The final epic leg of our journey around the world to search for the largest churches on the planet visits the three biggest religious buildings ever erected. These three mammoth places of worship represent the three biggest churches as far as floor space is concerned. After a brief visit to the New World we return to Europe and Spain for the third largest church that has ever been built. Seville Cathedral is not just one of the largest churches on the planet it is also one of the most beautiful with its plethora of flying buttresses.
One of the biggest cathedrals in the world is Seville Cathedral with an internal square meterage of eleven thousand, five hundred and twenty. It also has the distinction of being a UNESCO world heritage site such is its importance and beauty. Seville Cathedral is the resting place of one of the greatest adventurers the world has ever seen, namely Christopher Columbus. This massive cathedral was erected to remind the world of the wealth and power of Seville.
Construction started in 1402 on the original site of a Islam mosque, which itself was built to mark the power of the Moors. Although built in Spain, it was actually a French architect that designed and built this great religious building.
Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Our second visit to the New World takes us to South America and Brazil where we visit the second largest church that has ever been built. Another modern construction, this massive church has a floor area of an incredible twelve thousand square meters. This massive church can accommodate an incredible four thousand worshipers at one time and it is a highly popular center for pilgrimages. There is a legend attached to this wonderful building about a shrine of the Virgin Mary within the church.
Back in 1717 some fisherman on the Paraiba River found the head of a statue in their nets. It was believed to be the work of a Brazilian monk and was of the Virgin Mary. This very sculpture is now housed in a shrine in this massive modern religious masterpiece.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican in Rome dwarfs any other cathedral in the world, it is a massive one hundred and eighty six meters in length and has a total square meterage of over fifteen thousand. Just the massive dome is a hundred and thirty six meters high. Built by Constantine in 320 AD the original building was revamped in the 15th Century by the Pope and it was this reconstruction by Nicolas the V that was designed by the great Italian artist Michelangelo. The impressive colonnade is memorizing displaying one hundred and forty statues of different saints. The sculpting of these statues actually took an amazing forty one years.
Saint Peter’s Basilica breaks many religious and architectural records, including one hundred tombs which include past popes and many monarchs such as Otto II and the former Queen of Sweden Christina. Saint Peter’s Basilica is a fitting conclusion to our epic religious pilgrimage that has taken us all over the world.