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The recent fire at the Notre Dame, the emblematic temple of Paris, shocked not only the French but the entire world, people who through temples - monuments feel the continuity of their cultural heritage, of their history and ultimately their own continuity. As renovations at the temple of Paris have already started and a part of it is ready to be visited, we take a look at Europe's most important temples that deserve our attention and should be visited at least once.
Hagia Sophia: The church which is the synonym of the Orthodox Faith and Constantinople that created and hosted it, the Hagia Sophia, was very often the reason for confrontation between Greeks and Turks. However, it is also their meeting place as well as a place of harmony and reflection. Its foundations were laid in 220 A.D. by Constantine the Great and it was erected in 360 A.D. by his son Constantius. It was considered an architectural miracle, a Byzantine architectural monument, designed by architects Anthemios of Tralles and Isidoros of Miletus. About 10,000 workmen were engaged in the construction and about 300 thousand pounds (100 millions of Euros) were spent. The last time a Liturgy was conducted in the Hagia Sophia was on May 29, 1453.
Westminster Abbey: It has been the setting for the coronations of all the kings and queens of Great Britain since 1066 to date and the coronation of William the Conqueror and hosts the tombs of all the kings and queens as well as many prominent politicians. It was erected in the 10th century, its style is Gothic, and as its name indicates it is located in Westminster.
The Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi is dedicated to Saint Francis, the patron of Italy. It was erected in 1228 on a hillside and consists of two churches as a reference to Earth and Heaven. In the church, there is a crypt with the relics of the Saint.
Recently the official building permit was issued for the Sagrada Familia for its completion, which began to be built in 1882 and is expected to be completed by 2030! It is based on the architectural plans of Gaudi and is considered a jewel of Barcelona and one of the first monuments that one should visit when in the city.
St. Peter in the Vatican is the largest church in the world. It has a capacity of 60 000 people, 211.5 meters length, and 132.5 meters height, with a transverse aisle with 138 meters width. Its construction began in 1506 and it has one the most beautiful mural paintings in the world, that of Michelangelo. It is definitely worth visiting just to admire the masterpiece of the unsurpassed painter which is full of symbolism.
The Cologne Cathedral, built in Gothic style, is dedicated to Saint Peter. It is the second tallest church in Germany with authentic Gothic designs and it took 600 years to be built. Its construction began in 1248 and it was completed in 1880.
The Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow stands out for its extremely impressive characteristic gold and colorful, onion-shaped domes. It was built by order of Ivan the Terrible in 1555, who then ordered the blinding of the architect so that he would never be able to carry out a similar project. The temple was completed in 1561.
The Duomo di Milano the temple dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is the third-largest church in the world, a work of outstanding artistry, an architectural masterpiece that began in 1385 and was completed after six centuries.
Notre Dame of Paris: On the islet Île de la Cité on the River Seine, the Notre Dame Gothic cathedral is a masterpiece which is in the heart of all the French. Its foundations were laid in 1163 and it was completed in 1345. Joan of Arc was canonized in it and Great Napoleon was crowned there. Typical of the church are its two beautiful towers with a height of 68 meters and the wonderful rose window above the main gate of the cathedral. The famous stained glass windows and the Gargoyles, the vigilant guards, and its medieval frescoes make the Notre Dame one of the most beautiful buildings ever created by humans.