Unique Temples and Churches Worldwide

These unique temples and churches around the world, along with the histories and cultures that shaped them, provide insight into the puzzling paradox of the most unifying yet divisive human constructs with architecture that inspires awe.

  • Gergeti Trinity Church, Georgia | Photo: Shutterstock

    Gergeti Trinity Church, Georgia

    Location and Builder: Perched atop a mountain near the village of Gergeti, it was built in the 14th century.
    Religion: Georgian Orthodox
    Unique Features: Its isolated location against the backdrop of Mount Kazbegi offers inspiring, awesome views.
    Visitation: Accessible by a hike, it remains a functioning church and a popular pilgrimage site.

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  • Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia | Photo: Shutterstock

    Lajas Sanctuary, Colombia

    Location and Builder: Built between 1916 and 1949, this church is situated in a canyon over the Guáitara River.
    Religion: Catholic
    Unique Features: Famous for its stunning Gothic architecture built directly into the canyon wall.
    Visitation: It’s open for visitors and remains a vibrant center of pilgrimage and tourism.

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  • Paro Taktsang, Bhutan | Photo: Shutterstock

    Paro Taktsang, Bhutan

    Location and Builder: Clinging to a cliff in the Paro Valley, it was first built in 1692 around the Taktsang Senge Samdup cave.
    Religion: Buddhist
    Unique Features: Known as the Tiger’s Nest, this monastery is associated with Guru Rinpoche's miraculous journey on a tigress' back.
    Visitation: Reachable by trek, it’s a sacred site that requires respectful conduct by all visitors.

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  • Beth Sholom Synagogue, USA | Photo: Shutterstock

    Beth Sholom Synagogue, USA

    Location and Builder: Located in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and completed in 1959.
    Religion: Jewish
    Unique Features: Known for its striking modernist design and unique construction, resembling a Mount Sinai.
    Visitation: Tours are available, providing insights into both its architectural and cultural significance.

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  • Grundtvig’s Church, Denmark | Photo: Shutterstock

    Grundtvig’s Church, Denmark

    Location and Builder: Situated in Copenhagen, it was designed by Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint and built in the early 20th century.
    Religion: Lutheran
    Unique Features: Its design combines the style of a traditional Gothic church with expressionist modernist themes.
    Visitation: Open for public visits, it stands as a towering figure in Danish cultural heritage.

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  • Paraportiani Church, Greece | Photo: Shutterstock

    Paraportiani Church, Greece

    Location and Builder: Positioned in Mykonos, this fascinating architectural complex is a union of five churches, constructed from the 14th to the 17th centuries.
    Religion: Greek Orthodox
    Unique Features: Its picturesque structure, whitewashed asymmetrically, makes it a photographic icon.
    Visitation: It’s a visible highlight for visitors to Mykonos, reflecting the Cycladic architecture style.

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  • Saint Panteleimon Church, Macedonia | Photo: Shutterstock

    Saint Panteleimon Church, Macedonia

    Location and Builder: This church is situated on the shores of Lake Ohrid, built in the 9th century.
    Religion: Eastern Orthodox
    Unique Features: It is notable for its Byzantine frescoes and architecture.
    Visitation: Open to visitors, the church is part of the rich historical tapestry of Ohrid, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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  • The Hassan II Mosque, Morocco | Photo: Shutterstock

    The Hassan II Mosque, Morocco

    Location and Builder: Situated in Casablanca, this mosque was completed in 1993 and designed by Michel Pinseau.
    Religion: Islam
    Unique Features: It stands partly over the Atlantic Ocean, and is known for its vast size and intricate Moroccan craftsmanship.
    Visitation: Open to both Muslims and non-Muslims, it offers guided tours, showcasing its architectural beauty and cultural significance.

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  • Wat Rong Khun, Thailand | Photo: Shutterstock

    Wat Rong Khun, Thailand

    Location and Builder: Located in Chiang Rai, construction started in 1997 by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
    Religion: Buddhist
    Unique Features: Known as the White Temple, it is famous for its unconventional, contemporary, and visually striking design.
    Visitation: Accessible to tourists, it operates both as a place of worship and art exhibition.

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  • Blue Mosque, Turkey | Photo: Shutterstock

    Blue Mosque, Turkey

    Location and Builder: Situated in Istanbul, finished in 1616 under the rule of Sultan Ahmed I.
    Religion: Islam
    Unique Features: Known for its six minarets and striking blue tiles that adorn the interior.
    Visitation: It remains an active mosque while also being a major tourist destination in Istanbul.

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