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10 Beautiful Churches Around the World


Located in the village of Borgund, roughly three hours by car from Bergen, the construction of this medieval wooden church began in the late 12th century. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the church in Norway is considered one of the best-preserved stave churches in the country. (The name comes from the staves, or vertical wooden boards, used to form its walls.) During the 19th century, many historic wooden churches were neglected and others were intentionally demolished to make way for newer buildings. The great Romantic landscape painter Johan Christian Clausen Dahl is credited with highlighting these churches’ beauty and historic significance, assuring that many survived to this day. 

Cadet Chapel, United States Air Force Academy (United States)

Photo: John Elk III/Getty Images

Opened in 1962, the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel is 150 feet tall and is one of the United States’ most noteworthy modernist religious buildings. Designed by architect Walter Netsch, the chapel is crowned with 17 glass spires and aluminum panels. With its steel structure and stained-glass windows, the modern chapel has been compared to a spaceship or the wing of an airplane. The ecumenical chapel provides a place of meditation where Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Jewish cadets can worship.

Temppeliaukio Church (Finland)

Photo: Lingxiao Xie / Getty Images

This modernist monolithic church was designed by the Finnish brothers and architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and completed in 1969. The church was carved directly into granite rocks, with walls ranging from 16 to 26 feet in height. At the top of the church, a 79-foot copper dome sits atop concrete beams and 180 glass panels that fill the space with light. The church is also famous for its excellent acoustics, credited to its rough stone walls, and is frequently used for concerts.


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