Top Eight Catholic Churches Visited by Me
In the year 2012 and 2014, I happened to visit eight most beautiful catholic churches of the world. These historical monuments have spanned over seven countries in two continents. I was simply astonished by the historical importance of these buildings. The oldest among these buildings was established in 537 A.D. and the construction of the latest one started in 1882 A.D., which is still incomplete. These buildings have seen eras of human history. These catholic churches have been judges as well as spectators of the human generations in the last fifteen hundred years. Here goes the list in the order I visited them.
1. Hagia Sophia at Istanbul, Turkey
I visited Hagia Sophia in Dec 2012 during my 12 day travel to Turkey. During that time, I never realized that Hagia Sophia was a catholic church. I used to think that this monument is a Mosque or Museum. Lately, I discovered that Hagia Sophia was established as Greek orthodox basilica in 537 A.D. and later as Roman Catholic Church. The building was a mosque from 1453 until 1931. Thereafter, it was secularized and opened as museum in 1935.
And, I used to think that only Indian had the issues like “Ayodhya” back home. Hats off to Turkish government to accept rights of both the religions on this great monument. Presently, the museum is one of the top attraction of Istanbul as well as Turkey. It attracts millions of visitors each year due to its lovely architecture. The entrance fees to the Museum is 25 Turkish Lira. This being the first catholic church listed here is incidentally the oldest among them too.
2. Saint Basil’s Cathedral at Moscow, Russia
This part is written by Rex : I still remember that temperature of Moscow had dripped to minus 26 degrees on those chilly days of December 2012, when I visited this beautiful church. I was standing at the queue (third in row) for the entrance tickets and chilly winds were blowing. It was so cold that blood in my cheeks froze as I said ” Dva Belieta” and gave 1000 rubles at the ticket window. The seconds taken by the lady to count the change seemed like eternity to me. As soon as I grabbed the tickets, I rushed inside the warm church with Pooja. Believe me, it was life saving.
Ok, Pooja is back again : Saint Basil’s Cathedral is located in the middle of the Red Square. It was consecrated in 1561. The Cathedral, now a museum has nine churches inside. All of the interiors and exterior of this cathedral are mesmerizing.
3. Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception, Goa, India
This is one the famous catholic churches of India. It is located in the heart of Panjim, capital of Goa. It is one of the oldest church of India. It was constructed in the year 1540. Also, it has the largest church bell in the whole of Goa. I visited this church during my Goa visit in February 2014. The illuminated church is a must see sight during night time.
4. Notre Dame de Paris
This church is really lovely and beautiful. The cathedral is besides River Seine in the center of Paris. The work on the construction started in the year 1163. This cathedral has seen both the world wars. There are no entrance fees to this church. The church is illuminated during night. In the evening, you would find lots of people doing street stunts near the church. I visited this place in September 2014.
5. Sacré-Cœur Basilica at Paris
Sacré-Cœur Basilica is located in Montmartre, Paris. I visited this place in September 2014. There are no entrance fees to visit this catholic church. Also, there are no huge lines. The location of the basilica is wonderful and it provides amazing views of Paris. Like the other catholic churches listed here, this is also beautiful from inside. The exterior architecture is magnificent too. The locality of the church i.e. Montmartre is a lovely area is Paris. Travel Jots have a written a short guide to visit Montmartre, Paris. I am sure you would find it a good read.
6. Sagrada Familia Barcelona
If history is being made somewhere, it is at Sagrada Familia Barcelona. The architect of this cathedral is none other than Antoni Gaudi, Great Master of Modernism. This church is the reason why I visited Barcelona, Spain. This masterpiece of Gaudi attracts over three million vistors every year. The construction was started in the year 1882. It has been under construction for over 132 years and likely to take to take 12 more years to complete. That is a total of 144 years in 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death. I would say this is a miraculous building and is destined to be Seven Wonders of the World on its completion. The interior of the church is beautiful and based on Gothic and Curvi-linear architecture. This one is my favorite among all the churches listed here.
7. Saint Mark’s Basilica
The history of Saint Mark’s Basilica started in the year 828. The present day church may have been built as early as year 1073. This church is the highlight of Venice. With the popular St. Mark’s Square in front, this church was on my must-see list during my Italy trip in October 2014. The entrance to the basilica is free. However, entrance to museum costs 5 euros which i did not visit.
8. St. Peter’s Basilica
In the present day, Saint Peter’s Basilica is undoubtedly best among all the catholic churches in the world. The architect of this church is none other than Michelangelo himself. No words on this blog can describe the beauty of this church. The architecture of the basilica is larger than life. There are no entrance fees to the basilica. However, there are huge lines for the entrance. You may take a paid entrance with Guide ( 30 Euros) to the Vatican museum and make a special entrance to the basilica with your guide to avoid queues. I visited St. Peter’s Basilica in October 2014.
Tell me if you visited any of these Catholic Churches too
Did you visit any of these catholic churches lately ? How was your experience? I hope you liked what I saw and wrote about. Do let me know your opinions through comments.