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News > June 2014 > A guide to Europe's churches and cathedrals

A guide to Europe's churches and cathedrals

Christianity has inspired some incredible feats of design to produce some of the most significant and prominent sights on river cruises through Europe. From the most grand of Gothic cathedrals to simple yet quaint churches, this guide will talk you through some of the most exquisite religious sites to be seen in Europe.

Germany

Germany is one country where its monuments of Christianity are so well known and popular that they actually make up some of its most visited sites by tourists and local residents. Kölner Dom, or Cologne Cathedral, is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and, as such, is Germany’s most visited landmark. Cologne cathedral is a highly significant Catholic church as the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and was made a World Heritage Site in 1996, now attracting around 20,000 visitors each day.

Also in Germany is the Benedictine monastery of Weltenburg Abbey in Bavaria. The brewery that sits within the Abbey is thought by some to be the oldest of its kind in the world, having been established in 1050.

Austria

Just across the border in Austria are another two prolific houses of worship for Christianity. St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna is considered the most important in Austria, having been the setting for a number of significant events. This includes the funeral of the world famous classical composer Antonio Vivaldi in 1741.

Melk Abbey in Austria stands as one of the most famed religious sites of its kind in the world. It houses the remains of a number of the House of Babenberg, the first ruling dynasty of Austria, and has survived many wars and sieges as a result of its widely considered importance.

Romania

Perhaps one of the most unusual examples of Christian architecture in the list is the Snagov Monastery in Romania. This small yet exquisite building houses a famous name that not many would expect – it is more associated with 19th century gothic fiction than it is Jesus and Christianity. Snagov Monastery sits on a small island in the middle of Snagov Lake and is thought to be the final resting place of Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known in literature as Count Dracula.

Serbia

Serbia’s Belgrade is home to the largest Orthodox Church in the world; St Sava Church. Saint Sava, of whom the church is named after, was the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and is widely considered as one of the most important figures of Serbian history. The church stands on what is believed to be the spot where Saint Sava’s remains were burned in the late 1500s by Ottoman Grand Vizier, or prime minister of the king, Sinan Pasha.

Hungary

In Hungary is Matthias Church of Budapest, named after King Matthias, who was crowned king of Hungary and Croatia in 1458. While officially known as the Church of Our Lady, Matthias Church is the name to which the structure is usually referred. The church has undergone a number of restorations in its time in order to keep its beauty and strength.

Slovakia

The Gothic Cathedral of St Martin in Bratislava stands as one of the oldest and the largest in the city below Bratislava Castle. In addition to the cathedral itself, there are many other buildings of interest in the surrounding area as the religious site is home to the remains of outbuildings and other such constructions.

These are just a few of the incredible sights that can be seen on Rhine and Danube river cruises; whether you are religious or just appreciate the beauty of the historic architecture that can be seen in European cities, there is no end to the delights of Europe.

Image Credit: Pedro Szekely (flickr.com)

This content was written by Angela Sloan. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.

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