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Top 10 Churches

15 Jul 2011  Impressive (oppressive?) temples
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List of the best ten churches I've visited worldwide, with a brief justification

  • 1. St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
    St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Lazio

    The "headquarters" of Catholic faith, Saint Peters burial ground, Michelangelo's Pieta in the right side, behind a bulletproof glass... the view from the dome to the famous square... need more?

  • 2. Cologne Cathedral (Dom)
    Cologne Cathedral (Dom), Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia

    Impossibly high (151m).... took unbelievable six centuries (with interruptions) to be built... the magi's shrine... a gothic masterpiece... the famous view from the other side of the Rhine, with the rail bridge on the right side and the huge towers higher than everything else in Cologne...

  • 3. Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris)
    Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, Ile-de-France

    The most famous, visited and known church in the most famous, visited and known city... the gargoylies... the view from and to the Seine... Quasimodo, the Hunchback, and the famous novel...

  • 4. Monastery of Alcobaca
    Monastery of Alcobaca, Alcobaca, Leiria District

    Huge and Gothic, but not like the Dom or Notre Dame. Ines de Castro's Mausoleum, whose tragic love story with a prince-to-be-king, also buried there, is so famous in portuguese-speaking countries that the expression "Inês é Morta" (Ines is dead) means "there's nothing more we can do about it".

  • 5. Igreja Sao Francisco
    Sao Francisco Church and Convent, Salvador, State of Bahia

    Beautiful but unimpressive on the outside, this barroque masterpice is breath-taking in the inside. Its golden walls, pillars and altars were made, according to the legend, with 800 kilos of the precious metal. It seems too much, but it's impossible not to believe the number when you look at it.

  • 6. Catedral Metropolitana
    Catedral Metropolitana, Brasilia, Federal District

    Unlike all the others, this one is not an old gem: is a 40-years-old masterpiece of modernist architecture. Brasilia itself is an open-air museum, and its Cathedral is the finest example. the curbed columns that converge and then head towards the sky, intercalated by stained-glass, compose one of the most beautiful buildings, of any kind, in the world.

  • 7. Monastery of Jeronimos (Mosteiro dos Jeronimos)
    Jeronimos Monastery, Lisbon, Lisbon District

    The impressive monastery in Lisbon's Bel�m neighborhood hosts Vasco da Gama's and Luis de Cam�es' tombs. Remarkable for its manueline architectural stlye.

  • 8. Sacred Heart Basilica of Montmartre (Sacre-Coeur)
    Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre, Paris, Ile-de-France

    In Montmatre's neighbourhood, on top of a hill, It can be seen from almost anywhere towering above the city. It's impressive 19th century shape, with a huge dome makes it unlike any other church in Paris.

  • 9. Sainte-Chapelle
    Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, Ile-de-France

    Another unimpressive temple from the outside that reveals all of its greatness on the inside. The famous and unbelievable staind-glass works are the reason why this chapel is a top touristic attractions.

  • 10. Basilica de Nossa Senhora de Nazare
    Basilica de Nossa Senhora de Nazare, Belem, State of Para

    In Europe it would be an average romanesque church, but it is one of the finest examples of the style in Brazil, with a huge plus: it hosts the biggest religious procession in the country, Círio de Nazaré, in which, every October, two million people go through Belém streets to praise Our Lady of Nazaré.