Borgund Stave Church, Norway
In 1180, the villagers of Borgund, in southern Norway, built a new church. But unlike older churches, which had rotted because their wooden frames came into contact with the cold, snowy ground, this church was to be built on stone foundations. Workmen put up to 2,000 pieces of timber in place; crosses were carved on the inner walls; holy water was sprinkled. The stave church – a medieval wooden Christian church – still stands in Borgund today, although it is no longer used for services, but is preserved as a museum by the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Norwegian Monuments. It is thought to be the best preserved of Norway’s 28 stave churches. Source: Scandinavia Travel Guide.
Gergeti Trinity Church, Georgia
It is possibly the setting, in the green and white Caucasus mountains, below the summit of Mt Kazbegi, that makes Gergeti Trinity Church quite so magnificent. Dating from the 14th century, it has a separate bell tower, and is often used as a navigation point for trekkers, who make a three-hour mountain climb to reach it. While religious services were banned during the Soviet era, it is once again used as a place of worship. Source: Georgia Travel Advice.
Sagrada Familia, Spain
Full name the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, this Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudí surprises many a tourist to the Catalonian city. Even though work began in 1882, it is in a seemingly-permanent unfinished state, half covered with scaffolding and cranes. Despite this, it is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and attracts more than three million visitors a year, who are able to ignore the construction paraphernalia to admire the interior, particularly the geometric columns, which were designed to resemble the trunks and branches of trees. Source: The Telegraph
Thorncrown Chapel, USA
With 425 windows and more than 6,000 square feet of glass, Thorncrown chapel in Arkansas is one of the most unique woodland buildings you are likely to come across. An unconventional design for a place of worship, it has nonetheless won multiple architecture awards, and has attracted six million visitors since it opened in 1980. Particularly of note is the way it was designed to maximise the role of light that filters through the trees: shapes of changing proportions flitter through the chapel throughout the day in relation to the position of the sun. Source: USA Travel Guide.
This church was built into a natural niche in the rocks above Oberstein, western Germany, in 1482-1484. It can only be entered through a tunnel ploughed into the rock, and it contains various liturgical objects, including an agate cross from Brazil, a rock crystal crucifix, and late Gothic glass windows – although these were damaged by falling rocks in the 18th century. A viewing platform was opened in 2003. Source: The Telegraph.