The World’s Largest Churches – Part 1

In the case of religion size does matter, and for many faiths the building of grand cathedrals, basilicas, temples and mosques represent not just opulence but how great their religion or god actually is. In the past centuries great religious building were erected as places of pilgrimage and people from all over the world traveled long distances to visit these great places of worship. It almost became a battle of the biggest as different religious bodies wanted to build the biggest homages to their god. In this blog we focus on the biggest churches in the world that are defined by the floor area, and we start in Germany with Ulm Minster.

Ulm Minster

Ulm Minster not only is one of the biggest churches in the world, it is the tallest at 161.5 meters. Located in Ulm in Germany it is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture that there is. Building work on Ulm Minster was started back in 1377 but was not completed until over five hundred years later in 1890. The spires of Ulm Minster represent the steps to heaven, as they seem to reach up into the very heavens. Some of the biggest attractions in the Minster are the uniquely carved choir stalls that were sculpted by Jirg Syrin who was one of Germany’s most gifted sculptors.

Basilica of Our Lady of Pillar

This Basilica of Our Lady of Pillar was the first church in the world to be dedicated to the Virgin Mary. According to certain religious texts the Virgin Mary appeared to Saint James while he was praying by the Ebro river in Spain. Situated in beautiful Aragon, this massive basilica measures eight thousand, three hundred and eighteen square meters in size. It was said that the Virgin Mary instructed Saint James to build a church, which he did in Zaragoza.

During the centuries that followed other churches were added to the site, and original structures were either destroyed or built upon. But the original statue that the Virgin Mary gave to Saint James still survives, together with its pillar. The last building work on the pillars of the church was not completed until the 20th Century.

Church of the Holy Trinity, Santarem

This modern church is the largest in all of Portugal, its oval design makes the Church of the Holy Trinity able to accommodate over nine thousand worshipers at any one time. Building started in 2004 and work was completed just four years later.

The Church of the Holy Trinity in Santarem may not be the most beautiful religious building in the world, but the unique design by highly rated Greek architect Alexandros Tombazis, uses modern construction methods to house many internal chapels and other interesting features.

Our journey to discover more of the world’s biggest churches continues in part two of this blog. The first port of call is the great city of Liverpool and the colossal Liverpool Cathedral, which sheer size dominates the city’s skyline and can be seen for miles around.