If you are a fan of the most gorgeous and intricate architecture, attention to detail, major historic fortresses, and exquisite artifacts, get your one-way ticket to Central Europe! It is time for you to discover the most beautiful of genius European minds by touring their staggering cathedrals. If you do not know where to start, though, check out our top 5 magnificent churches you should visit!
1. St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague
Start with exploring the Czech Republic and its one-of-a-kind marvels, such as the St. Vitus Cathedral.
The current seat of the Archbishop of Prague is the third edition in a series of updated metropolitan churches. The very first was built in 930 in a Romanesque architectural style by the Duke of Bohemia. Over time, however, the church overcame many significant and dramatic changes, and it was only in 1344 that St. Vitus, you are seeing today, was founded.
Apart from its religious significance, the cathedral is also the most prominent and most important temple in the Czech Republic, adorned with Neo-Gothic chapels, High Altar, royal crypts, and the ceremonial Golden Gate!
2. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna
As the most important religious establishment in Austria, St. Stephen’s Cathedral has borne witness to many of the most significant events during Habsburg and Austrian history, and there is plenty of evidence of its exciting past.
The current form of the church is heavily influenced by Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles, with perfectly designed exterior and interior. St. Stephen’s is easily recognizable with its multi-colored roof, and its towers, standing at 136 meters, make the cathedral one of Austria’s most prominent signature marks.
3. Grossmunster, Zurich
After a comfy trip on the Vienna to Zurich train, head straight to Grossmunster, the most gorgeous and historically charged church in the city! There are four major churches in Zurich, but Grossmunster is undoubtedly the most important and magnificent one!
Its foundation is shrouded in beautiful stories and intriguing legends, the most popular one being about Charlemagne. According to the folk tales, his horse tripped over and fell to his knees over the tombs of Felix and Regula, the two Zurich’s patron saints. In reality, though, it is fascinating that we can only rely on tales and legends to this day, as no one truly knows who commissioned the Grossmunster to be built!
In any case, try to find that out for yourself while discovering the medieval columns and grotesques adorning the capitals, all perfectly fitting the Romanesque architectural style in which the church was built during the Carolingian times!
4. Salzburg Cathedral, Salzburg
Once again, we need to take a step back and revisit Austria! By the way, the navigation between cities is convenient enough so you will not have any trouble! For example, you can easily take a train from Salzburg to Vienna, and the other way around!
Founded in 744, Salzburg Cathedral is a magnificent Baroque-style cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. While the city is full of gorgeous sites with majestic establishments, Salzburg Cathedral certainly takes the top as the most beautiful one and the one must-visit for you!
While it was built in 744 on the remains of a Roman Town due to the fire, Austrians had to rebuild it in 1181, presenting you with the site you will see today. Enjoy its regal appearance specified by arcade arches and endless designs of marble and gold – the cathedral is one true gem of Salzburg!
5. St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest
Make no mistake! There is a gorgeous St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, but there is also one in its neighboring Budapest, so make sure you do not mix those up together!
St. Stephen’s in Budapest fits in perfectly with the rest of the cityscape of wealthy buildings, effortless magnificence, and impeccable architecture. Completed only in 1905, the basilica was not always as holy of a site as it is right now. If you would travel back in time to 18th century Hungary, the church was a simple theater, and its importance was on quite a different level.
However, St. Stephen’s Basilica now stands proud as one of the most important religious buildings in Hungary, with absolutely unique architecture. Interestingly, they built the castle mostly in Neo-Classical style, yet the whole ground is adorned with Greek crosses, which is, while not exactly weird, but is quite unusual!
Enjoy these magnificent churches and remember to take your time exploring – each of them has seen more than you could imagine. We suggest guided tours for each to maximize your learning abilities, but you can take quiet individual tours as well. So, whichever suits you is fine, but a visit is still a must! Good luck!