Top 11 Biggest Church in the World

Churches are not only places of worship, but also symbols of faith, culture, and architecture. Some churches are so large and magnificent that they attract millions of visitors every year. In this article, we will explore the top 11 biggest churches in the world, their size, and their history.

11. Florence Cathedral — 8,300 m²

Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, is the main church of Florence, Italy. It is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city and a masterpiece of Renaissance art and architecture. The cathedral was built between 1296 and 1436, and it features a distinctive octagonal dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. The dome is the largest brick dome ever constructed, with a diameter of 45.5 meters and a height of 114.5 meters. The cathedral also has a beautiful facade decorated with marble panels and statues, and a bell tower designed by Giotto. The interior of the cathedral is spacious and elegant, with a nave that can accommodate 20,000 people. The cathedral also contains many artworks, such as frescoes by Giorgio Vasari and Paolo Uccello, stained glass windows by Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, and the tomb of Brunelleschi.

The cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and it is the seat of the Archbishop of Florence. The cathedral is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the historic center of Florence. The cathedral attracts about 4.5 million visitors annually1.

10. Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar — 8,318 m²

The Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar, also known as the Cathedral of Zaragoza, is the main church of Zaragoza, Spain. It is one of the oldest and most revered Marian shrines in the world, and the first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary. According to tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared to the Apostle James in 40 AD, while he was preaching in Spain, and gave him a pillar and a wooden image of herself, instructing him to build a church in her honor. The original chapel was built on the spot where the apparition occurred, and it was later enlarged and embellished over the centuries. The current basilica-cathedral was built between 1681 and 1872, and it combines various styles, such as Baroque, Neoclassical, and Mudéjar. The basilica-cathedral has a Latin cross plan, with a nave and four aisles, and a dome over the crossing. The facade is richly decorated with sculptures and reliefs, and the towers are topped with colorful tiles. The interior of the basilica-cathedral is splendid and ornate, with a high altar that houses the pillar and the image of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by silver and gold. The basilica-cathedral also contains many chapels, paintings, sculptures, and relics, such as the Holy Chalice of the Last Supper.

The basilica-cathedral is the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Zaragoza, along with the Cathedral of the Savior. The basilica-cathedral is also a minor basilica and a national monument of Spain. The basilica-cathedral attracts about 3 million visitors annually2.

9. Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Italy — 8,515 m²

The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, also known as the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul, is one of the four major basilicas of Rome, Italy. It is located outside the Aurelian Walls, hence its name. It is the second largest church in Rome, after St. Peter’s Basilica, and one of the largest churches in the world. The basilica was founded in the 4th century, on the site where Saint Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, was buried after his martyrdom in 67 AD. The basilica was enlarged and embellished over the centuries, until it was destroyed by a fire in 1823. The basilica was rebuilt between 1825 and 1929, following the original design and using the surviving materials. The basilica has a rectangular plan, with a nave and two aisles, and a transept with a semicircular apse. The facade is imposing and austere, with a portico supported by 150 columns and a mosaic depicting Christ and the Apostles. The interior of the basilica is majestic and solemn, with a coffered ceiling, a triumphal arch, and a baldachin over the high altar. The basilica also contains many artworks, such as frescoes by Pietro Cavallini and Guido Reni, mosaics by Giotto and Jacopo Torriti, and statues by Arnolfo di Cambio and Giuseppe Obici. The basilica also houses the tomb of Saint Paul, which is visible through a glass window.

The basilica is the seat of the Abbot of the Abbey of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, and it is under the jurisdiction of the Holy See. The basilica is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the properties of the Holy See in Italy. The basilica attracts about 2 million visitors annually3.

8. Basilica of the Holy Trinity, Portugal — 8,700 m²

The Basilica of the Holy Trinity, also known as the Basilica of Our Lady of Fátima, is the main church of the Sanctuary of Fátima, in Fátima, Portugal. It is one of the largest and most modern churches in the world, and a major pilgrimage site for Catholics. The basilica was built between 2004 and 2007, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children in 1917. The basilica has a circular plan, with a diameter of 125 meters and a height of 70 meters. The facade is simple and minimalist, with a large cross and a mosaic depicting the Holy Trinity. The interior of the basilica is spacious and bright, with a nave that can accommodate 9,000 people. The basilica also contains a chapel, a sacristy, a baptistery, a gallery, and a crypt. The basilica also houses the tombs of the three visionaries, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, who were canonized in 2017, and Lúcia dos Santos, who died in 2005.

The basilica is the co-cathedral of the Diocese of Leiria-Fátima, along with the Cathedral of Leiria. The basilica is also a minor basilica and a national monument of Portugal. The basilica attracts about 6 million visitors annually4.

7. Liverpool Cathedral, UK — 9,687 m²

Liverpool Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of Christ in Liverpool, is the main church of Liverpool, England. It is the largest cathedral in the UK, and one of the largest churches in the world. The cathedral was built between 1904 and 1978, following the design of Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed the iconic red telephone box. The cathedral has a Gothic Revival style, with a cruciform plan, a central tower, and two transept towers. The cathedral is 189 meters long, 100 meters wide, and 101 meters high. The central tower is the highest in the world, with a height of 154 meters. The cathedral also has the largest organ in the UK, with 10,268 pipes, and the heaviest bell in the world, with a weight of 31.5 tons. The interior of the cathedral is impressive and awe-inspiring, with a nave that can accommodate 3,000 people. The cathedral also contains many artworks, such as stained glass windows by Edward Burne-Jones and John Piper, sculptures by Elisabeth Frink and Tracey Emin, and tapestries by William Morris and John Napper.

The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of Liverpool, and it is the mother church of the Diocese of Liverpool. The cathedral is also a Grade I listed building and a national treasure of the UK. The cathedral attracts about 1 million visitors annually5.

6. Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen, Poland — 10,090 m²

The Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen, also known as the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland, is the main church of the Marian shrine of Lichen, in Lichen Stary, Poland. It is the largest church in Poland, and one of the largest churches in the world. The basilica was built between 1994 and 2004, following the design of Barbara Bielecka, who was inspired by the Polish national symbols and the history of the shrine. The basilica has a Baroque-Classical style, with a Latin cross plan, a dome, and two towers. The basilica is 139.8 meters long, 77 meters wide, and 141.5 meters high. The dome is the third largest in Europe, with a diameter of 46 meters and a height of 98 meters. The towers are the highest in Poland, with a height of 141.5 meters. The basilica also has the largest pipe organ in Poland, with 6,500 pipes, and the largest painting of Mary in the world, with a size of 9.8 by 14.2 meters. The painting depicts the Virgin Mary as the Queen of Poland, holding the Infant Jesus and wearing a crown and a mantle with the Polish coat of arms. The painting is based on a miraculous image that was found by a soldier in 1850, during the Polish uprising against the Russian Empire. The image was brought to Licheń, where it became an object of veneration and pilgrimage. The basilica is dedicated to Our Lady of Licheń, and it is the national sanctuary of Poland. The basilica is also a minor basilica and a national monument of Poland. The basilica attracts about 1.5 million visitors annually1.

5. Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York, USA — 11,241 m²

The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, also known as the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in the City and Diocese of New York, is the main church of New York City, USA. It is the largest Anglican cathedral in the world, and one of the largest churches in the world. The cathedral was built between 1892 and 1941, following the design of George Heins and Christopher Grant LaFarge, who were later replaced by Ralph Adams Cram. The cathedral has a Romanesque-Byzantine style, with a cruciform plan, a central dome, and two western towers. The cathedral is 183.2 meters long, 70.7 meters wide, and 70.7 meters high. The dome is the largest in North America, with a diameter of 46 meters and a height of 54.9 meters. The towers are the second highest in New York City, with a height of 70.7 meters. The cathedral also has the largest rose window in the United States, with a diameter of 12.2 meters and 10,000 pieces of glass. The interior of the cathedral is magnificent and grand, with a nave that can accommodate 5,000 people. The cathedral also contains many artworks, such as stained glass windows by Charles Connick and Keith Haring, sculptures by Gutzon Borglum and Simon Verity, and tapestries by John Nava and Helena Hernmarck.

The cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of New York, and it is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The cathedral is also a national historic landmark and a cultural center of the city. The cathedral attracts about 1.3 million visitors annually1.

4. Seville Cathedral, Spain — 11,500 m²

Seville Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See, is the main church of Seville, Spain. It is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and one of the largest churches in the world. The cathedral was built between 1402 and 1506, on the site of a former mosque that was demolished after the Christian reconquest of the city. The cathedral has a Latin cross plan, with a nave and four aisles, and a transept with a polygonal apse. The facade is elaborate and ornate, with three portals and a large rose window. The cathedral has 15 doors, each with a different name and style. The cathedral also has 80 chapels, each dedicated to a different saint or theme. The cathedral also has a bell tower, known as the Giralda, which was originally the minaret of the mosque. The tower is 104.1 meters high, and it is topped with a Renaissance spire and a bronze weathervane. The tower also has 35 ramps, which were designed for the muezzin to ride a horse to the top. The interior of the cathedral is impressive and majestic, with a nave that can accommodate 8,000 people. The cathedral also contains many artworks, such as paintings by Murillo and Zurbarán, sculptures by Montañés and Roldán, and the tomb of Christopher Columbus.

The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Seville, and it is the metropolitan cathedral of the Ecclesiastical Province of Seville. The cathedral is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the historic center of Seville. The cathedral attracts about 2.5 million visitors annually2.

3. Milan Cathedral, Italy — 11,700 m²

Milan Cathedral, also known as the Duomo di Milano, is the main church of Milan, Italy. It is the largest Italian cathedral, and one of the largest churches in the world. The cathedral was built between 1386 and 1965, following the design of various architects, who contributed to its Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassical, and Neo-Gothic styles. The cathedral has a Latin cross plan, with a nave and four aisles, and a transept with a polygonal apse. The facade is magnificent and elaborate, with five portals and a large rose window. The cathedral has 135 spires and 3,400 statues, which adorn the exterior and the roof. The cathedral also has a bell tower, which is 108.5 meters high, and a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, known as the Madonnina, which is 4.16 meters high. The interior of the cathedral is splendid and sumptuous, with a nave that can accommodate 40,000 people. The cathedral also contains many artworks, such as stained glass windows by Marc Chagall and Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo, sculptures by Marco d’Agrate and Carlo Beretta, and the relics of Saint Charles Borromeo.

The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, and it is the metropolitan cathedral of the Ecclesiastical Province of Milan. The cathedral is also a national monument of Italy and a symbol of the city. The cathedral attracts about 6 million visitors annually3.

2. Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida, Brazil — 12,000 m²

The Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida, also known as the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida, is the main church of Aparecida, Brazil. It is the largest Marian shrine in the world, and one of the largest churches in the world. The cathedral was built between 1955 and 1980, following the design of Benedito Calixto de Jesus Neto, who was inspired by the Roman Pantheon. The cathedral has a circular plan, with a diameter of 102 meters and a height of 70 meters. The dome is the second largest in the world, with a diameter of 78 meters and a height of 40 meters. The facade is simple and modern, with a large cross and a mosaic depicting the Annunciation. The interior of the cathedral is spacious and bright, with a nave that can accommodate 45,000 people. The cathedral also contains a chapel, where the image of Our Lady Aparecida, the patroness of Brazil, is venerated. The image is a small clay statue of the Virgin Mary, which was found by three fishermen in the Paraíba River in 1717. The image is 39.6 centimeters high, and it is covered with a golden mantle and a crown.

The cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Aparecida, and it is the national sanctuary of Brazil. The cathedral is also a minor basilica and a national monument of Brazil. The cathedral attracts about 12 million visitors annually4.

1. St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City — 15,160 m²

St. Peter’s Basilica, also known as the Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, is the main church of Vatican City, the smallest sovereign state in the world. It is the largest church in the world, and one of the most important and sacred sites for Catholics. The basilica was built between 1506 and 1626, on the site of a previous basilica that was erected over the tomb of Saint Peter, the first pope and the leader of the apostles. The basilica was designed by various architects, such as Bramante, Michelangelo, Maderno, and Bernini, who contributed to its Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical styles. The basilica has a Latin cross plan, with a nave and four aisles, and a transept with a semicircular apse. The facade is majestic and imposing, with five portals and a large loggia, where the pope gives his blessings. The dome is the largest in the world, with a diameter of 42.3 meters and a height of 136.6 meters. The dome was designed by Michelangelo, and it is supported by four massive pillars. The interior of the basilica is magnificent and splendid, with a nave that can accommodate 60,000 people. The basilica also contains many artworks, such as the Pietà by Michelangelo, the Baldachin by Bernini, the Chair of Saint Peter by Bernini, and the tomb of Saint Peter by various artists.

The basilica is the seat of the Pope, and it is the mother church of the Catholic Church. The basilica is also a major basilica and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the Vatican City. The basilica attracts about 10 million visitors annually5.

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