Top Ten Basilicas

Top Ten Basilicas

  

  1. St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City

    The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, officially known in Italian as Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. While it is neither the official mother church of the Roman Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, Saint Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom.” In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter’s since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626. St. Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations. It is associated with the papacy, with the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Contrary to popular misconception, Saint Peter’s is not a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. It is properly termed a papal basilica. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral church of Rome.
    Links: Top Ten Vatican City Attractions, Top Ten Pilgrimages, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten Tombs, Top Ten Thrones, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter%27s_Basilica,
  2. St Mark’s Basilica (Venice Cathedral), Italy

    The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. It is the most famous of the city’s churches and one of the best known examples of Byzantine architecture. It lies on Piazza San Marco, in the San Marco district, adjacent and connected to the Doge’s Palace. Originally it was the “chapel” of the Venetian rulers, and not the city’s cathedral. Since 1807 it has been the seat of the Patriarch of Venice, archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. For its opulent design, gilded Byzantine mosaics, and its status as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, from the 11th century on the building was known by the nickname Chiesa d’Oro (Church of gold).
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten Squares, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mark%27s_Basilica,
  3. Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

    The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family), commonly known as the Sagrada Família, is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style, combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War, only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950’s. Construction passed the mid-point in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026, the centennial of Gaudí’s death. The basilica has a long history of dividing the citizens of Barcelona, over the initial possibility it might compete with Barcelona’s cathedral, over Gaudí’s design itself, over the possibility that work after Gaudí’s death disregarded his design, and the recent possibility that an underground tunnel of Spain’s high-speed train could disturb its stability. Describing Sagrada Familia, art Critic Rainer Zerbst said “it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art” and Paul Goldberger called it ‘the most extraordinary personal interpretation of Gothic architecture since the Middle Ages.’
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions, Top Ten Architectural Works by Antoni Gaudí, Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sagrada_Fam%C3%ADlia,
  4. St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica, Rome, Italy

    The Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran, commonly known as St. John Lateran’s Archbasilica and St. John Lateran’s Basilica, is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome and the official ecclesiastical seat of the Bishop of Rome, who is the Pope. The official name, in Latin, is Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sanctorum Iohannes Baptista et Evangelista in Laterano, which translates in English as Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Ss. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran, and in Italian as Arcibasilica del Santissimo Salvatore e Santi Giovanni Battista ed Evangelista in Laterano. It is the oldest and ranks first among the four Papal Basilicas or major basilicas of Rome (having the cathedra of the Bishop of Rome). It claims the title of ecumenical mother church among Roman Catholics. The current archpriest of St. John Lateran is Agostino Vallini, Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome. The President of the French Republic, currently Nicolas Sarkozy, is ex officio the “first and only honorary canon” of the basilica, a title inherited from the Kings of France, who have held it since Henry IV of France. An inscription on the façade, Christo Salvatori, indicates the church’s dedication to “Christ the Saviour,” for the cathedrals of all patriarchs are dedicated to Christ himself. As the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, it ranks above all other churches in the Catholic Church, including St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. For that reason, unlike all other Roman Basilicas, it holds the title of Archbasilica. The cathedral itself is located outside of the Vatican boundaries, within the city of Rome. However it has been granted a special extraterritorial status as one of the properties of the Holy See. This is also the case with several other buildings, after the solving of the Roman Question with the Lateran Treaty. The Lateran Basilica is adjacent to the Lateran Palace.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten Sarcophagi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_St._John_Lateran,
  5. Basilica of St Mary of Health, Venice, Italy

    The Basilica of St Mary of Health, commonly known simply as the Salute, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the Italian city of Venice. It stands on a narrow finger of land between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco making the church visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water. The Salute is part of the parish of the Gesuati and is the most recent of the so-called Plague-churches. In 1630 Venice experienced an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague. As a votive offering for the city’s deliverance from the pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Health. The church was designed in the then fashionable baroque style by Baldassare Longhena, who studied under the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. Construction began in 1631. Most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death. The dome of the Salute was an important addition to the Venice skyline and soon became emblematic of the city, inspiring artists like Canaletto, J. M. W. Turner, John Singer Sargent and Francesco Guardi.
    Links: Sculptures, Top 100 European Sculptures, Top Ten Alters, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_della_Salute,
  6. Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, Rome, Italy

    The Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, commonly known as St Paul’s Outside the Walls, is one of Rome’s four ancient major basilicas or papal basilicas: the basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and St. Peter’s and Saint Paul Outside the Walls.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Paul_Outside_the_Walls,
  7. Sacré Coeur Basilica, Montmartre, Paris, France

    Description:
    Links: Top Ten French Attractions, Top Ten Doors,
  8. Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal, Canada

    Notre-Dame Basilica is a basilica in the historic district of Old Montreal, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The church is located at 110 Notre-Dame Street West, at the corner of Saint Sulpice Street. It is located next to the Saint-Sulpice Seminary and faces the Place d’Armes square. The church’s Gothic Revival architecture is among the most dramatic in the world; its interior is grand and colorful, its ceiling is colored deep blue and decorated with golden stars, and the rest of the sanctuary is a polychrome of blues, azures, reds, purples, silver and gold. It is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. Unusual for a church, the stained glass windows along the walls of the sanctuary do not depict biblical scenes, but rather scenes from the religious history of Montreal. It also has a Casavant Frères pipe organ, dated 1891, which comprises four keyboards, 97 stops using electropneumatic action and an adjustable combination system, over 9,000 individual pipes and a pedal board.
    Links: Top Ten Canadian Attractions, Sculptures, Top 100 North American Sculptures, Top Ten Pipe Organs, Top Ten Stained Glass Windows, Top Ten Squares, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notre-Dame_Basilica_(Montreal),
  9. Basilica–Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar, Spain

    The Basilica–Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic church in the city of Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain. The Basilica venerates Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title Our Lady of the Pillar praised as Mother of the Hispanic Peoples by Pope John Paul II. It is reputed to be the first church dedicated to Mary in history. Local traditions take the history of this basilica to the dawn of Christianity in Spain attributing to an apparition to Saint James the Great, the apostle who had brought Christianity to the country. This is the only known apparition of Mary to have occurred before her Assumption. Many of the kings of Spain, many other foreign rulers and saints have paid their devotion before this statue of Mary. Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Blessed William Joseph Chaminade are among the most outstanding ones. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is one of two minor basilicas in the city of Zaragoza, and is co-cathedral of the city alongside the nearby La Seo Cathedral. The architecture is of Baroque style, and the present building was predominantly built between 1681 and 1872.
    Links: Top Ten Spanish Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_the_Pillar,
  10. Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, Rome, Italy

    The Papal Basilica of Saint Mary Major, known also by other names, is the largest Roman Catholic Marian church in Rome, Italy. There are other churches in Rome dedicated to Mary, such as Santa Maria in Trastevere, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but the greater size of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major justifies the adjective by which it is distinguished from the other 25. According to the 1929 Lateran Treaty, the basilica, located in Italian territory, is owned by the Holy See and enjoys extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies. The building is patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State, not by Italian police.
    Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Paintings, Top 100 Italian Paintings, Top Ten Alters, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mary_Major,
  11. St. Mary’s Basilica, Kraków, Poland

    St. Mary’s Basilica, is a Brick Gothic church re-built in the 14th century (originally built in the early 13th century), adjacent to the Main Market Square in Kraków, Poland. Standing 80 m (262 ft.) tall, it is particularly famous for its wooden altarpiece carved by Veit Stoss (Wit Stwosz). On every hour, a trumpet signal, called the Hejnał mariacki, is played from the top of the taller of St. Mary’s two towers. The plaintive tune breaks off in mid-stream, to commemorate the famous 13th century trumpeter, who was shot in the throat while sounding the alarm before the Mongol attack on the city. The noon-time hejnał is heard across Poland and abroad broadcast live by the Polish national Radio 1 Station. St. Mary’s Basilica also served as an architectural model for many of the churches that were built by the Polish diaspora abroad, particularly those like St. Michael’s and St. John Cantius in Chicago, designed in the so-called Polish Cathedral style.
    Links: Top Ten Polish Attractions, Top Ten Squares, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Mary%27s_Basilica,_Krak%C3%B3w,
  12. Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń, Poland

    The Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń is a Roman Catholic Church located in the village of Licheń Stary near Konin in the Greater Poland Voivodeship in Poland. It was designed by Barbara Bielecka and built between 1994 and 2004. The construction was funded by pilgrims’ donations. With the nave 120 m long and 77 m wide, with a central dome 98 m high, and with a tower 141.5 m tall, it is Poland’s largest church and one of the largest churches in the world. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, Queen of Poland whose icon, perhaps dating back to the 18th century, is displayed in the basilica’s main altar. It is one of Poland’s principal pilgrimage sites. Pope John Paul II blessed the Basilica in 1999.
    Links: Top Ten Polish Attractions, Top Ten Dome Interiors, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_of_Our_Lady_of_Liche%C5%84,
  13. Las Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia

           Las Lajas Sanctuary is a minor basilica church located in the southern Colombian Department of Nariño, municipality of Ipiales and built inside the canyon of the Guáitara River. The present church was built in Gothic Revival style in 1949. The name Laja comes from the name of a type of flat sedimentary rock similar to shale. The inspiration for the church’s creation was a result of a miraculous event in 1754 when an Amerindian named Maria Mueces and her deaf-mute daughter Rosa were caught in a very strong storm. The two sought refuge between the gigantic Lajas, when to Maria Mueces’s surprise, her mute daughter, Rosa exclaimed “the mestiza is calling me…” and pointed to the lightning-illuminated silhouette over the laja. This apparition of the Virgin Mary caused pilgrimage to this location, with occasional miraculous cases of healing reported. The image on the stone is still visible today. The existence of a shrine in this location was recorded in the accounts of friar Juan de Santa Gertrudis’s journey through the southern region of the New Kingdom of Granada between 1756 and 1764. The first shrine was built here in the middle of 18th century from straw and wood. It was replaced with a new, larger shrine in 1802, which in turn was extended and connected to the opposite side of canyon with a bridge. The current church was built in the time period from January 1, 1916 to August 20, 1949, with donations from local churchgoers. It rises 100 m high from the bottom of the canyon and is connected with a 50 m tall bridge to the opposite side of the canyon. In 1951 the Roman Catholic Church authorized the Nuestra Señora de Las Lajas Virgin, and it declared the sanctuary a minor basilica in 1954.
    Links: Top Ten Colombian Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Las_Lajas_Cathedral,
  14. Links: Architecture, Attractions, Top Ten Cathedrals,

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