Biggest Churches in the World: Religion, Craftmanship, and Beauty
The biggest churches in the world are a testament to man’s need for faith and community. These imposing structures house thousands of people and are often the center of a city or town’s religious life. From London to Lima, here is a look at some of the largest churches on the planet.
And while many of the visitors of these churches are religious, you don’t have to be to appreciate the design and details that went into building these amazing structures. With years of planning and building, these churches are a marvel to behold.
And even if you can’t make it to visit them in person, they are still really cool to look at and enjoy online as well. But, we highly recommend planning a trip to see them in person if you can.
When you finish with this list of the biggest churches in the world, visit our lists of the best travel sites, best travel accessories, and best travel blogs to start planning your trip to visit one of these churches.
Top 15 Churches in the World:
Location: Rome, Italy
Highlights: Spread across 15,160 square meters, has a length of 186 meters, and a towering central dome reaching 136 meters high.
About Church: One of the largest and most impressive churches in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is a must-see for any traveler to Rome. Spread across 15,160 square meters, the church is an awe-inspiring sight, with its massive length of 186 meters and towering central dome reaching 136 meters high.
As one of the most important churches in Roman Catholicism, St. Peter’s Basilica is a holy site for many pilgrims and worshipers from all over the world. Inside the vast church building, there is space for up to 20,000 people to pray at one time. The basilica dates back to 320 AD, though it was later renovated and modified by Pope Nicolas V in the 15th century.
Location: Aparecida, Brazil
Highlights: Largest church in Brazil, has an area of 12,000 square meters, and holds up to 45,000 people.
About Church: The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is one of the most important shrines in Brazil. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, who has been the patron saint of Brazil since 1930. The Basilica is the largest church in Brazil, with an area of 12,000 square meters (129,167 square feet).
It can reportedly hold up to 45,000 people, and millions of pilgrims visit the Basilica each year to honor the Virgin Mary. Various Popes have also visited the shrine, including Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis.
Location: Seville, Spain
Highlights: Built between 1402 and 1528, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the final resting place of Christopher Columbus.
About Church: Come and explore one of the world’s most awe-inspiring religious structures – the Seville Cathedral. As one of the largest cathedrals in the world, it commands attention and respect from all who enter. The cathedral was built between 1402 and 1528 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is also the final resting place of none other than Christopher Columbus himself. The Cathedral was built to commemorate the power and wealth of Seville after the Reconquista of Iberia from the Moors.
The central nave of the cathedral stands a whopping 42 meters in height, and the interior is sumptuously decorated with gold.
Location: New York City, USA
Highlights: Designed by two of America’s most famous architects, took more than 20 years to build, and features Gothic design elements.
About Church: The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine is one of the largest churches in the world and a powerful symbol of faith. This magnificent structure, located in New York City, took more than 20 years to build, with work beginning in 1892. Designed by two of America’s most famous architects, the cathedral features Gothic design elements and is truly a sight to behold.
The cathedral is home to many treasures, including a bronze main door and stone engravings of famous Bible verses. It also holds a special place in history, as construction was halted for many years during World War II. In 2001, parts of the cathedral were tragically engulfed in fire. However, this haven of peace and spirituality has been restored and continues to welcome visitors from all around the world.
Location: Licheń Stary, Poland
Highlights: Dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, it is 10,090 square meters, and was consecrated on June 12, 2004.
About Church: This incredible church is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, and is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the country. Construction on the Basilica began in 1994, and it was finally consecrated on June 12, 2004.
The church is a staggering 10,090 square meters (108,608 square feet), making it one of the largest churches in the world. Inside, you’ll find the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Sorrows on display – an image associated with numerous miracles and healings throughout the years.
Location: Milan, Italy
Highlights: Has 135 spires, a length of 157 meters, 3400 statues, and can accommodate 40,000 worshippers.
About Church: The Milan Cathedral is one of the largest Catholic churches in the world and an excellent example of Gothic architecture. With 135 spires, it is one of the most distinctive and recognizable buildings in Milan. The tallest spire stands at a height of 108.8 meters and is crowned with a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The construction of the cathedral began in 1386 and took five centuries to complete. The massive cathedral has a length of 157 meters and can accommodate 40,000 worshipers at a time. It is also decorated with 3,400 magnificent statues.
Location: Liverpool, England
Highlights: 687 square meters in area, 189 meters in length, and constructed over a 74-year period.
About Church: The Liverpool Cathedral is one of the largest churches in the world, covering an impressive 687 square meters. It is also one of the longest churches, stretching over 189 meters in length. This grand cathedral was constructed over a 74-year period, from 1904 until 1978. The Liverpool Cathedral is a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight that is not to be missed.
Location: Rome, Italy
Highlights: Consecrated by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, covers 8,515 square meters, and is home to an active Benedictine Abbey.
About Church: Welcome to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, one of the biggest churches in the world and a true marvel of ancient architecture. This basilica has a long and rich history, dating back to the 4th century AD when it was first consecrated by Emperor Constantine. Over the centuries, this basilica has been expanded and improved, and it now covers an impressive 8,515 square meters.
Not only is the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls a beautiful sight to behold, but it is also home to an active Benedictine Abbey. This Abbey was restored by Odon of Cluny in 936 AD, and it is still operational today, managed by its current Abbot.
Location: Fatima, Portugal
Highlights: Largest church in Portugal, located in Santarem district, and has a modern oval design.
About Church: The Church of the Holy Trinity is the largest church in Portugal, located in the Santarem district. This magnificent church has a modern oval design with an internal area of 8700 square meters, able to accommodate 9,000 worshipers at a time.
The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and houses several chapels and 44 confessionaries. It was built between 2004 and 2007 by renowned Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis. A truly awe-inspiring sight, the Church of the Holy Trinity is a must-see for anyone visiting Portugal.
10. Ulm Minster
Location: Ulm, Germany
Highlights: Tallest church in the world, dates back to 1377, and features 15th-century oak choir stalls.
About Church: This imposing structure is the tallest church in the world, and its massive size is sure to impress. Ulm Minster has a long history, dating back to 1377, when construction first began. Today, it remains a Protestant church and is a popular tourist destination.
Visitors can admire the 15th-century oak choir stalls or take in the incredible panoramic view of Ulm city from the top level. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to be awe-struck, Ulm Minster is worth a visit.
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Highlights: Sacred site, one of the most important churches in Mexico, and a new Basilica constructed in the 1970s.
About Church: The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the most important churches in Mexico. Sitting on a site that is considered sacred by many, the Basilica is a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight. Our Lady of Guadalupe is said to have appeared to St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin in 1531, telling him to build a church on the site.
The original Basilica was built not long after and served as the main church for centuries. However, as the foundation began to sink, it became too dangerous to use, and a new Basilica was constructed in the 1970s. The old Basilica has since been repaired and is now open to the public.
Location: Ganshoren, Belgium
Highlights: Art Deco architecture, 8,000 square meters area, and designed by Albert Van Huffel.
About Church: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is one of the world’s biggest churches and a stunning example of Art Deco architecture. With an area of 8,000 square meters, there is plenty to explore and see. The Basilica was designed by Albert Van Huffel and completed after his death by other architects.
Within the Basilica, visitors can admire works of art by renowned artists such as George Minne and Harry Elstrøm. The stained glass windows are also a highlight and were created by some of Belgium’s best stained-glass artists in the mid-20th century.
Location: Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire
Highlights: 30,000 square meters exterior, 7,989 square meters interior, and cost $300 million.
About Church: The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is one of the most impressive and largest churches in the world. It is situated in Yamoussoukro and pays homage to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The exterior of the church covers an area of 30,000 square meters, while the interior area covers 7,989 square meters, and the construction of this grandiose monument cost $300 million.
14. Hagia Sophia
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Highlights: Dates back to the East Roman Empire, biggest operational cathedral in the world for centuries, and a popular museum since 1935.
About Church: The Hagia Sophia is one of the largest churches in the world and is now a popular tourist attraction. The church has a long history, dating back to the East Roman Empire. The Hagia Sophia was the largest church constructed by the East Roman Empire and the biggest operational cathedral in the world for several centuries.
The church is now a museum, open to the public since 1935. When visiting the Hagia Sophia, you can explore the rich history of this iconic building and learn more about its place in Christianity.
Location: Florence, Italy
Highlights: A Roman Catholic Church, was consecrated in 1436, and can hold 30,000 people.
About Church: The Florence Cathedral is one of the biggest churches in the world and is a Roman Catholic church located in Florence, Italy. The church was consecrated in 1436 and was able to accommodate 30,000 worshippers.
The cathedral is most known for its dome, which was designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The Florence Cathedral is a beautiful piece of architecture that is emblematic of Florence’s political and economic dominance.
Biggest Churches in the World Conclusion
The largest churches in the world are awe-inspiring structures. They provide a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of different regions and the craftsmanship and skill of builders from the past.
Whether you’re looking to explore your own faith, learn about other people’s beliefs, or just appreciate the beauty of these grand structures, there is something for everyone to discover in these magnificent houses of worship.
If you have been to any of these churches, we would love to hear how your visit went in the comments below.