Top 10 Captivating Gothic Architectures in the World

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Gothic architecture is more than a little bit amazing. It is timeless and oftentimes breathtaking. It goes without being said that Gothic architecture was one of mankind’s most extreme expressions. The thing is you never know when or where you will run into this unique style of architecture. From American churches to grand cathedrals and even some civilian housing Gothic architecture is still favored among people today, but nothing beats the classic architecture like the ones we will point out here today.

There are several different types, but all are beautiful. From the French to the English and Italian, Gothic architecture cannot be compared to any other. France was where Gothic architecture was born, and looking into the history of Gothic architecture it is almost spiritual. This is why many times you will see 12th century cathedrals and even modern day churches portray beautiful Gothic architecture. This is among the most captivating architectural styles known of to date. The beauty is in the extreme complexity of the design and in every small detail. These are works of arts that have withstood the test of time.

These are just some of many remarkable designs of Gothic architecture that is available for public viewing. These are again indescribable. If you ever have the change o see one of these wondrous pieces of art only then can you understand the true majesty, nostalgic history or the realness of the ghostly presences that seem to wonder their halls. There is nothing else that feels quite like that if standing in the presence of one of these remarkable buildings.

10. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna

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Standing on the ruins of two churches that came before it, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which was constructed in 1147, is a beautiful example of everything that Gothic architecture has to offer. This is in fact considered the “mother church of the prominent Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna serving also as the seat of the Archbishop.  This is Austria’s most important religious dwelling.

St. Stephens Cathedral had borne the test of time and stood to witness many historic events. It is covered by a beautifully colored roof, which now stands as one of the city’s most unique and recognizable religious symbols. The couth tower is a prominent feature on the Vienna skyline.

Something about the structure that many are not be aware of is that the north tower was actually meant to mirror the south. The design was far more ambitious than it was originally thought it would be, and with the Gothic era passing, construction ceased in 1511 and a renaissance cap was added to the north tower. It is now called the “water tower top” by the Viennese.

You will hear locals refer to the entryway as the “Riesentor” or “the giant’s door”. Bells that were once housed in the Heidentürme in the southern tower are forever lost to World War II. The northern tower, however, does have a bell tower that is still operational. The oldest part of St. Stephens Cathedral is its Roman towers and the giant’s door.

9. Mir Castle

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Mir Castle is a breathtaking specimen of 16th century gothic architecture located in the Grodno region and it is one of the most influential tourist attractions in the region of Belarus. The infamous Duke Llinich constructed it in the early 1500’s. However, this 3-story castles construction began as an entirely Gothic piece of art. It was later finished by its second owner Mikolay Radziwil in the Renaissance style. A mote surrounds it, and it has beautiful Italian gardens to the north wall.

Mir Castle did suffer great damage during the Napoleonic wars. Nikolai Svyatopolk-Mirsky bought it, and he started restoring it before passing it on to his son to complete. Mirsky’s son hired a well-respected architect named Teodor Bursze to carry that legacy out, and that family owned Mir Castle until 1939.

The castle once served as a ghetto for Jews after their liquidation by the Nazi forces. It went on to become a housing facility, and today Mir Castle is recognized as a National Heritage Site. It is a huge part of the local and national culture, and it is a phenomenal piece of Gothic architecture to be taken in for locals and tourists alike.

8. Antwerp Cathedral

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Antwerp Cathedral, otherwise known as The Cathedral of Our Lady, is a Roman Catholic dwelling in Antwerp, Belgium. The outstanding piece of Gothic architecture started in 1352 and went on through 1521. Building ceased in 1521 and has to date not been finished.

The Cathedral stands where a small chapel of Our Lady once stood in the ninth through the 12th centuries. Now it is the largest and most breathtaking Gothic architectural themed church in the region of the Netherlands.

One may not know looking at this regal structure that in 1533, it was fire ravaged and that is in fact what led to its not being finished. Still, with its remarkable beauty it became the Cathedral of the arch Bishop in 1559. From the early 1800’s through the mid 1900’s, it would again stand empty and even be damaged during some wars in the land.

The amazing structure stood through the times, the wars, the fire and the history to see the 19th century as one of restoration as it was completely restored. In 1993, the restoration that began in 1965 was finally finished with this glorious piece of gothic architecture and work of art.

7. Cologne Cathedral

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What a majestic piece of Gothic architectural art! Its construction span from 1248 through to 1473 only to stop and leave it incomplete until construction resumed in the 19th century. Like many buildings of its statute, the Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church located in Cologne, Germany. It serves as the seat of the beloved arch Bishop as well as the Archdiocese there. This monument is a beacon and a symbol for both outstanding and memorable Gothic architecture as well as German Catholicism. The Cologne Cathedral is also a World Heritage site, and Germanys most frequented tourist landmarks.

The Gothic architecture is amazing. This is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe with the second tallest sphere. It also has the largest façade of any church across the globe to date. The choirs width to height ratio compared to other medieval churches puts it on the top in that category as well.

There are so many breathtaking things to see in this indescribably beautiful building that one would actually have to see it for themselves to truly appreciate it in its entirety.

Its design was based very closely to that of the Amiens Cathedral. It follows a Latin cross layout with high Gothic vaults. It portrays beautiful stained glass, a high alter, original fittings and so much more.  It truly is a modern day treasure.

6. Cathedral of Burgos

Burgos Cathedral tourism destinations

This is 13th century Gothic architecture at its finest once again. The Cathedral of Burgos is an immaculately built and detailed cathedral in Spain occupied by the Roman Catholics and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a massive piece of architecture that begun construction in 1221 which carried through to 1567 in French Gothic style. Later in the 15th and the 16th century, Renaissance style was added as well. It was added to the World Heritage family of cathedrals and Gothic architecture in late 1984 hence becoming the only Spanish cathedral with this independent distinction.

The things to be be-held at this historically rich and beautiful location are so plentiful. From the statues of the 12 apostles to the Chapel of the Condestable and the entire work of art in a whole is more than can be described here today. This is Gothic to the core and filled with angels, knights and heraldry just to name some.

5. St. Vitus Cathedral

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Located in Prague this is a gorges example of Gothic architecture. St. Vitus Cathedral is more beautiful than anyone can properly describe. The cathedral is very Gothic. It is simply amazing. Anyone who has the chance to see it should definitely take it. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, that is for sure!

Not only is the cathedral a remarkable piece of Gothic architecture, but the church itself is the most respected and important on in the country. It is also the largest. It is located alongside the Prague Castle and the tombs of Holy Roman Emperors and Bohemian Kings are contained there. It is a government owned complex of course.

4. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abby was once known as the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster. It is mostly Gothic, and it is among London’s most notable of religious buildings.

Tradition has it that in the late 1000’s the Thorn Ey church stood at the site of what is now Westminster Abbey. Construction of Westminster was said to have been at the request of Henry III in 1245 for preparation of his burial there. There have been more than 15 royal weddings at the Abby.

This amazing piece of Gothic architecture stood to witness a lot of history, wars, it seen its share of damage and it seen days of glory. It is a standing reminder today of all of those things.

3. Chartres Cathedral

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Chartres Cathedral is otherwise known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres. It is a Roman, medieval Catholic cathedral that is located in France. Most of it was built from 1194 to 1250, and it has been beautifully well preserved. In the 13th century there were some minor changes made to this outstanding piece of Gothic architecture, but it is basically as it was and original.  The Sancta Camisa is a relic that the Chartres Cathedral is closely associated with and it is believed to have been work by Mary when Jesus was born. This structure and its relic is a popular travel destination, and it attracts multitudes of Christians to its grounds.

2. The Burg Rheinstein Castle

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The Burg Rheinstein Castle is a majestic castle nestled on a hillside in Germany. It is a wonder to behold for sure, and the Gothic architecture here is beyond comparison to other structures of its time.

It was built from 1316 through 1317, but by 1344, it was declining. Still in 1794, it was bought and rebuilt by Prince Fredrick of Persia and he lived there until 1863.

1. Oudenaarde Town Hall

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Finally, we come to Oudenaarde Town Hall. This is a gloriously marvelous town hall in Oudenaarde, Belgium. Architect Hendrik van Pede is responsible for this masterpiece, and it was constructed between 1526 until 1537. It is a must see for anyone who loves history and beautiful art or old buildings.


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6 Comments

  1. Check out a great work of Gothic cathedral in a small tourist town near mexico city. Museo del Virreinato, Tepotzotlán. Good read by the way!

  2. L. Sifuentes-Winter on

    Some good buildings, but missing some major works, not one of the many in Italy are mentioned (the Duomo di Milano, Doge’s Palace in Venice, a handful in Florence), and the amazing (though more contemporary) La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (drool)… among others.

  3. Absolutely stunning architecture. Being a Londoner myself I have to agree that #4 Westminster Abbey is among London’s most notable of religious buildings.

  4. Great list. The Burg Rheinstein Castle definitely looks worth a visit. I also loved La Sagrada Familia. It is amazing to think they started building it 1882 and it still isn’t finished.

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