Places of worship โ›ช๏ธ๐Ÿ•Œ๐Ÿ•

The Blue Mosque in Istanbul at sunset

The inspiring interiors of places of worships of all times and all beliefs have always fascinated me, especially for temples with large stained glass windows and imposing architecture. The coloured reflection of sunlight into the building can really inspire believers and lay people to lift souls into a higher dimension of spirituality and union with the supernatural. It is not by chance that religious buildings tend to be the highest constructed, above the other architectural dimensions, to elevate the souls of mortals towards celestial heights. The minarets of islamic mosques are a clear illustration of this concept, as much as cathedral spires.

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

A building with an extraordinary history as a place of worship is undoubtedly Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. Built on the orders of Byzantine emperor Justinian I in 537, it remained for nearly a thousand years the world’s largest cathedral. Turned into a mosque after the conquest of the city by the Ottomans and into a museum in 1934, it is now being turned again into a mosque with consequent controversies about this decision. The timeless splendour and captivating magic of this temple transcends religious differences and has been transpiring spirituality for almost two millenia to people of all creeds.

Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, London

There are not many serving medieval churches in London with gothic stained glass but at Westminster Abbey there are some astonishing examples of this fine art of light and colour, also in other spaces, apart from the main body of the church. On the left the fine example of Chapter House, annexed to Westminster Abbey, used also as a meeting place for the precursor of the current Parliament, now housed in a specifically designed building just opposite the Abbey.

Contemporary to gothic cathedrals are the incredible buddhist temples in Bagan, now in Myanmar. The visitor cannot remain astonished by the almost infinite number of temples, actually 4,446, that were built between the 11th and 13th century in the Bagan plains. Here too, we have a vast multitude of temples and interiors that stretch in heights to the limits of architecture, with imposing impact on the visitant. What cannot be achieved through bringing the outside light inside the building is magnified with gigantic and splendid statues that render a similar effect to the soul.

Cathedral in Monopoli

The baroque Cathedral in Monopoli, otherwise known as the Basilica of the Madonna della Madia or Santa Maria della Madia, is a Roman Catholic cathedral with a history as a place of religious cult that goes back to the Bronze Age and pagan times, with archeological remains of a temple dedicated to Mercury. During the XVIII century a new baroque design inspired the reconstruction of the church, terminated in 1772, after the destruction of the older romanesque temple that was deemed unsuitable for the religious requirements of an ever expanding city. The current styling is hence the result of some layering that goes back in time at least 1000 years to early medieval times.

Cupola of Saint Sophia in London

Church buildings are also the expression of the community that surrounds them and elect the temple as a key point of reference for their cultural identity. A case in point is the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Sophia in London, built in the second half of 1800s, thanks to the support of the growing Greek diaspora community in London. Inspired by a Byzantine Revival style, the cathedral features a stunning dome and polychromatic marble decorations, in contrast with the relatively modest exterior. The cathedral also hosts a Greek polyphonic choir performing regularly during services and for concerts.


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