- 1 The Rock of Cashel
- 2 St. Paul’s Cathedral
- 3 Stonehenge
- 4 Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
- 5 La Sagrada Familia
- 6 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
- 7 The Sacré-Coeur
- 8 Mont Saint Michel
- 9 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
- 10 Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes
- 11 Milan Cathedral
- 12 St. Peter’s Basilica
- 13 Sistine Chapel
- 14 Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi
- 15 Siena Cathedral
- 16 Jasna Góra Monastery
- 17 Temple of Athena
- 18 Our Lady of Međugorje
- 19 Dohány Street Synagogue
- 20 St. Elisabeth Cathedral
- 21 Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque
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From the Greek Oracle at Delphi to the French Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, Europe has a rich history of faith. Just about every city has a holy place or church, each one more magnificent than you would imagine. No matter which of the European countries you’re visiting, make sure you take the time to see some of these historical religious places in Europe.
- The Rock of Cashel
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
- La Sagrada Familia
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
- The Sacré-Coeur
- Mont Saint Michel
- Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
- Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes
- Milan Cathedral
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Sistine Chapel
- Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi
- Siena Cathedral
- Jasna Góra Monastery
- Temple of Athena
- Our Lady of Međugorje
- Dohány Street Synagogue
- St. Elisabeth Cathedral
- Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque
Map for this guide
Take a look at the map below to find all of the holy places in Europe on this list!
The Rock of Cashel
One of the most iconic historical sites in Europe is the Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, Ireland. As the former seat of the High Kings of Munster, this has been an important site in Ireland’s history for centuries.
Chosen in the 4th century as a base for the Eóghanachta clan from Wales who went on to conquer Munster, this famous site has also been associated with Saint Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint, hence the Rock also having the alternative name of Saint Patrick’s Rock.
In the 10th century, the Rock was converted to Christianity. The fortress became an Abbey, with many of its 13th to 15th-century buildings still present. The Abbey sits atop a formidable hill and is visible for miles.
The Rock of Cashel is approximately 2 hours from Dublin, and there are several tour groups offering day trips to one of the best places in Ireland to visit.
Your visit will last around 1-2 hours as you explore the roofless Abbey, other buildings, and cemetery. If you arrive by car, parking is available in a pay-and-display car park just below the Abbey. Have some change to get your ticket, and arrive as early as possible if you are not on a tour to avoid the crowds.
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, make sure to add the Rock of Cashel to your itinerary.
Submitted by: Cath Jordan from Travel Around Ireland
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the important religious places in Europe. Its history dates back to the 7th century B.C.E. when the first Cathedral was built. Since then, it has been rebuilt four times, with the latest being in 1675 after the Great Fire of London in 1666, completely destroying it. What stands today is a masterpiece by Christopher Wren that includes an underground Crypt, impressive interiors, and a 111m-high Dome.
The Cathedral is located in the City of London, close to the River Thames and across the Millennium Bridge. The nearest underground station is St. Paul’s (Central line), while Mansion House and Blackfriars (Circle and District lines) are only a few more minutes away.
Once you reach the Cathedral, purchase a ticket to get inside and have a close look at the holy places in Europe’s architecture and the collections that it houses. Vital areas to visit include the High Altar, the Crypt, the Chapel, and of course, the galleries of the Dome. The highest one is the Golden Gallery, 85 meters or 528 steps from the ground floor of the Cathedral. Along with the Stone Gallery below it, this gallery offers great views of London and the nearby area.
Note that St. Paul’s Cathedral is closed on Sundays for sightseeing, and it is only open for worshipers. Remember to book your tickets in advance as they are cheaper than on-the-door fares, £17 and £20 per adult respectively. Besides, the ticket includes an audio-guide to help you understand more about the Cathedral.
Submitted by: Elina from Empnefsys & Travel
Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, should be top of the list for any tourists in the U.K. The Neolithic monument was built more than five thousand years ago, but the rocks themselves are much older.
The formation is like none other on the continent. The structure is made of two large stone circles, one within the other, and it’s assumed the outside circle was used to chart the sun’s motions. The stones’ positioning is extraordinary, considering they designed the system at least 500 years before the invention of instruments to help construct it. There are also theories that the site was a burial ground or used for worship.
Although there are other circular rock formations in the area, Stonehenge’s scale and mystery make it exceptional. Despite being used and misused for decades–the grounds were also used for military training–the incredible structure still stands. In the 20th century, Stonehenge was restored to allow tourists to walk around the stones.
While you’re in the countryside, you should also try to discover the surrounding region. Less than a two-hour drive outside London, it’s a perfect spot to stroll around and admire the scenery, or even see the town of Salisbury. There are also so many beautiful landscapes to experience.
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
- Location: Santiago de Compostela, Spain
- Find places to stay in Santiago de Compostela: Hotels | Airbnb
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain, is one of the most significant religious places in Europe. The Cathedral is one of the three churches in the world built over the tomb of an apostle of Jesus. The Cathedral’s construction started in 1075 after discovering what was believed to be the apostle Saint James’ tomb. Soon after that, throngs of pilgrims from all over Europe started coming to Santiago de Compostela, following the journey nowadays known as the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James.
The Cathedral is open for visitors every day; the entrance is free. During daily masses, nobody is allowed to walk around and take photos, but anybody can attend a mass. On special religious occasions, like Christmas, Easter, etc., masses are celebrated with the Botafumeiro ceremony when eight monks swing a massive metal censer suspended from the ceiling. Visitors to the Cathedral can see Saint James’ tomb, take part in the mass, do a rooftop tour, or explore the museum.
The Cathedral is situated on Obradoiro Square in the very center of the city. There are an international airport, a train and a bus station in Santiago de Compostela. It’s easy to get here from any Spanish city.
Galicia is famous for its delicious seafood and fish dishes. There are a few tapas bars near the Cathedral where you can enjoy a glass of wine with a couple of exquisite tapas.
Submitted by: Alya & Campbell from Stingy Nomads
La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona, the second-most populous city in Spain, is the hometown of the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi might even be the most renowned city-architect in the world. He decorated Barcelona’s streets with his unique style, called Modern Catalan, and a tour in the city is not complete without seeing Gaudi’s fascinating buildings, Park Guell, and La Sagrada Familia.
The Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is probably Gaudi’s most famous work and one of Barcelona’s symbolic landmarks. The construction started in 1882, and Gaudi took over the project in 1883, changing it to his own style combining with Gothic and Art-Nouveau forms. The Basilica work is still taking place, and it is expected to complete in 2026, making it the world’s largest unfinished church.
La Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most important places to visit in Barcelona. The gothic gray towers you see from the outside are in complete contrast to the bright and clean style of the inside of the church. A walk inside one of the best churches in Europe reveals more of the unique and modern architecture, and you can also Gaudi’s grave inside. On a bright and not windy day, you can climb up to one of the towers and get a fantastic view of the city of Barcelona around you.
The church is in the L’Eixample district, and you can get there with the L2 / L5 subway trains. It is better to arrive early as lines might be long or buy an organized tour for a specific hour.
Submitted by: Moshe Huberman from The Top Ten Traveler
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a creation or landmark chosen for conservation by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) due to its cultural, historical, scientific or natural significance. It must meet a minimum of one of ten selection criteria to be considered for the World Heritage List, and once chosen, it becomes protected for preservation by various international treaties.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
If you’re visiting the ‘City of Light,’ you definitely need to take in Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Notre-Dame Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of France’s most-visited monuments, was built to be the centerpiece of Paris and is considered one of the best examples of the French Gothic architecture style.
Built on an early Merovingian church site, the Cathedral was commissioned by the Bishop of Paris in the 12th century, and the first stone was laid in 1163. While it was completed in 1345, it wasn’t consecrated until 1391.
The Cathedral is known for its gargoyles, its four-tonne bell named “Emmanuel,” and its famous carillon within its bell tower, composed of 77 bells. It’s also renowned for its three rose windows, its three massive organs, and its labyrinth.
Located along the Seine River in the center of the city, the Cathedral’s iconic two towers loom overhead, visible from many points throughout the city. Not only is it one of the most famous religious places in Europe, but it also offers breathtaking views of the city of Paris and is a featured location on many Catholic pilgrimages.
The iconic structure went through many modifications and was partly destroyed during the French Revolution of the 1790s. However, once Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame was published in 1831, the Cathedral experienced renewed interest and underwent an extensive restoration project.
On April 15, 2019, a fire broke out due to the ever-continuing restoration work on the Cathedral, badly damaging the spire and some of the interior. While the structure itself and a majority of its historic artifacts survived, the building and surrounding area are currently closed to rebuild and continue the restoration.
The Sacré-Coeur is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris and Europe. It’s actually the second most visited monument in Paris after Notre-Dame. This stunning Basilica is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
It was built between 1875 and 1914. The decision to build it came after France’s defeat in the 1870 Franco-Prussian War as Bishop Fournier considered it a divine punishment for which France had to do penance.
The architecture is an interesting mix of Ancient Roman style and Byzantine style. The white stones used for its construction contains calcite, which cleans the stones when it rains. That’s the reason why it’s always bright white!
You will find it at the summit of the butte Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. You can get there by car or by metro, but you will have to walk a bit. If you want to avoid climbing all the steps to the Sacré-Coeur, just take the funicular!
You can visit the interior of the Basilica every day for free. But if you want to enjoy breathtaking views of Paris, you should visit the Dome of the Sacré-Coeur. You will have to climb around 300 steps to get up there, which costs about 6 euros.
The picturesque neighborhood of Montmartre looks like a village inside Paris, and it’s actually a fantastic place for a stroll! The area is filled with restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops.
Submitted by: Ophelie from Limitless Secrets
Mont Saint Michel
The Benedictine abbey of Mont St. Michel is one of the most beautiful landmarks in France. Nicknamed the wonder of the western world, Mont St. Michel is located in Normandy, in northern France. It is a listed historical monument of France and a UNESCO World Wonder. Because this abbey is also a fortress, Mont St. Michel is often listed as one of the most beautiful castles in France.
The best way to visit Mont St. Michel is on a Normandy road trip, but it is also a popular (even if long) day tour from Paris.
Mont St. Michel’s location is well known for its high tides. During the high tides, the abbey becomes an island, and it is even more picturesque.
There’s a religious building in this location since the 8th century that evolved over the centuries. Therefore, Mont St. Michel is a blend of different gothic styles adapted to the building’s particular geography. Dedicated to Saint Michel, the saint patron of travelers, Mont Saint-Michel became in the middle ages one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the Christian world, and kings and regional lords protected it. Thanks to its fortifications, Mont St. Michel resisted the English attacks and survived the French Revolution.
Submitted by: Elisa by France Bucket List
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres
In the French city of Chartres, an hour and a half southwest of Paris, you’ll find Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres. Construction on this Cathedral was completed by 1220, and it’s considered another shining example of French Gothic architecture.
The Cathedral has maintained its importance from a Medieval pilgrimage site to the present day for the Virgin Mary. It’s home to one of the famous relics Sancta Camisa, a tunic believed to have been worn by Mary at Jesus’s birth.
The magnificent stained glass windows, sculptures, and gargoyles all help give the building its old-world charm. This structure has three famous stained glass rose windows, with the most prominent being the large rose window, which illuminates the interior with colorful lights.
The set of 167 Medieval stained glass windows in Chartres Cathedral, mostly created in the 12th and 13th centuries, are considered some of the most complete and best-preserved in the world. They were removed from this one of the best churches in Europe during both World Wars to save them from any damage.
The church served as the coronation site for King Henry IV of France in 1594 and later was damaged during the French Revolution. It was also saved from destruction during the 20th century’s World War II when American colonel Welborn Barton Griffith Jr. personally went to confirm that enemy forces were not using the church. Finally, in the early 21st century, the Cathedral started to receive the restoration it needed.
Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes
You should make a point to visit Our Lady of Lourdes near the city of Lourdes, France. As one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites, many believe that cures of diseases have been attributed to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary here.
On February 11, 1858, Bernadette Soubirous was a 14-year-old girl who was out gathering firewood in a cave in Lourdes. When she entered the grotto, she heard a noise and saw a beautiful lady–her first of several encounters with the Virgin Mary. During one of her 18 Marian apparitions, the Virgin Mary asked her to drink water from a muddy spring in the cave, but it became clean. The water from this stream is the source of many miracles over the past 160 years.
Today, you can visit the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which surrounds the water grotto. With 22 different worship spaces on its grounds and holy places in Europe to stay for the sick people and their helpers who wish to be healed by the water, it’s large enough to accommodate the millions of pilgrims who visit the site every year.
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Tip: Most Roman Catholic churches in Italy require women to cover their shoulders and knees before entering, so make sure you keep a light scarf or cover-up in your day bag.
When it comes to holy places in Europe to see, Milan is definitely high on the list. If you find yourself in this beautiful city, there’s no way around the iconic landmark and main attraction: Milan Cathedral. In fact, visiting the church is the number one reason to visit Milan for many believers.
This one of the best churches in Europe is located in Milan’s heart at the city square, Piazza del Duomo, which includes several other monumental buildings.
The Cathedral, which is called Duomo di Milano in Italian, is one of the world’s largest. Dating back to 1386, the construction of this magnificent Gothic church took almost 600 years.
While the inside of Milan Cathedral is majestic, it’s the rooftop with its 135 spires and more than 2,000 adorning marble statues that make it truly special. When visiting, make sure to get a ticket with access to both the cathedral interior and the rooftops. You can get up there by lift or by stairs, and it’s definitely worth the extra money.
From the rooftops, you are not only able to get a close-up look at the many impressive sculptures and ornate spires, but you will also get amazing panoramic views over Piazza del Duomo and the city of Milan. On bright days, it’s even possible to see as far as the Alps!
Lines for tickets to visit this masterpiece can get very long, especially in the peak season, so make sure you buy tickets to skip the line or buy your tickets online in advance.
For the absolute best experience, you should visit the cathedral right when it opens in the morning. That way, you will beat the crowds and have it to yourself while others are still standing in line. If you have the time, come back later in the day to enjoy the rooftops in the setting sun, making for even better photos.
Submitted by: Alex & Victoria from North Abroad
St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, but it is also home to one of the world’s biggest churches. St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world and the center of the Roman Catholic Church.
The massive church is built on the grounds where Saint Peter, one of Jesus’s twelve faithful apostles and the first Pope, was crucified in 64 B.C.E. by Roman Emperor Nero and buried.
The enormous Old St. Peter’s Basilica was built on the grounds that St. Peter was buried about 300 years after his death, with a small shrine to St. Peter’s burial place, until it fell into a state of disrepair in the 1400s.
The new St. Peter’s Basilica is considered one of the greatest works of Renaissance art and design. The new church’s cornerstone was laid in 1506, and after undergoing several redesigns with artist architects like Donato Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo, the complex wasn’t completed until 1626.
The Basilica’s main features include a large, tall Dome, a long nave with four aisles the same width as the nave. The outside is constructed of travertine stone while the inside has a marble and bronze decoration.
The Piazza in front of one of the holy places in Europe was completed in 1667. The Egyptian obelisk that stands with prominence in the center of the Piazza today is considered a witness since it was there when Peter was crucified in the Circus of Nero, which is essentially the grounds of modern-day Vatican City.
Today, St. Peter’s Basilica is on pilgrimage routes for Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians. This one of the best churches in Europe is free to enter, but be prepared to wait in long lines. Or, you can sign up for a guided tour with skip-the-line entry included.
Housed in the Vatican City within the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel is one of the most spectacular religious places in Europe. Named after the Pope who restored the Chapel in the 15th century, Pope Sixtus IV, the Sistine Chapel is noted as one of the world’s most impressive Renaissance artworks. The first frescos were added to the chapel walls in the late 1400s by a team of artists like Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Cosimo Rosselli, while Michelangelo came into the fold to paint the famous ceiling frescos in the 1500s.
The ceiling showcases one of the most renowned frescoes of the Renaissance, Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement, painted on an altar wall, with Christ delivering his final judgment to the world. The Chapel ceiling is covered with pictures of the prophets, like the famous Creation of Adam, where God is famously depicted reaching down to Adam.
The Sistine Chapel is also the storied location of the Papal Conclave, the process, and ceremony where the Roman Catholic Church’s cardinals gather to elect a new pope.
To avoid waiting in long lines the day of, purchase tickets online in advance to take a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, which includes the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums also offer other tours, like exploring select areas of the Museums, the Vatican Gardens, the Apostolic Palace, or the Gardens of the Pontifical Villas.
Basilica di San Francesco d’Assisi
Every year, millions of pilgrims make the trip to the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy. The church is not just a space of worship; it’s also a place of art, history, and architecture. The Basilica’s lower church was completed in 1230 in the Romanesque and Gothic styles and set the standards for Italian Gothic architecture. The upper church was started nine years later and completed by 1253.
Inside, the Basilica is not only beautiful, but it is also full of historical significance. It’s home to several frescos by famous Italian artists like Cimabue, Giotto di Bondone, and Pietro Lorenzetti, and the remains of Saint Francis himself are buried inside the crypt.
Saint Francis was born in Assisi, Italy, between 1181 and 1182. As one of the most revered Christian religious leaders, he founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Clare, the Custody of the Holy Land, and the Third Order of Saint Francis. Renowned for his poverty, devotion to God, and love for animals, he is known as the patron saint of animals, merchants, ecology and shares the title for the Patron Saints of Italy with Saint Catherine of Siena.
You can explore the Basilica on your own, or visit with a guided tour.
The Medieval Siena Cathedral is one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy and is one of the best religious places in Europe, located in Siena, Italy. Constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries, the Cathedral is notable for featuring a combination of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Officially dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, Siena Cathedral is located in the city’s heart and includes its baptistery, a museum, and a cemetery.
Although the Cathedral is impressive from the outside—the façade is covered in beautiful sculptures—the inside is even more outstanding. The inside houses a dome, ornately decorated with stars. There are frescos and sculpture work by some of the best Italian artists of the time, like Domenico Beccafumi, Donatello, Nicola Pisano, Bernini, and Michelangelo. The floor is also a marvel; it’s a 56-panel mosaic laid over the course of five centuries, from the 1300s to the 1800s, by elite Siena artisans.
However, if you visit the Siena Cathedral looking for Saint Catherine of Siena’s relics, you’re looking in the particularly wrong holy places in Europe. You can find the other Patron Saint of Italy’s head encased in a bronze bust and her thumb in the nearby Basilica of San Domenico, about 10 minutes walk away.
You can take a guided walking tour of Siena that includes a stop at Basilica of San Domenico before skip-the-line entrance into the Cathedral or purchase an Opa Si Pass, which includes a tour and entrance into all the buildings on the complex.
Read More: Your Guide to One Day in Pisa, Italy
Jasna Góra Monastery
There is something incredibly spiritual about walking through the Jasna Góra Monastery in Częstochowa, Poland; it’s not just because of the famous religious icon that dates back centuries it centers around. The serene, peaceful setting—in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains, less than 150 km from the border of Czechia–has a way of calming the soul.
Every year since the Middle Ages, Jasna Góra Monastery is visited by thousands of religious persons to see the treasured Black Madonna of Częstochowa. The true age of this depiction of the Virgin Mary with Child Jesus, also called Our Lady of Częstochowa, is unknown, but it’s believed to have been created in the 13th century as a Balkans icon. The monastery itself was founded in 1382 when Polish Prince Ladislaus of Opole gave the picture to the care of sixteen Hungarian Pauline monks.
To get to Jasna Góra Monastery and see one of Poland’s official national historic monuments, several trains run to Częstochowa every day from most major cities in Poland. Once you enter the Baroque church, it’s respectful to stay as quiet as possible and show respect to the icon by kneeling. They also offer mass multiple times a day and have a museum on site.
Temple of Athena
One of the most important sites of the ancient world, the ancient sanctuary of Delphi, sits high in mainland Greece’s mountains. Delphi was the home of the ancient Greek God Apollo and his priestess, the Pythia. She was also called the Oracle of Delphi. Participants came from all over the ancient world to ask the Oracle questions and receive Apollo’s wisdom and guidance before making important decisions. The Oracle was consulted by everyone from local people to kings and other heads of state.
When you first arrive at the Temple of Athena at Delphi, you’re greeted by panoramic views of valleys and olive groves, with peeks of the sea in the distance. The sanctuary sits on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus, and when you’re surrounded by the high mountains and ancient ruins, it’s easy to believe that you’re in the center of the world. Give yourself time to slowly explore the site from the Temple of Athena at the sanctuary’s entrance to the ancient stadium at the top of the site. The museum is also worth visiting, with some beautiful examples of ancient art and architecture.
You can visit Delphi independently or go as part of a tour. As it’s quite far from both Athens and Thessaloniki, you may prefer to stay in the modern town of Delphi overnight. That way, you can see the site early in the morning before the tour buses arrive and genuinely appreciate the peace and beauty of this sacred site.
Submitted by: Roxanne de Bruyn from Faraway Worlds
Our Lady of Međugorje
Over several months in 1981, six young peasant children reported seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary on a hilltop in the small town of Međugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina. While the Vatican has still not authenticated the events, in 2019, the site of the visions, now called Apparition Hill, was recognized by the Vatican as an official pilgrimage destination and now attracts millions of modern-day pilgrims each year.
Many tour companies will take you on a day trip to Međugorje from Croatia cities like Split, Trogir, or Dubrovnik. Or, you can go on your own.
Tip: The climb up to Apparition Hill is difficult–the final hill is rocky and very steep–so make sure you wear sturdy sneakers or hiking shoes.
The routes to arrive at Apparition Hill requires walking up several steep hills. While you can drive or be dropped off at the top of one of these hills due to the paved roads, you have to climb a rock-filled, jagged hill to finally arrive at the site. Once there, you’ll find a massive statue of the Virgin Mary, as well as a crucifix of Jesus, and an incredible view of the surrounding mountains.
Dohány Street Synagogue
Located on the south side of the Danube River in Budapest, Dohány Street Synagogue is the largest synagogue in Europe and one of the world’s most beautiful. It was built in the mid-1800s in the Moorish Revival style, which pulls decoration inspiration from North African Islam and Medieval Spain, like The Alhambra.
The Synagogue suffered substantial damage during World War II, and it was only after the Communist era ended that restoration work on the Synagogue could begin, in 1991. The entire complex encompasses the Great Synagogue, the Heroes’ Temple, the graveyard, the Memorial, and the Jewish Museum. You can buy tickets on their website to go inside Dohány Street Synagogue or take one of their guided tours.
The Central Synagogue in Midtown East, Manhattan, New York City, was designed as an almost exact replica of the Dohány Street Synagogue.
St. Elisabeth Cathedral
One of the biggest attractions of Košice, and Slovakia in general, is the St. Elisabeth Cathedral–the easternmost Gothic cathedral in Europe. This architectural masterpiece is located in the city’s central part, at Hlavna street, the main pedestrian area of Košice, and it’s impossible to miss–the Cathedral towers above the city.
The construction started at the end of the 14th century, but the Cathedral was renovated and rebuilt a few times over the years. Today this is the largest place of worship in Slovakia; it can fit up to 5,000 worshippers. The building is rich in details, but the quirkiest one is the sculptor’s ugly wife turned into one of the gargoyles – you can notice it on the right side above the entrance.
St. Elisabeth Cathedral’s interior is impressive too – be sure to see the gothic double spiral staircase – there are only five of this kind in Europe! Don’t miss the Cathedral’s north tower too–also known as Sigismund’s tower–it’s 60 meters high, and from the top, you can admire the beautiful panorama of Kosice and its surroundings.
Next to the Cathedral, and part of its complex, you can find another beautiful Gothic building–the 14th century St. Michael’s Chapel. It used to be a cemetery chapel, but these days it is one of a popular wedding holy places in Europe. Visiting these two landmarks is one of the best things to do in Košice!
Submitted by: Kamila from Kami and the Rest of the World
Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque
Some of the most ancient historical landmarks in Europe can be found scattered all across Istanbul. However, two of the most significant ones you can visit during your Istanbul layover are Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosques.
Formerly a church, a mosque, a museum, and now a mosque again, Hagia Sofia was constructed in 537 as the patriarchal Cathedral of Constantinopole – that time imperial capital. Back then, it was the largest interior space globally and one of the first cathedrals to use a full pendentive dome. Because of its layout, Hagia Sophia is considered to be the representation of Byzantine architecture.
It perfectly portrays Orthodox Christianity and Islam’s traces under one roof adorned with marble pillars, mosaics, and coverings of magnificent artistic value.
One of the best examples of an Ottoman-era mosque is the grand Sultan Ahmed Mosque, best known as the Blue Mosque, located a few minute’s walk from Hagia Sophia.
This 17th-century mosque is adorned with about 20,000 hand-painted blue ceramic tules in 60 different tulip patterns and incorporates many Byzantine elements of Hagia Sophia and traditional Islamic architecture. The light in the mosque comes from 200 stained glass windows.
Considered as the last prominent mosque of the classical period, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque features five main and eight secondary domes and six minarets that dominate Istanbul’s skyline.
Both of them are located in the Fatih district of Istanbul, and visiting both is possible when there are no prayers held.
Submitted by: Baia from Red Fedora Diary
Spanning centuries of religions and spiritual history, there are so many cities with incredible religious places in Europe. Which of these sanctuaries, sites, and temples do you want to visit?