10 of the world's most stunning religious buildings
People often go all out when it comes to religious buildings by incorporating the grandest architectural styles and paying utmost attention to detail.
Here are 10 of the most stunning sacred structures in the world.
10. Tiger's Nest Monastery, Bhutan. The Buddhist temple complex is built on the side of a cliff, providing breathtaking views of the verdant valleys and mountains surrounding it. The building itself is a sight to behold, from its main courtyard all the way up to its shimmering gold roofs.
9. The Golden Temple, Armristar, India. Erected as a central place for the observance and study of the Sikh faith but open to everyone, the temple incorporates a variety of cultural aesthetics.
8. St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow. The vibrant and heavily patterned church was completed in 1560, but at that time was only white with gold domes. It was given the colorful makeover we see today about 300 years later during rebuilding work.
7. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi. Superlatives dominate this locale. Not only is it among the biggest mosques in the world, it is home to one the globe's largest chandeliers and the planet's most sizeable hand-knotted carpet.
6. Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi Island, Russia. Considered a masterwork of wooden architecture, the entire dwelling, standing more than 121-foot high, was constructed without the use of even a single nail.
5. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, India. The space inside the complex's walls measures approximately 600 acres, making it the largest building of its kind in India. The grounds are arranged like a small town and include many elaborately carved and brightly painted structures.
4. Great Mosque of Djenné, Mali. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is made of mud brick and supported by palm branches. Constructed over a century ago, it is quite vulnerable to the elements, and must undergo significant repairs regularly.
3. Borgund Stave Church, Norway. Established in the mid-12th century, the building incorporates over 2,000 pieces of wood. Much of the timber was carved to mimic the decorative elements popular on stone structures of the time.
2. Wat Rong Khun Temple, Thailand. Gathering inspiration from popular culture, this massive complex includes imagery of superheroes, cartoon cats, and demons. The architecture, however, maintains traditional Thai aesthetics.
1. Meteora, Greece. The 15th century construction of this group of monasteries was no easy feat, as many materials had to be lugged up 1200 feet of rocky terrain.
See some of the most beautiful religious architecture within the United States:
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