World Facts

Awe-Inspiring Wonders: The Tallest Church Buildings In The World

Prior to the advent of the skyscrapers, impressive church buildings of the world held the title of the world's tallest buildings.

Since the Middle Ages, until the skyscrapers dotted the skies of modern cities across the world, Christian church buildings were among some of the tallest and biggest buildings in the world. For example, from 1311 to 1884, the Lincoln Cathedral of England enjoyed the title of being the world's tallest building replacing the Pyramid Of Giza by its sheer height. However, on 1884, the Washington Monument stole the glory from the Lincoln Cathedral and became the world's tallest building instead.

5. Beauvais Cathedral -

#5 Beauvais Cathedral -

The Cathedral of Saint Peter of Beauvais is a Roman Catholic cathedral that is located in Beauvais, northern France. The cathedral whose construction was initiated in the 13th century serves as the seat of the Bishop of Beauvais, Noyon, and Senlis. Even though the cathedral originally had a height of 153 meters, the tower of the building collapsed in 1573 resulting in a lowered height.

4. Cologne Cathedral -

#4 Cologne Cathedral -

The Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in Cologne, Germany. The cathedral serves as the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne. The site was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its importance as one of the best examples of Gothic architecture and German Catholicism. An average of 20,000 people a day visit the Cologne Cathedral making it the most visited landmark in Germany. The cathedral was completed between the years 1248 and 1880.

3. Our Lady of Peace Basilica -

#3 Our Lady of Peace Basilica -

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is a Catholic minor basilica that is located in the administrative capital of the Côte d'Ivoire's Yamoussoukro. A recently constructed building, the building was completed between 1985 and 1989. The designs and plan of the basilica is inspired by the Vatican’s City’s Basilica of Saint Peter. It is regarded as the world’s largest church by surface area and is 158 meters high. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace can accommodate nearly 18,000 worshippers at a single time. The basilica is the tallest domed church in the world. Although the dome is lower, the cross of the building is taller than that in the St Peter's Basilica, Rome.

2. Lincoln Cathedral -

#2 Lincoln Cathedral -

The Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln or the Lincoln Cathedral is the second tallest church building in the world in recorded history. Although currently, it is only 83 meters tall, the building was originally 159.7 meters tall. A storm in 1549 triggered the collapse of the spire of the cathedral. Located in Lincoln, England, it is the seat of the Anglican bishop. The building of this structure was initiated in 1088 and continued into the medieval period. For 238 years, the Lincoln Cathedral held the title of being the world’s tallest building. Scholars of architecture regard the building with awe. The cathedral is also the third largest in Britain by floor area.

1. Ulm Minster -

#1 Ulm Minster -

Located in Ulm, Germany, the Ulm Minster is a Lutheran church that is also known as the Ulm Cathedral for its massive size. However, since it has never seated a bishop, it cannot be truly classified as a cathedral. Stone masonry has been used to design the towers and decorative elements of the Ulm Minster but its facade is made of visible brick. The Ulm Minster is the world’s tallest church and has a steeple that is 530 feet high. 768 steps lead to a level at 469 feet where one can get a panoramic view of Ulm and a view of the Alps in clear weather. The final stairwell leads to the topmost level is a tall, spiraling staircase with just enough space for one person to squeeze in.

Awe-Inspiring Wonders: The Tallest Church Buildings In The World

RankHeight metres NameCompletedCityCountry
1161.5 m Ulm Minster1890Ulm Germany
2159.7 m Lincoln Cathedral1311Lincoln United Kingdom
3158.0 m Our Lady of Peace Basilica1989Yamoussoukro Ivory Coast
4157.4 m Cologne Cathedral1880Cologne Germany
5153.0 m Beauvais Cathedral1569Beauvais France
6151.0 m St. Mary's church1478Stralsund Germany
7151.0 m Rouen Cathedral1876Rouen France
8150.0 m Old St Paul's Cathedral1240London United Kingdom
9147.3 mSt. Nikolai, Hamburg1874Hamburg Germany
10142.0 mStrasbourg Cathedral1439Strasbourg France

More in World Facts