The Most Beautiful Cathedral: Ranking Architectural Masterpieces

Choose the cathedral you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 24, 2024 05:21
Discover the awe-inspiring world of cathedrals as you embark on a breathtaking journey through architectural marvels and spiritual sanctuaries. Welcome to StrawPoll's "What is the most beautiful cathedral?" ranking, where we showcase a magnificent collection of these divine masterpieces, each with their own unique stories and artistic splendor. Join thousands of fellow enthusiasts, as you cast your vote for the most stunning cathedral or champion a hidden gem by suggesting a missing option. Unveil the wonders of these sacred spaces and explore the rich history, enchanting artistry, and captivating allure that have captivated hearts and minds for centuries. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into this celestial experience and let your voice be heard in the quest to crown the most beautiful cathedral ever built.

What Is the Most Beautiful Cathedral?

  1. 1
    33
    votes
    A symbol of French Gothic architecture, with its stunning stained glass windows, sculptures, and flying buttresses. Its construction began in 1163 and was completed by 1345. Despite the devastating fire in 2019, it remains one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.
    The Notre-Dame Cathedral, located in Paris, France, is one of the most beautiful and iconic cathedrals in the world. It is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and has been a symbol of Paris for centuries. The cathedral is known for its breathtaking stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and majestic exterior.
    • Location: Paris, France
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Construction Period: 12th to 14th century
    • Height of Towers: 69 meters (226 feet)
    • Length: 127 meters (417 feet)
  2. 2
    36
    votes
    St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican City, Rome)
    Alvesgaspar · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This iconic cathedral is the largest church in the world, covering an area of over 22,000 square meters. Its spectacular dome, designed by Michelangelo, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Rome.
    St. Peter's Basilica is a magnificent Renaissance cathedral located in Vatican City, Rome. It is considered one of the most beautiful and important churches in the world. The basilica is dedicated to St. Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. It is an iconic symbol of the Roman Catholic Church and a popular pilgrimage site for millions of visitors each year.
    • Architectural Style: Renaissance
    • Height: 136.6 meters (448.1 feet)
    • Length: 220 meters (720 feet)
    • Width: 150 meters (500 feet)
    • Dome Diameter: 42.3 meters (138.8 feet)
  3. 3
    18
    votes
    Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain)
    Canaan · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This unique cathedral, designed by Antoni Gaudi, is a masterpiece of modernist architecture. The church's towering spires, intricate facades, and colorful stained glass windows make it a visual feast for the eyes.
    The Sagrada Familia is a magnificent basilica located in Barcelona, Spain. It is a unique masterpiece of architecture and a prominent symbol of Barcelona. Designed by the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, construction of the Sagrada Familia began in 1882 and is still ongoing. Despite being unfinished, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.
    • Location: Barcelona, Spain
    • Architectural style: Modernisme, Art Nouveau
    • Construction started: 1882
    • Estimated completion: 2026-2032
    • Height: 170 meters (558 feet)
  4. 4
    16
    votes
    St. Paul's Cathedral (London, England)
    Mark Fosh · CC BY 2.0
    This magnificent cathedral has been a symbol of London for over 300 years. Its impressive dome, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is one of the largest in the world, and the cathedral's interior is adorned with beautiful mosaics and intricate carvings.
    St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in London, England. It is an Anglican cathedral situated on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. The current cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, is the fourth to be built on this site and has been standing since its completion in 1710.
    • Location: London, England
    • Architectural style: English Baroque
    • Height: 365 feet (111 meters)
    • Dome diameter: 112 feet (34 meters)
    • Materials: Portland stone, lead, and wrought iron
  5. 5
    18
    votes
    Chartres Cathedral (Chartres, France)
    BT · Public domain
    This 13th-century cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with its stunning stained glass windows, intricate sculptures, and soaring vaulted ceilings. It is considered one of the best-preserved examples of French Gothic architecture.
    The Chartres Cathedral, located in Chartres, France, is a magnificent Gothic cathedral that is renowned for its stunning architecture and intricate stained glass windows. It is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.
    • Location: Chartres, France
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Construction Period: Started in 1145, completed in mid-13th century
    • Height of Spire: 113 meters (371 feet)
    • Length: 130 meters (430 feet)
  6. 6
    18
    votes
    Florence Cathedral (Florence, Italy)
    Petar Milošević · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This iconic cathedral, also known as the Duomo, is a symbol of the Italian Renaissance. Its spectacular dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, is a masterpiece of engineering, and the cathedral's interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes and sculptures.
    The Florence Cathedral, also known as the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is a stunning cathedral located in the heart of Florence, Italy. It is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, renowned for its magnificent architecture and rich history.
    • Location: Florence, Italy
    • Architectural style: Gothic
    • Construction period: 1296-1436
    • Height of main dome: 114.5 meters (375 feet)
    • Length: 153 meters (502 feet)
  7. 7
    14
    votes
    This breathtaking cathedral, with its Gothic spires and majestic facade, is one of the most visited landmarks in Germany. Its construction began in 1248 and was completed in 1880, making it one of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture in Europe.
    The Cologne Cathedral, located in Cologne, Germany, is a magnificent gothic masterpiece and one of the largest cathedrals in the world.
    • Height: 157 meters (515 feet)
    • Length: 144 meters (474 feet)
    • Width: 86 meters (282 feet)
    • Construction Period: 1248-1880
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
  8. 8
    16
    votes
    Westminster Abbey (London, England)
    Σπάρτακος · CC BY-SA 3.0
    This historic cathedral, with its impressive Gothic architecture and stunning stained glass windows, has been the site of many royal coronations, weddings, and funerals. It is also the final resting place of many famous figures from British history.
    Westminster Abbey is a stunning gothic cathedral located in London, England. It is considered one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, known for its magnificent architecture, rich history, and significance as a royal venue. The abbey holds great religious, cultural, and historical importance in England.
    • Location: London, England
    • Architectural style: Gothic
    • Construction started: 1245
    • Height of the nave: 31 meters (102 feet)
    • Length of the building: 156 meters (512 feet)
  9. 9
    9
    votes
    Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence, Italy)
    Parma1983 · CC BY-SA 4.0
    This stunning cathedral, also known as the Florence Duomo, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Italy. Its impressive dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, is a masterpiece of engineering, and the cathedral's interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes and sculptures.
    Santa Maria del Fiore, also known as the Florence Cathedral, is a magnificent Gothic-style cathedral located in Florence, Italy. It is considered one of the most stunning cathedrals in the world and is a prominent symbol of the city. The cathedral attracts visitors from all over the globe with its breathtaking architecture and rich history.
    • Architectural Style: Gothic
    • Construction Period: 1296-1436
    • Height: 114.5 meters (376 feet)
    • Dome Diameter: 45.5 meters (149 feet)
    • Facade Material: White, green, and pink marble
  10. 10
    2
    votes
    Salisbury Cathedral (Salisbury, England)
    Andrew Dunn (Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/) · CC BY-SA 2.0
    This 13th-century cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with its soaring spire and beautiful stained glass windows. It is also home to one of the four surviving original copies of the Magna Carta.
    Salisbury Cathedral, located in Salisbury, England, is a magnificent example of Early English Gothic architecture. With its towering spire and stunning stained glass windows, it is often regarded as one of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world.
    • Location: Salisbury, England
    • Architectural Style: Early English Gothic
    • Construction Period: 1220-1258
    • Height of Spire: 123 meters (404 feet)
    • Length: 123 meters (404 feet)

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Ranking factors for beautiful cathedral

  1. Architectural style
    The architectural style of a cathedral plays a significant role in determining its beauty. Different styles, such as Gothic, Romanesque, Baroque, or Renaissance, have their unique characteristics and appeal.
  2. Size and proportions
    A cathedral's size, height, and proportions can influence its overall aesthetic appeal. Balancing the different elements and reaching an appealing symmetry play a significant role in determining a cathedral's beauty.
  3. Exterior design
    The complexity and detail of the cathedral's exterior, including its façade, towers, spires, and buttresses, can add to its overall beauty.
  4. Interior design
    The interior of a cathedral should be considered when determining its beauty, including the layout, side chapels, altars, and artwork.
  5. Stained glass windows
    Beautiful and intricate stained-glass windows can enhance a cathedral's aesthetics by adding color, light, and atmosphere.
  6. Sculptural and artistic elements
    The incorporation of statues, carvings, frescoes, mosaics, and other artworks can enhance the overall beauty of a cathedral.
  7. History and significance
    The historical and cultural context or significance of a cathedral can add to its appeal and beauty. It might be deeply tied to the city's identity or have been the site of important historical events.
  8. Lighting and atmosphere
    The quality of natural and artificial lighting inside the cathedral can affect its perceived beauty. The atmosphere created by the lighting and the general ambiance can contribute to the overall aesthetic experience.
  9. Surroundings and location
    The beauty of a cathedral can be enhanced by its surrounding environment and location. Factors such as a picturesque setting, landscape, and consonance with nearby buildings can play a role in determining a cathedral's beauty.
  10. Preservation and restoration
    A well-preserved and maintained cathedral will showcase the beauty of its original design and craftsmanship. Restoration efforts must be sensitive to the original style and materials to maintain the cathedral's integrity.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful cathedral. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Cathedral is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 1363 views
  • 179 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Cathedral once every 24 hours. The rank of each Cathedral is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most beautiful cathedral

Cathedrals have been a significant aspect of religious and cultural heritage for centuries, with their stunning architecture and intricate designs attracting millions of visitors every year. These grand structures are not only a symbol of spiritual devotion but also a testament to the craftsmanship of their builders. From towering spires to magnificent stained-glass windows, cathedrals are a sight to behold, and it's no wonder that people around the world are constantly debating which one is the most beautiful. With so many stunning cathedrals to choose from, it's no doubt a difficult decision to make. But, whether you're drawn to the Gothic splendor of Notre-Dame or the intricate mosaics of St. Mark's Basilica, one thing is certain: these magnificent structures are sure to leave you in awe.

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