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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Most Unusual Churches around the World

Arun Babu (babuarun007@hotmail.com) has sent in an interesting mail detailing the most unusual Churches around the World. It looks as if he has collected the photographs from:  http://www.boredpanda.com/50-most-extraordinary-churches-of-the-world/. This site is more informative and lists  50 churches. One could visit  the above link to relish the contents. 
1. The Church of Hallgrímur, Reykjavík, Iceland

The Church of Hallgrímur is very very unusual, never seen anything like that.
This Lutheran parish church is also a very tall one, reaching 74.5 metres (244 ft) height. It is the fourth tallest architectural structure in Iceland.

It took incredibly long to build it (38 years!) Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986.

The Architect of this building is Guðjón Samúelssondesign.

More info: Hallgrímskirkja

2. Cathedral of Brasilia in Brasilia, Brazil


This is a very famous Cathedral of Brasília designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It looks really modern but somehow childish to me. These columns, having hyperbolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven.

The construction was finished in 1970.

More info: Cathedral of Brasília

3. Paoay Church (St. Augustine Parish) in Philippines

(Image Credits: Storm Crypt)

Paoay Church reminds me of Aztec architecture. It looks very massive and strong. The walls of the church are 1.67 meters thick and are supported by 24 carved and massive buttresses.

Its construction started in 1704 and was completed in 1894 by the Augustinian friars led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo. It is said, that Its construction primarily was intended to withstand earthquakes. And it could test the strength of the walls very soon, because the church was damaged by an earthquake in 1706 and 1927.

The design of the church is a mixture of Gothic, Oriental and Baroque influence.

4. Duomo (Milan Cathedral) in Italy


Duomo looks incredibly tall and majestic. It even has an evil and scary look in this picture. After checking the Wikipedia for more info I found there were more photos of this cathedral, but they don’t look as cool as this photo here. Maybe its just an illusion made by a good photographer that this building is so amazing.

On the other hand, Mark Twain said the following of the Duomo in Milan in his work, Innocents Abroad:

“They say that the Cathedral of Milan is second only to St. Peter’s at Rome. I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands.”

More info: Wikipedia.

5. Church Ruins in Goreme, Turkey


The rock cut ruins of a church by persecuted Christians.

Not sure when it was built, but definitely look very ancient. How did those guys carved the inside of these rocks?

The Cappadocia valley, where this church stands, is very popular for its rocks that the people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out to form houses, churches, monasteries.

There are an estimated 150 churches and several monasteries in the canyon between the villages of Ihlara and Selime.

Those rocks are volcanic deposits, so that means they are soft rocks, making it possible to carve such structures.

6. Green church, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Don’t have info about this church, nevertheless it’s very unusual. I have never seen a church so green, have you?

Michael: “a parish church in Buenos Aires, Argentina known as the “Huerto de Olivos”, or “Garden of Olives,” most likely a reference Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives”

7. Borgund Stave Church, Lærdal, Norway


Stave churches may have been very usual all over medieval northwestern Europe but now you can only find them in Norway. Well ok, there is one one in Sweden, but nowhere else.

Borgund stave church located in Borgund, Lærdal, Norway is the best preserved of Norway’s 28 extant stave churches. This wooden church, probably built in the end of the 12th century, has not changed structure or had a major reconstruction since the date it was built.

Interesting fact: the church is also featured as a Wonder for the Viking civilization in the video game Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings.

8. Paraportiani Church, Mykonos, Greece

I will just cite, what the author of this picture wrote about it:
“Paraportianí Church is one of the most famous architectural structures in Greece. Its name means secondary gate, because it was built on the site of one of the gates of the Medieval stone walls. Some parts of this beautiful church date from 1425 and the rest was built during the 16th and 17th centuries. ”

9. Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain


I have never seen anything as incredible as this building! Never been to Spain, but if I ever happen to do so, I will definitely include Sangrada Família on the must-see list. I wonder, how does it look in reality?

Sagrada Família is a very massive Roman Catholic basilica under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. A very famous architect Antoni Gaudí worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to this endeavour.
In the center there is going to be a tower of Jesus Christ, surmounted by a giant cross; the tower’s total height will be 170 m (557,7ft)..

There is so much info on this one, that you should check Wikipedia.

10. St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, Russia

Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessed , is a multi-tented church which stands on the Red Square in Moscow.

This church looks really cool, because It has very unusual onion domes which look playful and colorful. Sometimes people even say, that they remind them of lollypops.

The cathedral was built in 1555 -1561 by Ivan IV (a.k.a Ivan the Terrible) to celebrate the capture of the Khanate of Kazan.

A legend says that Ivan had the architect, Postnik Yakovlev, blinded to prevent him from building a more magnificent building for anyone else. In fact, Postnik Yakovlev built a number of churches after Saint Basil’s..
More info: Saint Basil’s Cathedral

11. Church in Stykkishólmur, Iceland

This church in Iceland looks really weird, like some alien structure. It was built in 1990 and the architect is Jón Haraldsson.

12. Basilica de Higuey, Dominican Republic

Basilica de Higuey is located in the city of Higuey, Dominican Republic. Its unusual look reminds me of a basket.

The church is one of the most respected monuments of the Dominican Republic. The basilica was inaugurated on January 21, 1971, and was built by French architects.

13. Grace Fellowship Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD, USA

This strange building is actually a church. Once it was famous for being “Detroit’s most beautiful Chinese-American restaurant”. Later it closed down and became the Omega Baptist Church and then the Grace Fellowship Baptist Church. Located at 265 Baltimore, MD, USA.

14. Las Lajas Cathedral in Colombia

Las Lajas Cathedral looks unusual to me because one side of it seems to be a part of a bridge across the river and the other side rests on the hill. The overall look is really fascinating.

Built in 1916 inside the canyon of the Guaitara river where, according to local legend, the Virgin Mary appeared.

You can find this church in southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales, near the border with Ecuador.

15. Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy

Jubilee Church has very distinctive curved walls which look like sails to me. Designed in 1996 by architect Richard Meier, the church has curved walls which serve the engineering purpose of minimizing thermal peak loads in the interior space.

The walls are made from a special cement, which contain titanium dioxide, so it destroys air pollution.

According to Borgarello “When the titanium dioxide absorbs ultraviolet light, it becomes powerfully reactive, breaking down pollutants that come in contact with the concrete.”

16. St Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago, IL, USA



Maybe I’ll better don’t tell what those domes remind me (haha). Very very unusual looking building I must say. Its massiveness and gray color looks like Soviet architecture. I was amazed when I read that it was actually in USA and not somewhere In Soviet Union.

St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic church is a is most known for its ultra-modern thirteen gold domed roof symbolizing the twelve apostles and Jesus Christ as the largest center dome.

It is celebrating its 52 years, so it was built in 1956 (if my calculations are right).

More info on Wikipedia: St Joseph Ukrainian Church

17. Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France

Someone told that the roof of this building looks like Elvis’ hair.

Informally known as Ronchamp, the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut was completed in 1954 and is considered one of the finest examples of architecture by the late French/Swiss architect Le Corbusier.

Most interesting fact to me is that, when it rains, water pours off the slanted roof onto a fountain, creating a dramatic waterfall.

More info on Wikipedia: Notre Dame du Haut

18. Odd Church in Huntington Beach, CA, USA

Don’t have info on that one, only this photo and the location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA.

As far as I understand it must be sponsored by Shell, because it has a huge SHELL logo on it (this statement can be absolutely different from the reality). Looks terrible overall.

19. Chapel of St. Gildas, Brittany, France

This church is really odd one, sorry I have no info on it, only the words of the picture author: “This was on the canal to Carnac. Really odd church in the (seeming) middle of nowhere. ”

Mads: “This is the chapel of St-Gildas, which sits upon the bank of the Canal du Blavet in Brittany, France. “Built like a stone barn into the base of a bare rocky cliff, this was once a holy place of the Druids. Gildas appears to have travelled widely throughout the Celtic world of Corwall, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. He arrived in Brittany in about AD 540 and is said to have preached Christianity to the people from a rough pulpit, now contained within the chapel.” (from ‘Cruising French Waterways’ by Hugh McKnight p.150)”

20. Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro looks like a Pyramid of Egypt or Aztecs.

It was built between 1964 and 1979. Conical in form it has internal diameter of 96 metres (315 ft) and an overall height of 75 metres (246 ft). The church has a standing-room capacity of 20,000 people.

Four rectilinear stained glass windows soar 64 metres (210 ft) from floor to ceiling.

21. Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel (Le Puy-en-Velay, France)




Perhaps one of the most remarkable sights in France, a chapel perched on a volcanic plug. This is the Rock of Aiguilhe, on the edge of the town of Puy en Velay, in the Auvergne. The Chapelle Saint-Michel has stood there for 1042 years, since Bishop Gothescalk had it built in 962 on his return from a pilgrimage to Santiago del Compostella in Galicia. In 1955 workers found relics under the alter that had been there since it was built.

22. The Wireman Chapel at Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)



A kid on the tour to Eckerd College once said it looked like a “Jesus spider from outer space.” Inspired by 20th-century architect

Eero Saarinen, the Chapel was designed by the highly respected Chicago architectural firm of Perkins and Will. Its key design features are its octagonal shape and in-the-round seating, the oculus at the center of the roof that directs sunlight to the center of the sanctuary, the lower glass panels which reflect light from the water outside to the interior, and the girders which recall the flying buttresses of the medieval cathedral, instilling a sense of timelessness in a contemporary structure.

23. Chapel in the Rock (Arizona, USA)


This facinating Roman Catholic church is literally built into the rock... The views from outside are unbelievable but the serenity inside is awesome

Some say, that Chapel in the Rock can move even the non-religious.

24. Device to Root Out Evil (Calgary, AB, Canada)



It was too hot for New York City; too hot for Stanford University. But a controversial, imposing sculpture by renowned international artist Dennis Oppenheim finally found a public home in laid-back Vancouver. A country church is seen balancing on it’s steeple, as if it had been lifted by a terrific force and brought to the site as a device or method of rooting out evil forces. In 2008 it was moved from Vancouver to Calgary, AB, Canada.

25. Trendsetters Church (Phoenix, AZ, USA)


Trendsetters Church in Phoenix, AZ, built in 1973 by Neil Frisby as Capstone Cathedral. I’m sure Neil Frisby visited Egypt just before designing this church.

26. Church of St. George (Lalibela, Ethiopia)




Possibly the most famous of Lalibeli’s churches, the Church of St. George is completely carved out of stone in the shape of a cross.


27. Written Stone (Monastery, Romania)



Local tradition confesses that,during the construction of a railway , at the opening of the a tunnel, it was found an icon painted in stone representing the Holy Trinity. The monastery was built at the opening of the tunnel The monastery was built at the opening of the tunnel on the rock.

28. Bruder Klaus Chapel (Mechernich, southern Germany)


A concrete chapel on the edge of a field in Mechernich, southern Germany, built by local farmers in honor of their patron saint, the 15th-century hermit Bruder Klaus,” according to icon.

29. Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, (Cundinamarca, Colombia)


Catedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral) in Zipaquirá, about 25 miles north of Bogotá, is an underground church built in a tunnel of salt mines deep inside a salt mountain. It is built into a space left by salt mining; everything you see here is salt. As you descend into the church, you pass 14 small chapels representing the stations of the suffering of Christ. The sanctuary at the bottom has three sections, representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus.

The first Salt Cathedral was consecrated in 1954, but structural problems and safety concerns led the authorities to shut down the sanctuary in 1990. The current church was built between 1991 and 1996 about 200 feet below the old sanctuary, again using caves left behind by previous mining operations..

30. Cathedral of Maringa (Parana, Brazil)


This is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in downtown Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, measuring 124 m high. It was completed in 1972 and is the tallest church in South America and the 16th tallest in the world.

Architect José Augusto Bellucci was inspired by the Soviet sputnik satellites when he projected the modern design with conical shape of the cathedral, which was idealized by the archbishop Dom Jaime Luiz Coelho.


31. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, (Milwaukee, WI, USA)


Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956, and completed in 1961. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is one of Wright’s last works. Its shallow scalloped dome echoes his Marin County Civic Center.

32. The Felsenkirche a.k.a. Church of the Rock, (Idar-Oberstein, Germany).



The Felsenkirche (”Church of the Rock”) , a church built into a natural niche in the rocks, rises high above the houses of Oberstein.. Nicely blends into the mountain, making all this place magical.

33. Catholic Church (Uruguay)





34. Grundtvig’s Church, (Copenhagen, Denmark)


Grundtvig’s Church (Danish: Grundtvigs Kirke) is located in the Bispebjerg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is a rare example of expressionist church architecture. Due to its unusual appearance, it is one of the best known churches in the city.

35. Mr. Eko’s Church (The Island)



Architects: Eko and Charlie.

36. Church with an A (Madrid, Spain)



A Parish Church at the beginning of Alcalde Sainz de Baranda St. (Madrid, Spain).

37. Pilgrimage Church(Neviges, Germany)



Pilgrimage church designed by Gottfried Böhm and constructed during the period of 1963-1972. The sunken cathedral in autumn colors. Böhm used the terrain to lessen the impact of the enormous church on its small scale context.


38. San Francisco de Asis Church (Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico)



San Francisco de Asis Church is a small mission in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Construction on the church began around 1772 and was completed in 1815 by Franciscan Fathers and its patron is Saint Francis of Assisi. It is made of adobe as are many of the Spanish missions in New Mexico. It a few miles south of Taos Pueblo and has inspired among the greatest number of depictions of any building in the United States. It was the subject of four paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, and photographs by Ansel Adams and Paul Strand. Georgia O’Keeffe described it as, “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.”

39. Church in a Hill(Luxembourg)


This church is built into the hillside on which it perches. One of the reasons the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has survived as an independent state for a thousand years against such powerful neighbors as Germany and France, is that the area is eminently fortifiable.

40. Church Birdhouse (Greer, South Carolina, USA)


A colorful birdhouse, made in the shape of a church, hanging on a fence of someones yard in Greer, South Carolina. The bird living in this church must be a bird-priest raising donations from other birds in a form of seeds.




Alpana Verma from Abu Dhabi has sent in the following photograph of the World"s Smallest Church in Canada which continues to be used. She says it is world's smallest church which is always open and functioning.doors are 10x10 feet.It is situated on the River Road [between Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake]


24 comments:

  1. I have seen # 5 and #9. In any case, #9 is the best facade, in my mind. The one in capadocia Turkey is fascinating as well, they even have underground cities with a one meter hole on the surface!!

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  2. Lovely architecture. Each one is unique. I liked #1, #3, #14, #19 and #21. Very beautiful.

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  3. Hi P.N.Subramanian! TGIF and a holiday here!!
    What a wonderful post! Some of the churches are known to me and you may even find some pictures on my blogs, but others are incredible and I've never heard of them... I'm thrilled!

    Blogtrotter is still turning around Vilnius. Enjoy and have a great long weekend!

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  4. Hi P.N.! I keep coming back here to enjoy this post! A fabulous mix!!
    Have a great weekend!
    Blogtrotter

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  5. amazing!
    churches of turkey ,greece,ethopia,brittany[france]are really unusual structure...
    two structures in this series are missing] i feel ]-
    1-old church in chennai on a mountain
    2-one person- smallest church in Canada[in niagra city]

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  6. Very nice .... liked your design ...

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  7. Really enjoyed this post!An interesting church I saw was in the Kerala backwaters near Alleppy.It was on a finger shaped bit of land surrounded by the backwaters and people were commuting by boats.

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  8. इन्हें देखकर बस इतना ही कहना उचित होगा- अदभुत।
    -Zakir Ali ‘Rajnish’
    { Secretary-TSALIIM & SBAI }

    ReplyDelete
  9. बेहतरीन, विलक्षण .
    और सराहनीय प्रयास.

    एक साथ इतने देशों के बारे में दिखाया गया .
    आपकी पोस्ट अत्यंत जानकारीपूर्ण भी है.और रोचक भी.

    ReplyDelete
  10. bahut hi behtarin jankariyaan aur photos hain.aap ke kahe anusaar mainne bhi ek photo apne post main add ki hai.aapki anmol tippani ke liye dhanyawaad.....aasha hai aage bhi aapke sujhaw milte rahenge.

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  11. What a fabulous collection of architecture! Thank you for getting them together in one place.

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  12. Once again here to enjoy!!

    Blogtrotter is paying homage to Vilnius as European Capital of Culture 2009. Hope you like it and have a great weekend!

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  13. Interesting....I like it.
    _________________________________________
    आपने डाक टिकट तो खूब देखे होंगे...पर "सोने के डाक टिकट" भी देखिये. डाकिया बाबू के ब्लॉग पर आयें तो सही !!

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  14. Amazing ! Beautiful ! Wish if I could visit even half of them !

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  15. Hi Subramanian! Never heard of this last one, not even in Niagara; it must be small.. ;)) But it looks beautiful!!

    Blogtrotter has a nice lunch location for you. Enjoy and have a great weekend! I’m having the benefit of the holidays in Portugal this week... ;))

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  16. Sir,
    Amazing pics and great information . padhakr maza aa gaya ..Wow....

    is sajiv chitran ke liye aapko badhai ..

    vijay
    pls read my new sufi poem :
    http://poemsofvijay.blogspot.com/2009/06/blog-post.html

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  17. Church #3 is really amazing...The St. Agustine Parish Church in Paoay, Ilocos, you have to really visit it I'm sure you'll will love it there...it's so peaceful, quiete place...Really great place.

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  18. Great post! Such a beautiful churches with an unusual architecture.

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  19. I'm trying to find out where this church is can you help?
    http://img829.imageshack.us/img829/6260/dkdfdfdd.jpg

    ReplyDelete
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  22. i like the Bogrund Stave Church in Norway...Take yourself back to the time of the Vikings in Northern Europe. Giant men wearing fur coats, wielding huge axes with ruthless warfare tactics. If you can believe that these men were actually religious and spent time going to church, the Bogrund Stave Church is where they would go. Located in the heart of Norway, this ancient, wooden church is truly something out of this world. It is the most church of the world.

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