Christian Stock (cc)

Church of Agios Lazaros

The Church of Agios Lazaros in Cyprus was built in the 10th century AD to house the believed tomb of Saint Lazarus.

The Church of Agios Lazaros, also known as Church of Ayios Lazaros, is a Byzantine creation built in the tenth century AD over the believed tomb of Saint Lazarus. Saint Lazarus is said to have been resurrected by Jesus and then to have fled to Cyprus, where he was... Read More

Photo by Jim Linwood (cc)

Church of Our Lady, Bruges

The Church of Our Lady in Bruges is an impressive medieval church, built from the 13th-15th centuries and containing Michelangelo’s sculpture of the Madonna and Child.

The Church of Our Lady in Bruges, Belgium, is a magnificent medieval church which was constructed over a period of at least two hundred years, starting in the 13th century. At a height of 122.3m (just over 400 feet) it includes the second tallest brickwork tower in the world and is... Read More

Photo by FaceMePLS (cc)

Church of St Anne - Vilnius

The Church of St Anne is a beautiful gothic-style church in Vilnius’ UNESCO-listed old town. The distinctive red hue of this historic church can be attributed to the thirty-three types of clay brick used to build it.

The Church of St Anne in Vilnius is a strikingly beautiful gothic church in the city’s old centre, it being part of this area’s listing as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built on the former site of an early fifteenth century wooden church, it took around five years to construct the... Read More

Photo by SergeyRod (cc)

Church of the Ascension

The Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye, Russia, was built to celebrate the birth of Tsar Ivan IV and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Church of the Ascension is a sixteenth century church in Kolomenskoye built by Prince Vasili III to celebrate the long anticipated birth of the heir to the Russian throne, Ivan IV Vasilyevich. Ivan, who was born on 25 August 1530, would become known as Ivan the Terrible. Now dominating... Read More

Photo by bigglesmith (cc)

Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood

The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is a stunningly colourful and ornate nineteenth century church in St Petersburg, Russia.

The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is one of St Petersburg’s most impressive churches. With multicolored onion domes reminiscent of St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood is a breathtaking sight both outside and within its ornately decorated walls. Whilst this church is... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Clonmacnoise

What could be seen as Ireland's first true city, the ruins of the sixth century monastic settlement of Clonmacnoise can be found in County Offaly and contain the remains of seven historic churches.

The Lost City of Clonmacnoise could be described as Ireland's first true city. St Ciaran established Clonmacnoise in the 6th century, at the ancient crossroads of Ireland at the junction of the River Shannon and the Eiscir Riada. This ancient monastic settlement quickly grew in to a thriving university city and... Read More

Photo by phault (cc)

Dunfermline Abbey and Palace

One of the most picturesque historic churches of the world, Dunfermline Abbey and Palace was originally built in the 11th century and used as a royal residence. It is the final resting place of many a Scottish monarch.

Dunfermline Abbey and Palace have a royal connection dating back to the eleventh century, when a priory was established there under Queen Margaret (now known as St Margaret). This was elevated to being an abbey in around 1150 by her son, David I. The picturesque remains of Dunfermline Abbey - now just... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Fagervik Manor

The site of an historic set of 18th century ironworks, Fagervik Manor is also home to an historic 18th century church, which includes Finland’s oldest operational church-organ.

Fagervik Manor (Fagervik Gard) is the site of an historic set of 18th century ironworks and an historical estate in Finland. In fact, the ironworks were first established in 1646 by a Swedish man called Carl Billsten, but nothing remains of these. Instead, what can be seen at Fagervik Manor... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Fonte Avellana

Fonte Avellana is a charming medieval hermitage in Italy’s Marche region which dates back as far as 1000AD and is still a working monastery today.

Fonte Avellana is a medieval hermitage nestled amongst the mountains of Serra Sant'Abbondio in Italy's Le Marche region. Also known as the Venerable Hermitage of the Holy Cross, Fonte Avellana has a rich history, including being described in Dante's Divine Comedy. Founded in around 1000AD, Fonte Avellana was originally home to an... Read More

Photo by Al Ianni (cc)

Fraumunster

One of the most famous medieval churches in Switzerland, Fraumunster is renowned for its stained glass windows, many of which are by famous artist Marc Chagall.

Fraumunster (Church of Our Lady) is one of the most famous churches in Zurich. First built by King Louis the German in 853AD, most of the current site dates from the mid-13th century, when the Abbess Judenta Hagenbuch undertook renovations of Fraumunster. Fraumunster is now famous for several aspects,... Read More

Photo by sk12 (cc)

Gamla Stan

The historical quarter of Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, Gamla Stan includes the beautiful medieval church of Riddarholmen, one of Stockholms oldest buildings.

Gamla Stan, literally meaning “Old Town” is the historical quarter of Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm. Dating back to the 13th century, Gamla Stan was originally called “själva staden” which means “the city itself” and is mostly located on the island of Stadsholmen. Gamla Stan is made up of a network of cobbled... Read More

Photo by davidboeke (cc)

Glastonbury Abbey

Glastonbury Abbey is one of the most important historic abbeys in Britain and the legendary burial place of King Arthur.

Glastonbury Abbey is one of the most important historic abbeys in Britain and the focal point of myth, legend and important historical events. Although the original stone church of Glastonbury Abbey was constructed by Saxon King Ine of Wessex in around 712AD, the site has a history said to trace... Read More

Photo by roger4336 (cc)

Grossmunster

Grossmunster is a famous medieval church in Zurich with a history dating to Charlemagne which boasts striking towers as well as a Romanesque crypt.

Grossmunster (Great Minster) is a famous medieval church in Zurich with a history dating to Charlemagne. Indeed, it is said that this Frankish king built the first incarnation of Grossmunster on the site where he found the graves of the city’s patrons, Felix and Regula. However, the Romanesque style version... Read More

Photo by David Spender (cc)

Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia is a world famous sixth century church turned mosque in Istanbul, built under the orders of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.

The Hagia Sophia, or ‘Ayasofya’ in Turkish, is a world famous sixth century church turned mosque in Istanbul, which now operates as a museum. Whilst the original Hagia Sofia was built in the fourth century AD by Constantine the Great, very little remains of this structure nor the one built... Read More

Photo by Turkish Travel (cc)

Hagia Sophia, Trabzon

A 13th century historic church, a 15th century mosque and a 20th century museum, the Trabzon Hagia Sophia has a fascinating history and boasts a wealth of historical art and frescoes.

The historic Hagia Sophia in Trabzon, Turkey, is an impressive 13th century Byzantine church which now operates as a museum boasting a range of fascinating ancient frescoes. Originally constructed under the direction of Trebizond Emperor Manuel I between 1238 and 1263 AD, the Hagia Sophia was originally built to serve as... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion is an 18th century historical church with a history dating back to the 16th century.

Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion (Church of the Immaculate Conception) in La Orotava in Tenerife was built in the 18th century but its history dates back to the 16th century, when a chapel was founded there.... Read More

Photo by tm-tm (cc)

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman

Boasting an eclectic range of art and architecture, Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman is a historical church dating mostly to the 17th century.

Iglesia de Santo Domingo de Guzman is a church dating mostly to the seventeenth century, but with an eclectic range of art and architecture including a sixteenth century doorway and twentieth century murals.... Read More

Photo by Christian Stock (cc)

Jakobikirche

One of many historic churches in Germany, the fourteenth century Jakobikirche represents one of Lubeck’s best preserved medieval churches.

Jakobikirche (St. Jacob's Church) was built in 1334 and now represents one of Lubeck’s best preserved medieval churches, having managed to emerge relatively unscathed from the air raids of World War II.... Read More

Jesús de Tavarangue and Santísima Trinidad

The Jesuit ruins at Jésus and Trinidad are amongst the best-preserved of their kind. Visitors can explore ornately decorated churches, colleges and cloisters and belfries - all within a beautiful tropical setting.

The remarkably well-preserved ruins of the Jesuit missions of Jesús de Tavarangue and La Santísima Trinidad del Paraná lie in the Itapúa Department of Paraguay, some 400km from the country’s capital, Asunción. Founded by zealous Jesuit missionaries in the early 18th century, these large, ornately-decorated establishments were two amongst a series... Read More

Photo by heatheronhertravels (cc)

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

A popular tourist destination and one of the best known historic churches of the world, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a famous Berlin landmark, boasting stunning frescos and a poignant memorial hall.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is a Romanesque style church which was originally built in the 1890’s and dedicated to Kaiser William I by his grandson Kaiser William II. Although the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was severely damaged in a bombing raid in 1943, during World War II, remnants of its original architecture... Read More

Photo by randyc9999 (cc)

Kapnikarea

Sitting right in the middle of bustling modern streets, Kapnikarea is a beautiful 11th century Byzantine church in Athens.

Sitting right in the middle of bustling modern streets, Kapnikarea is a beautiful 11th century Byzantine church in Athens. Built around 1050 AD, the church was constructed atop the remains of an earlier ancient Greek temple, probably dedicated to either Athena or Demeter. Kapnikarea looks oddly out of place in the middle... Read More

Photo by cyrildoussin (cc)

Kells Priory

Kells Priory is a ruin of a fourteenth to fifteenth century historic monastery in County Kilkenny, the Republic of Ireland.

Originally founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert de Marisco in 1193, Kells Priory was mostly destroyed in attacks in both 1252 and 1327. It was later rebuilt, but then became one of the monasteries dissolved by King Henry VIII in the mid-sixteenth century. Kells Priory continued to operate for another century or so,... Read More

Photo by PhyreWorX (cc)

La Sagrada Familia

Among the most famous churches in the world, La Sagrada Família is an iconic church in Barcelona with UNESCO status. It is the final resting place of Antoni Gaudi.

La Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family) is an iconic yet incomplete church in Barcelona. Works on La Sagrada Familia were begun in 1882 under the architect Francisco de Paula del Villar, then continued under Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi did not live to see the church completed and, since his death... Read More

Photo by zugaldia (cc)

Liebfrauen

Liebfrauen is a thirteenth century UNESCO-listed gothic church in Trier, built atop the ruins of a vast Roman church built by Constantine the Great.

Liebfrauen in Trier, translated as the Church of Our Lady, is a medieval cross-shaped church built upon the southern ruins of a vast Roman church built in 326 AD by Constantine the Great. It is near Trier Cathedral, which was also built over these remains. Completed in approximately 1260, Liebfrauen is... Read More

Photo by Kyle Taylor (cc)

Lisbon National Pantheon

The Lisbon National Pantheon is a pretty domed church and the burial site of many of Portugal’s most prominent figures.

The Lisbon National Pantheon (Panteao Nacional) is a pretty domed church and the burial site of many of Portugal’s most prominent figures, ranging from Presidents of the Republic to artists. Whilst a sixteenth century church was previously located on this site, the current building of the Lisbon National Pantheon... Read More

Photo by eriwst (cc)

Marienkirche

Germany’s third largest church, Marienkirche in Lubeck was consecrated in 1350AD and is renowned for its gothic architecture.

Marienkirche (St. Mary’s Church) in Lubeck is Germany’s third largest church and part of this city’s illustrious history as a former member of the Hanseatic League. Taking some 100 years to complete and consecrated in 1350, Marienkirche may not be Lubeck’s oldest church (that’s probably the cathedral), but it is its... Read More

Photo by anafreitas (cc)

Matthias Church

Matthias Church in Budapest, Hungary, is an ornate medieval church which has been the site of royal weddings and coronations for hundreds of years.

Matthias Church (Matyas Templom) is an ornate medieval structure which has been the site of royal weddings and coronations. Despite being founded in the thirteenth century by King Bela IV (some posit that the first church here was built in the eleventh century), the name Matthias Church is actually a reference... Read More

Photo by xoque (cc)

Munich Frauenkirche

The Munich Frauenkirche is one of the city’s most iconic sites and is famous for it of onion-dome topped towers.

The Munich Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) is one of the city’s most iconic sites. Begun in 1468 over the site of an earlier church, the Munich Frauenkirche was consecrated in 1494. However, it was not until the sixteenth century that Frauenkirche got its most famous additions, a pair of onion-dome... Read More

Photo by byrdiegyrl (cc)

Mystras

Mystras is an archaeological site in Greece housing the remains of a series of Byzantine churches and a medieval monastery.

Mystras or “Morea” sits atop a hill overlooking the city of Sparta. In approximately 1248-1249, William II of Villehardouin, a prince of Achaea who had taken part in the Fourth Crusade, decided to build a stronghold there as a defence from the Byzantines. Soon after the castle was completed, William was... Read More

Notre-Dame de la Garde - Marseille

Built in 1853 in a Neo-Byzantine style, Marseille’s Notre-Dame de la Garde overlooks the city and the harbour, its high position making it a favoured lookout point.

Notre-Dame de la Garde is a nineteenth century basilica in Marseille. Built in 1853 in a Neo-Byzantine style, Notre-Dame de la Garde replaced the original thirteenth century church in this location, which had been fortified in the sixteenth century only to be destroyed in the French Revolution. Notre-Dame de la Garde... Read More

Nuestra Senora de Loreto

One of several historical churches in Argentina, Nuestra Señora de Loreto was a Jesuit mission, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Nuestra Senora de Loreto was an important Argentinean Jesuit mission founded in 1610. Unlike many of its counterparts which had to move several times due to ongoing attacks from slave traders, Nuestra Senora de Loreto only moved once. This resettlement occurred in 1631, when the mission transferred to its present location... Read More

Old North Church - Boston

Among the most historically significant historic churches in the world, Old North Church in Boston played a vital role in igniting the American Revolution and is part of the Freedom Trail.

Old North Church is Boston’s oldest church, having been built in 1723 in the Georgian style. Originally called Christ’s Church, Old North Church was also the tallest building in Boston at the time and thus came to serve an important role in the American Revolution. In the eighteenth century, the British... Read More

Osterlars Round Church

Osterlars Round Church is a twelfth century church in Bornholm, built as a defensive structure in order to withstand the possible threat of pirates.

Osterlars Round Church (Østerlars Rundkirke) is a well-known circular church in Bornholm in Denmark, believed to date back to 1150 and dedicated to Saint Laurentius. One of four such churches in Bornholm, Osterlars Round Church was staunchly built in order to withstand the possible threat of pirates. Visitors can enter Osterlars Round... Read More

Peterskirche - Zurich

Famed for having Europe’s largest clock face, Peterskirche is an impressive historic church in Zurich.

Peterskirche in Zurich (St. Peter’s Church) is a medieval church famed for having Europe’s largest clock face. Whilst a church has stood on the site of Peterskirche in Zurich since the 9th century, the church itself has undergone several transformations and mostly dates from the 13th century. Amongst its... Read More

Pirita Convent

Pirita Convent was an important fifteenth century nunnery of the order of St. Bridget and now stands as a scenic ruin.

Pirita Convent (Pirita klooster) was an important 15th century nunnery of the order of St. Bridget and now stands as a picturesque ruin in modern-day Estonia. At the time it was constructed, the city of Tallinn - where it was based - was already a trading hub and the idea... Read More

Prejmer Fortified Church

Prejmer Fortified Church in Romania was built in the 13th century by the Teutonic knights and is one of the less frequented of the world’s historical churches.

Prejmer Fortified Church is one of a series of UNESCO-listed historic churches in Romania and is known for being the largest church of its kind in south eastern Europe. Built from 1212 and completed in 1225, Prejmer Fortified Church was a construction of the Roman Catholic Teutonic knights. With its thick... Read More

Riddarholm Church

A thirteenth century historic church, Riddarholm Church has served as the burial site of most of Sweden’s monarchs for hundreds of years.

Riddarholm Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is one of Stockholm’s oldest buildings, with parts of this imposing historic structure having been built in 1270 and completed in around 1300. Ever since King Magnus Ladulås, who died in 1290, was buried there, Riddarholm Church has been the site in which most of Sweden’s royal family... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Rocamadour Shrine

The Rocamadour Shrine is a holy complex in southern France, containing a range of eleventh-thirteenth century AD churches and chapels.

The Rocamadour Shrine in southern France is a place of holy pilgrimage of the Christian faith, made so by a series of reports of miraculous events taking place in this location. One of the main historic sites at the Rocamadour Shrine is the Chapel of Notre-Dame, in which one of these... Read More

Roldal Stave Church

Roldal Stave Church is an attractive wooden church dating back to around the mid-thirteenth century.

Roldal Stave Church (Roldal Stavkyrkje) is a picturesque wooden church dating back to around 1250 with 16th century interiors. Pilgrims would travel to Roldal Stave Church in medieval times, especially to see its altar crucifix, which was believed to have healing properties. Today, visitors still flock to Roldal Stave... Read More

Photo by stormwarning (cc)

Rosslyn Chapel

Made famous by Dan Brown and one of the most recognised entries on the list of historical churches, Rosslyn Chapel is a 15th century Catholic Church near Edinburgh in Scotland brimming with mysterious carvings.

Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh in Scotland is the beautiful fifteenth century creation of the third Prince of Orkney, William St Clair. Begun in 1446 and with its foundations completed in 1450, Rosslyn Chapel was actually named the “Collegiate Chapel of St Matthew”. Whilst Rosslyn Chapel may seem like a finished church,... Read More

Ruinas de Sao Paulo

Ruinas de Sao Paulo are the dramatic remains of a seventeenth century Jesuit church a built in Macau in 1602 and destroyed by fire in 1835.

Ruinas de Sao Paulo (St Paul’s Ruins) are the remains of a Jesuit cathedral built in Macau in 1602. The Jesuits were expelled from Macau in the eighteenth century, after which the church was used as an army barracks. Today, all that remains of this church are the historic Ruinas de... Read More

Saint George’s Basilica

St George’s Basilica is a 10th century church in the Prague Castle complex and home of the tombs of the Premyslid dynasty of princes.

St George’s Basilica is a tenth century church rich with Baroque, Romanesque and Bohemian architectural elements located in the Prague Castle complex. The church has undergone a series of reconstructions so, whilst originally built in 920 AD by Prince Vratislav I, St George’s Basilica only retains the foundations from this period. St... Read More

Saint-Sulpice Church

One of the city’s largest churches, Saint-Sulpice Church is a huge eighteenth century church in Paris, begun in the mid-seventeenth century completed a century later.

Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris is one of the city’s largest churches, being only slightly smaller than Notre Dame Cathedral. Initial construction of Saint-Sulpice Church began in the mid-seventeenth century and took nearly a century to complete, finally consecrated in the name of Saint Sulpitius the Pious. There are various historic... Read More

Photo by inoc (cc)

Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle is a stunning thirteenth Century gothic church in Paris and and home to the city’s oldest wall paintings as well as some stunning stained-glass windows.

Sainte Chapelle or the “Holy Chapel” is a gothic church built by Saint Louis in Ile de la Cité in the centre of Paris. The construction of Sainte Chapelle began in 1246 under the orders of King Louis IX, and was carried out with the specific purpose of housing the relics... Read More

Sainte-Foy Abbey

Sainte-Foy Abbey in Conques, France, was one of the churches along the medieval pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela.

Sainte-Foy Abbey, also known as Conques Abbey and Abbey de Sainte Foy, was one of the churches along the medieval pilgrimage route to the Spanish cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The main reason for this was that Sainte-Foy Abbey has held the relics of its namesake, Sainte Foye, since the... Read More

Saints Francis and Bernardine Church - Vilnius

The Saints Francis and Bernardine Church is a fifteenth century gothic church in Vilnius.

The Saints Francis and Bernardine Church, translated as Sv. Pranciskaus ir Bernardino, is a late fifteenth century church in the UNESCO-listed historic quarter of Vilnius. It is one of the country’s largest religious gothic structures. At one point, Saints Francis and Bernardine Church formed part of the city’s fortifications, a fact... Read More

San Augustin

The Temple of Saint Augustin is a sixteenth century monastery in Acolman in Mexico, constructed by Augustinian friars between 1539 and 1560.

The Temple of Saint Augustin, known as Templo y Ex-Convento de San Agustin, is a sixteenth century historic church in the village of Acolman in Mexico. Constructed by Augustinian friars between 1539 and 1560, San Agustin is a great example of sixteenth century architecture, particularly its façade, which exhibits a plateresque-style... Read More

San Ignacio Mini

One of several historical churches in the world to be UNESCO listed, San Ignacio Mini in Argentina is one of the best preserved Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis.

San Ignacio Mini in Argentina is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Originally founded in approximately 1611, San Ignacio Mini formed part of a series of Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis established by the Society of Jesus or ‘Jesuits’. Many similar Jesuit missions were scattered across Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The San... Read More

San Lorenzo Church

A vast ornate structure lined with chapels, San Lorenzo Church in Florence is a 15th century church commissioned by the Medici family.

San Lorenzo Church in Florence, Italy was originally consecrated in 393 AD.  In 1419, the Medici family commissioned Filippo Brunelleschi to rebuild it and it became the parish church of the family. Today, San Lorenzo Church is a vast ornate structure lined with chapels. The outside of the church however... Read More

Photo by Richard (cc)

San Pietro in Vincoli

The beautiful San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome is a quiet, inconspicuous ancient church containing several stunning sculptures by the famous artist Michelangelo as well as famed religious artefacts said to date back to St Peter.

The beautiful San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome is a quiet, inconspicuous ancient church containing several stunning sculptures by the famous artist Michelangelo as well as famed religious artefacts said to date back to St Peter. Originally built in the 5th century AD by Empress Eudoxia - wife of Roman Emperor... Read More

San Saturnino Basilica

One of Sardinia’s oldest churches, San Saturnino Basilica was consecrated in the 12th century but includes a Roman necropolis which dates back to the early Christian era.

San Saturnino Basilica (Basilica di San Saturnino) is one of Sardinia’s oldest churches. San Saturnino Basilica was definitely in existence by the sixth century AD and perhaps even as early as the fourth. In fact, the namesake of San Saturnino Basilica is said to have been executed here during the reign... Read More

Photo by Oggie Dog (cc)

Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri

An impressive sixteenth century church in Rome, Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri was built by Michelangelo using the structural remains of the ancient Baths of Diocletian.

The Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri (St. Mary of the Angels and the Martyrs) is a large and impressive 16th century church constructed within the remains of the Baths of Diocletian and masterminded by renowned renaissance artist Michelangelo. Though centuries had passed since the fall of the... Read More

Santa Maria del Mar

Eglesia de Santa Maria del Mar is a fourteenth century church in Barcelona and an excellent example of Catalan-Gothic architecture.

Eglesia de Santa Maria del Mar (St Mary of the Sea Church) is a fourteenth century Catalan-Gothic church in Barcelona’s Born District. Originally built to celebrate the Catalan conquest of Sardinia, Santa Maria del Mar is now one of Barcelona’s most famous churches and its best example of Catalan-Gothic architecture, designed... Read More

Sao Miguel das Missoes

Sao Miguel das Missoes was one of five Jesuit missions of the Guaranis granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

Sao Miguel das Missoes was a reduction founded in the 18th century by the Jesuits or the ‘Society of Jesus’ and intended to convert the indigenous Guarani Indian population to Christianity. The Jesuits often found themselves under attack from slave traders and, while the mission was originally founded in Itaiaceco in... Read More

Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael is a dramatic and remote medieval monastic settlement off the coast of Ireland. Visits to Skellig Michael involve a particularly steep climb up 618 steps.

Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichil) is a dramatic and remote medieval monastic settlement off the coast of Ireland. In fact, it was one of Ireland’s earliest examples of monastic life. First mentioned in writing in the 8th century, it is not clear as to exactly when the monastery of Skellig Michael... Read More

St Amand de Coly

St Amand de Coly is a thirteenth century fortified church in France’s Dordogne region which is heavily defended by ramparts and high towers.

St Amand de Coly in the Dordogne, France is a well-fortified yet austere church originally built in the twelfth century and completed in the thirteenth. Located in a village by the same name, St Amand de Coly is a Romanesque style church which is heavily defended by ramparts and high... Read More

St Matthias Abbey - Trier

St Matthias Abbey houses the grave of its namesake, the apostle, St Mathias. Also found at the site is a Roman cemetery housing the first bishops of Trier, probably dating back to the third century.

St Matthias Abbey (Benediktiner abtei St. Matthias) is a twelfth century church and the site of the tomb of the apostle St Matthias, who succeeded Judas. Also located at St Matthias Abbey, which was consecrated in 1148, is a Roman cemetery housing the final resting places of the first bishops of... Read More

St Nicholas Church

Prague’s historic St Nicholas Church was built in the eighteenth century and is a prime example of Baroque architecture.

St Nicholas Church in Prague was a Jesuit church built between 1673 and 1752 to replace the thirteenth century Parish of St Nicholas. Constructed in a time of significant social upheaval, including the re-establishment of Catholicism, the architecture of St Nicholas Church reflected and contributed to these changes, having been... Read More

St Peter and St Paul Church - Vilnius

St Peter and St Paul Church is a 17th century church in Vilnius, built to mark the city’s liberation from Russia.

St Peter and St Paul Church in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius was built in the latter half of the seventeenth century. Its founder, Hetman Mykolas Kazimieras Pacas, intended the church to mark the city’s liberation from Russia. With its thousands of stucco figures and beautiful interior, St Peter and St Paul Church... Read More

Photo by jimmyharris (cc)

St Peter’s Basilica

Perhaps the most famous church in the world, St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the holiest of Christian sites with a history dating back to Ancient Rome.

St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the most important Christian sites in the world and is a church (rather than a cathedral) with a long and illustrious history. Also known as the 'Papal Basilica of Saint Peter' and in Italian as 'Basilica Papale di San Pietro in... Read More

St Savior in Chora

St Savior in Chora is an 11th century church turned mosque and, more recently, a museum known as Kariye Muzesi.

St Savior in Chora (Kariye Camii) is an eleventh century church turned mosque and, more recently, a museum known as Kariye Muzesi (Chora Museum). Originally built within a Christian complex outside the boundary of Constantinople’s walls, St Savior in Chora derived its name from its countryside setting, "in... Read More

St Stephen’s Basilica

St. Stephen’s Basilica is Budapest’s largest church and was completed in 1905> It was built in the name of the canonised king, Stephen I of Hungary.

St. Stephen’s Basilica (Szent Istvan Bazilika) is Budapest’s largest church. Begun in 1851 and completed in 1905, St. Stephen’s Basilica was consecrated in the name of the canonised King, Stephen I of Hungary (reign 1001-1038). One of the king’s relics, his right hand - known as the Holy Right and... Read More

St-Trophime Church

St-Trophime Church is a UNESCO listed historical church in Arles renowned for its Romanesque architecture.

St-Trophime Church (Eglise St-Trophime) is one of the main Romanesque structures in the town of Arles and is part of the town’s UNESCO World Heritage listing. Arles was one of the earliest settlements in Gaul to have had a Christian presence and a church has existed on the site of St-Trophime... Read More

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar is a pretty, whitewashed stone church in Aland built in 1784 and renowned for its fourteenth century Finnish Franciscan convent.

St. Anna’s Church of Kokar is a pretty, whitewashed stone church in Aland built in 1784 and renowned for its 14th century Finnish Franciscan convent. The ruins of the convent are still visible today and visitors can see where the monks who lived there once worked. St. Anna’s Church of Kokar... Read More

Tempio Malatestiano

Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini is a fifteenth century Franciscan church turned lavish Renaissance mausoleum.

Tempio Malatestiano, translated as the “Malatesta Temple” in Rimini was originally a Franciscan church, later transformed into a Renaissance church. This work, which began in 1447, was carried out at the behest of the nobleman and notoriously ruthless military commander of Venetian forces, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. Malatesta was part of... Read More

Photo by Simon_Brighton (cc)

Temple Church

Among the more mysterious entries on the list of historic churches, Temple Church in London was established by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century.

The Temple Church in Central London is named after the Knights Templar, who founded it in the twelfth century. Consecrated on 10 February 1185, probably in the presence of King Henry II, Temple Church became the British headquarters of this famous Christian charitable and military order who played an important... Read More

The Chapel of the Souvenir Francais

The Chapel of the Souvenir Francais is a memorial to French soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Somme.

The Chapel of the Souvenir Francais is a memorial church to the French soldiers who fought in the First World War, particularly the Battle of the Somme. It was originally founded by the du Bos family, who lost their son in the battle on 25 September 1916 and who wanted... Read More

Urnes Stave Church

Urnes Stave Church is an excellent and oldest surviving example of this genre of medieval wooden architecture.

Urnes Stave Church (Urnes Stavkirke) is an excellent and oldest surviving example of this genre of medieval wooden architecture, a fact which has made it the only stave church to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built from 1150, Urnes Stave Church was the private church of an... Read More

Photo by aurélien. (cc)

Vezelay Basilica

Vezelay Basilica is a 12th century Romanesque church once said to have housed Mary Magdalene’s relics.

Vezelay Basilica, also known as Vezelay Abbey or Basilique Ste-Madeleine, has been a place of pilgrimage since it was claimed that the relics of Mary Magdalene had been brought there, sometime before the twelfth century. Whilst it is unlikely that this was really the case, Vezelay Basilica has remained an... Read More

Photo by Historvius

Whitby Abbey

Whitby Abbey is a picturesque cliff-top ruin of a thirteenth century church which belonged to a Benedictine abbey in Yorkshire.

Whitby Abbey is a picturesque cliff-top ruin of the 13th century church of a Benedictine abbey in Yorkshire. An Anglo-Saxon monastery was actually first founded here by Northumbria’s King Oswy in 657AD, but nothing remains of this now. Instead, the jagged walls and arches that stand here are what are... Read More

Photo by By adactio (cc)

York Minster

Among Britain’s most popular historic places, York Minster is one of the largest gothic cathedrals in northern Europe, built by the Normans and expanded over the centuries.

York Minster is a vast gothic cathedral – one of the largest in Northern Europe – officially known as The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York. The term “Minster” is attributed to the cathedral as it was a teaching church founded by the Anglo Saxons. In fact, the... Read More