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.

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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.

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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.

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Places that commemorate Saint Patrick

The life of St. Patrick is a great source for many traditional stories. As a missionary, the saint travelled a great deal, and is credited with many visits, constructions and miracles. Here are five sites that bear witness to the legend of Saint Patrick.

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Musical Churches

Over the centuries, church buildings have given rise to new musical styles within them, linked to their stature and the sacred activities that take place there. Don’t miss out on visiting these churches if you would like some proof!