Be Inspired

Europe is a diverse and inspiring continent, full of fascinating details, places, people and events. Our religious heritage is not only a window into this past, but also provides enjoyment and inspiration for its architecture, its beauty and its splendour. These lists show some of the ways that Europe's religious heritage can be enjoyed today.

8 buildings

Norway Stave Churches

Stave churches are among Norway's most recognisable and distinctive heritage sites. While they are very often copies of earlier churches, they nevertheless allow us to realise the importance of wood in medieval sacred architecture, a rare testimony on a European scale.

8 buildings

Bojan Marušič

European Sacred Heritage

Very few buildings, only 38 in total, bear the European Heritage Label. This label was created by the European Commission in 2007 to celebrate places of remembrance, witnesses of European history and heritage. The following places are or include places of worship, underlining their importance in European heritage.

10 buildings

Wikimedia Commons/Moreau.henri

European Buddhist Heritage

The Buddhist heritage is the youngest form of religious heritage in Europe, appearing only in the 20th century. These places have the particularity of being very versatile. They often combine the function of a temple with the status of a cultural institute, which makes it possible to understand their religious function within the societies from which they originate.

6 buildings

Wikimedia Commons

Tatar mosques

The Tatars are a Turkish people who, after the collapse of the Mongol empire (1206-1368), formed a number of khanates in its western part, which is part of present-day Russia and Ukraine. The Tatars converted to Islam as early as the 14th century and built beautiful mosques that can still be found in north-eastern Europe, which is still home to a Tatar minority.

6 buildings

Shared Churches

The territory of present-day Germany was the epicentre of the face-off between Catholics and Protestants from the 16th century onwards. This led not only to a division of the region but also to divisions within the towns themselves, in which the churches regularly changed denominations. The “Simultaneum”, a form of religious tolerance that allowed Protestants and Catholics to share a church, became attractive to the leaders of these territories where consensus seemed impossible. The "Simultankirchen" (shared churches) are the descendants of this period, and of the unrest that followed; they constitute a unique heritage in Germany.

7 buildings

Unusual Spires

Bell towers are the most visible elements of churches; they define the character of the church and the skyline of the town in which they are located. Every spire is unique, but some of them are even more so as they carry a very particular history, which can sometimes be mixed with legends...

7 buildings

7 Cave churches

Christianity has a long history of constructing temples in caves. Cave churches are the most successful expression of sacred architecture that seeks to blend into nature. Here are 7 examples of famous European cave churches.

6 buildings

Church Rivalries

Within a country, a region, and sometimes even within a city, rivalries have arisen around religious buildings, long centres of power. Today these rivalries are anecdotal, but they have the merit of connecting these buildings to a broader history.

8 buildings

Religious buildings that can be visited virtually

Sacred buildings are places to visit for their atmosphere, but the period of confinement in which we currently find ourselves deprives us of this experience. We can, however, still admire these places... online. We have selected for you eight sacred places that you can visit from the comfort of your own home.