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European Churches: the highest in their countries

andrew

With the expansion of Christianity Romanesque style in architecture gives way to the gothic style. The parishioners are amazed not only by the inside and outside view of religious buildings, but mostly by their size. But the competition for the highest church continues even today. The central tower of Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family dedicated to Jesus Christ is supposed to reach 170 m high. While Sagrada Familia hasn’t been finished yet, here you can see the rating of European countries with the highest cathedrals:

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1

Ulm, Germany

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Ulm Minster is the highest Lutheran church in Europe located in Ulm, Germany. The 161-meter tower of the Ulm Minster dominates the city. The construction of this church was begun in the 14th century, but it was not completed until 1890. From the terrace, located at 143m high, you can admire the urban landscape. To climb up, you just need to ascend 768 steps. You might think of a lift, it doesn’t exist! But a breathtaking view really worth seeing. If the weather is nice you can even see the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

2

Rouen, France

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The second place in our rating goes to France and its catholic Rouen Cathedral, with its spire reaching 151 metres high. The construction of this gothic cathedral started in the 12th century, but it was destroyed during the invasions, damaged by fire, and later by thunder. In 1822 a lightning hit the tower of the cathedral, destroying the wooden spire. The present-day spire made of cast iron replaced it. So, nowadays Rouen cathedral has the largest cast iron spire in the world, its weight is 8000 tons.

3

Lichen Stary, Poland

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Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen located in Lichen Stary in Poland takes the third place. The building unites the elements of various eras. It was designed by Barbara Bielecka and built between 1994 and 2004. After the consecration, the church was given the title of minor basilica. Basilica of Licheń is the largest church in Poland with the nave 120 meters long and 77 meters wide, and a central dome 98 meters high. On the right of the entrance, there is a bell tower, which rises up to 65 meters, on the left - the tower of the basilica which is 141,5 m high. From viewing platforms (98 and 114 meters high) you can admire a beautiful view over the surrounding area. You can get there by stairs or take a lift.

4

Vatican City, Vatican

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The fourth place: The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican. In 1506 Pope Julius II began its construction, which lasted more than a century. In 1626 Pope Urban VIII dedicated the new Basilica, which had to demonstrate the power of the Catholic Church. The greatest Italian architects and artists known to have worked at its creation include Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, who built the largest dome in the world. It is 136.6 metres high! You have two options to visit it: climb all the way (451 steps) by foot or take the lift and then climb the rest on foot (321 steps). At the end of this exhausting root you will be fully rewarded with a spectacular view on Rome.

5

Vienna, Austria

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The fifth place goes to St. Stephen's Cathedral located in Austria, in the centre of Vienna. Its south tower is 136,4 metres high and dominates the Vienna skyline. This figure became a ceiling for all religious buildings of Austria-Hungary, because of emperor’s decree, which prohibited building belfries or towers higher than this one. The beginning of its construction dates back to 1137. It lasted up to 1511, but the north tower remained unfinished and reaches 68,3 meters high. Both towers are open to the public: you can climb the 343 steps up to the south tower and or take a lift to the north one.

6

Riga, Latvia

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On the sixth place is Latvia with the oldest St. Peter's Church, located in Riga. It was first mentioned in ancient chronicles in 1209. It is 123 m high, 64,5 m is for spire. As it was first made of wood, the spire was damaged several times by the lightning. During the Second World War the church was almost completely destroyed, but in 1973 it was rebuilt. Nowadays, an elevator takes you from the ground floor to a viewing platform, where you can admire fabulous views of Riga.

7

Salisbury, United Kingdom

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United Kingdom and the tallest Salisbury cathedral (123 m) take the seventh place. The construction was completed in only 38 years, from 1220 to 1258, but the spire was finished only in 1320. It has been completely kept intact up to our days, without taking into account some changes made in the XVII and XIX century to strengthen the construction. Today visitors can admire the hollow spire, with its ancient (more than 500 years) wood scaffolding. Together with the tower, it added 6,500 tonnes to the weight of the building.

8

Antwerp, Belgium

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Belgium takes the eighth place with its Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. The cathedral was built during 250 years (1352-1601), but it was not fully completed. Its north tower rises up to 123 meters high, while the south one remains unfinished. Inside the Cathedral you can find the most famous masterpieces by Peter Paul Rubens: «The Raising of the Cross», «Descent from the Cross» and «Assumption of the Virgin». The entrance fee is to be paid.

9

Saint Petersburg, Russia

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Ninth place goes to Russia and the Peter and Paul Cathedral, located inside the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg. The cathedral was built between 1712 and 1733 under Peter the Great, founder of the city. It has a bell tower 122 meters high, 40 meters is the spire. The construction of a top in the shape of octagon was made by a Dutch master Harmen van Boles. Until 2012, this cathedral was the tallest in the St. Petersburg, and its golden angel perched on top, a symbol of the city, dominated the skyline.

10

Novara, Italy

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Italy ends up our rating with its Basilica of San Gaudenzio, dedicated to the first Christian bishop of Novara. It was built between 1577 and 1690, but it became the tallest building in Italy thanks to Alessandro Antonelli (who also designed the Mole Antonelliana in Turin). In 1887 he built a monumental cupola 121 metres high, and the Basilica became the highest point in the city.

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