20 Largest Churches in the World

These magnificent buildings are the 20 largest churches in the world. Some 50 million plus people visit these churches on a yearly basis.

These are the twenty largest churches in the world by square footage. The list is churches only and mosques, synagogues and other houses of worship are not included on this list except for the Hagia Sophia which was built as a church but also served as a mosque for many years. Some of the churches on the list often dispute which ones are the largest and each one can come up with different figures depending upon what is measured and the measurements listed here are very rough approximations. But all of these churches are simply magnificent structures and each one should be appreciated for its own beauty.

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City - 164,000 square feet

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Ironically the largest church in the world is located in the smallest country in the world as St. Peter's Basilica is in Vatican City which is considered its own country. St. Peter's Basilica is a magnificent structure built from 1506-1626 by a number of different architects including Michelangelo who designed the dome. St. Peter's is a Roman Catholic church and can hold some 60,000 people. It is certainly one of the most famous buildings in the world and one of the most visited by tourists and worshipers.

Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil - 129,000 square feet

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is also a Roman Catholic Church and is located in Aparecida, Brazil. It was originally built in the late 1700's but due to the popularity of Our Lady of Aparecida it was greatly expanded beginning in 1955. Our Lady of Aparecida is the Patron Saint of Brazil and many Brazilians pray to her every day especially laborers. The basilica can hold over 45,000 people.

Cathedral of Seville in Spain - 124,000 square feet

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The Cathedral of Seville is a Catholic Church located in southern Spain in the city of Seville. It is also known as the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the See. The church was built in Gothic style from 1402-1511 and twice since then the dome has been replaced once due to an earthquake. Inside the massive Cathedral of Seville are 80 chapels and as many as 500 masses have been said on a daily basis. Christopher Columbus is buried on the church grounds.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City - 121,000 square feet

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The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located at 1047 Amsterdam Ave in Upper Manhattan, New York City, New York. The inside of this huge Episcopal church takes up half a city block. The cathedral was begun in 1892 and built in Gothic style and many people joke the church is still not finished as it is almost continually being renovated.

Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen in Poland - 109,000 square feet

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The Basilica of Our Lady of Lichen is a Roman Catholic Church located in the city of Lichen Stary in Poland. It is a modern church having being built from 1994-2004 from donations from pilgrims and honors Our Lady of Lichen also known as Our Lady of Sorrows.

Liverpool Cathedral in England - 104,000 square feet

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Liverpool Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral located right off Hope Street on St. James Mount in downtown Liverpool, England. It was built beginning in 1904 in Gothic Revival style using designs by architect Giles Gilbert Scott and considered finished in 1978. The massive cathedral tower is 331 feet high.

Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Portugal - 94,000 square feet

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The Church of the Most Holy Trinity is a Roman Catholic Church located at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Fatima, Portugal. This church is modern having being built from 2004-2007 at a cost of 80 million euros. The Church of the Most Holy Trinity has a seating capacity of around 9,000.

Milan Cathedral in Italy - 91,000 square feet

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Milan Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in the northern Italian city of Milan. This massive Gothic cathedral was built from 1386-1558. On top of the tallest spire is a baroque gilded bronze statue entitled "Madoninna". Tourists are allowed to climb up to the roof where they can view many sculptures.

Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar in Spain - 90,000 square feet

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The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar is a Roman Catholic Church located in the city of Zaragoza, Spain. It was built in the Baroque style of architecture from 1681-1872. The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar was built to honor the Virgin Mary who appeared before the Apostle James as he prayed by the banks of the Ebro River in Spain and she gave him a pillar of jasper and asked him to build a church for her in 40 AD. James built a small chapel for Mary near the spot which was destroyed after James was executed in 44 AD but the pillar was saved and preserved and placed in subsequent churches built on the spot including the present day basilica.

Cathedral of Saint Sava in Serbia - 88,000 square feet

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The Cathedral of Saint Sava is an Orthodox Church located on the Vracar plateau in the capital city of Belgrade, Serbia. Construction of the church began in 1935 and it was mostly finished by 2003. The church honors Saint Sava who founded the Serbian Orthodox Church in 1219 and is today the patron saint of education and medicine in Serbia.

Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico - 88,000 square feet

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The Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a Roman Catholic Church located on top of Tepeyac Hill in the northern part of Mexico City, Mexico. There are actually two basilicas on top of the hill with the same name with the newer one being much larger and having been built from 1974-1976. The older one is much prettier to look at but also much smaller in size. The new Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe can seat some 10,000 people.

Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in the Ivory Coast - 86,000 square feet

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The Basilica if Our Lady of Peace is a Roman Catholic Church located in the capital city of Yamoussoukro in the West African nation of Côte d'Ivoire or the Ivory Coast in English. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace was built from 1985 to 1990 at a cost of roughly 300 million dollars. It was roughly modeled after St. Peter's Basilica and the Guinness Book of World Records lists the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace as the largest church in the world but that counts a lot of open space and whether that should count or not is debatable. St. Peter's Basilica can hold 60,000 visitors while the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace holds 18,000.

Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Belgium - 85,000 square feet

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The Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic Church located in Elizabeth Park on Koekelberg Hill in Brussels, Belgium. Due to its location the church is often called the Koekelberg Basilica. The basilica was built from 1905-1969. The original design was for a Neo-gothic church but after WW I the design was changed to a Art Deco and today the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the largest Art Deco building in the world. Though primarily a church this massive building also has a restaurant, a theater and two museums.

San Petrino Basilica in Bologna - 85,000 square feet

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San Petrino Basilica is a Roman Catholic Church that is the centerpiece of the beautiful Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy. Dedicated to Saint Petronius the patron saint of Bologna the basilica was built from 1390-1658 and can hold some 28,000 people.

Cologne Cathedral in Germany - 85,000 square feet

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The Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in Cologne, Germany. It was built from 1248-1880 in Gothic architectural style and has the second tallest church spires in the world. Some 20,000 people visit Cologne Cathedral every day.

St. Paul's Cathedral in London - 85,000 square feet

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St. Paul's Cathedral is an Anglican church located on Ludgate Hill in London, England. St. Paul's Cathedral was built from 1677-1708 by famed architect Sir Christopher Wren.Tthis incredibly beautiful building is one of the most famous buildings in London and is a huge tourist attraction today.

Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC - 83,000 square feet

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Washington National Cathedral is a huge Episcopal church located at Wisconsin Avenue NW in Washington, DC. It was built from 1907-1990 in Gothic Revival style using designs from famed architect George Frederick Bodley and his pupil Henry Vaughn. This magnificent building is a popular tourist attraction in Washington, DC today and visitors with the stamina can climb the 333 steps to the top of the great central tower some 300 feet above the ground for fantastic views of the capital city.

Amiens Cathedral in France - 83,000 square feet

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Amiens Cathedral or Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens in French is a Roman Catholic church located 30 Notre Dame Place in Amiens, France. Due to fires that destroyed the records it is not exactly known when construction on Amiens Cathedral began but it was probably around 1220 with most of the work being completed by 1270 though much has been added over the years. Displayed inside Amiens Cathedral is the religious relic the head of St. John the Baptist which was supposedly brought here from Constantinople after one of the Crusades. Who knows if it is real but it is mummified and looks old and donations by pilgrims visiting the religious relic provided the main funding for building the magnificent Amiens Cathedral which one of the largest churches in the world today.

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - 80,000 square feet

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Hagia Sophia was an Orthodox Basilica church that was built from 532-537 by Byzantine Emperor Justinian and served as a church for hundreds of years before it became a mosque from 1453 to 1934. In 1935 the Hagia Sophia was turned into a museum and today this magnificent building is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC - 76,000 square feet

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is a Catholic Church located at 400 Michigan Avenue NE in Washington, DC. Built from 1919-1961 in Byzantine style today the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic Church in the United States. Over 1 million people visit the basilica on a yearly basis making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Washington, DC today.

For more see 10 Largest Homes in the United States

Tallest Lighthouses in the United States

12 Beautiful Famous Castles in Canada

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_church_buildings_in_the_world

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