From St. Peter’s Basilica to Washington National Cathedral, we have covered all the “Top 20 largest churches in the world for 2022”.
Besides their religious significance, people cherish Churches for their beautiful architecture and design. For tourists seeking new experiences, churches always possess a great appeal. Churches exhibit rich cultural and religious backgrounds and also help tourists to connect with the people of the particular area.
They are architectural marvels that offer a lot in terms of beautiful buildings, designs, sculptures, and unique artwork. Churches hold so much spirituality, art, history, literature, and politics, thus enhancing their overall allure. From the work of Leonardo da Vinci to the masterpieces of Michelangelo — famous artists for centuries have adorned churches with their best works.
We present the top 20 largest churches in the world, based on our research through various sources and materials.
So, if you admire beautiful buildings with rich history and unique design, then keep reading our article!
Top 20 Largest Churches in the World
The criteria to include any church in our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world is simple. We have included churches in the list based on their sizes i.e. floor area of more than 2000 m2.
Please note we have encapsulated cathedrals and basilicas under the ‘church’ heading. And also we have included buildings that are no longer churches but were built as Churches.
Similarly, we also tried to look at the capacity and exterior area of each church but due to lack of information could not consider them fully.
St. Peter’s Basilica City | Vatican, Italy
With an area of 20,139 m2, this Renaissance-style designed building is the world’s largest church. This Catholic church lies in Vatican City, which is the heart of Christianity. St. Peter’s Basilica has an internal area of 15,160 m2 — can accommodate 60,000 people standing. The construction of this magnificent church started in 1506 and finished in 1626.
Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida | Aparecida, Brazil
With an external area of 18,331 m2 and 12,000 m2 inside, this Brazilian Catholic church is the world’s second-largest church and largest Cathedral. This Brazilian Cathedral’s establishment dates back to 1955 and was consecrated in 1980. The church is dedicated to the patron saint of Brazil, Our Lady Aparecida, who has the highest regard among the Christians in Brazil. According to various legends, some fishermen found the headless statue of the Virgin Mary and later also found the head and brought her home. Later seeing her miracles, they erected a small Chapel, which became the foundation of the current building.
The church can easily hold up to 45,000 people. Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady Aparecida’s glorious long tower of 102 meters further adds to its beauty.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)| Milan, Italy
Milan Cathedral of the Nativity of St. Mary, with an inside area of 11,700 m2, is third in our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. The cathedral can hold a mass of 40,000 people. The construction of this magnificent building began in 1386. In that era, the Gothic cathedrals style was most relevant, thus reflected in its pointy arches and spires. Later, the cathedral style took a shift towards a more Renaissance style. Finally, the construction ended in 1965.
So, It took six centuries to finish this magnificent building. Over the years, artists, architects, and sculptors of the highest caliber and standards contributed to the exterior and interior of this cathedral. Moreover, the church has 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles, and 700 figures.
Seville Cathedral | Seville, Andalusia, Spain
Seville Cathedral or the Cathedral of St. Mary of See is the fourth largest church. Embellished with gold, this church has an area of 11,520 m2. The construction period of this Gothic-styled church spans from 1401 to 1528. The gold brought during the Christopher Columbus age adorns the altarpiece of this glorious church. This Cathedral has so much to offer to visitors, from the Spanish paintings and masterpieces to precious religious artifacts. If this still does not tempt you, then surely the views of the city from Giralda Tower will make you speechless.
Cathedral Of Saint John The Divine | New York, USA
The Anglican Cathedral of Saint Juan el Divino is fifth in our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. The church has an internal area of 11,241 m2 and can hold 8,600 people. Designed by George Heins and Christopher Grant Lafarge, its construction began in 1892. Then, the construction stopped during the world wars, after that resumed, and is still in progress. The church has 10,000 pieces of colored and stained glasses. These glasses further enhance the beauty of this place. Another beautiful feature of the cathedral is its bronzed main door.
Basilica of Our Lady of Licheń | Licheń, Poland
This is the largest catholic church in Poland, with an internal area of 10,090 m2. The church is dedicated to the Queen of Poland, Our Lady of Sorrows. Designed by Barbara Bielecka, the construction started in 1994 and finished in 2004. Moreover, the church consists of 141.5 meters long tower — making it the largest church in Poland and sixth on our list.
Liverpool Cathedral | Liverpool, United Kingdom
Liverpool Cathedral with an internal area of 9,687.4 m2 is the 7th largest church. With a length of 189 meters, it is also the world’s longest church. The construction of the church began in 1904 and finally ended in 1978. Liverpool church has the world’s highest and heaviest peak of 67 meters. This Anglican church can hold 3,500 people.
Basilica of the Holy Trinity | Fátima, Portugal
The Church of Holy Trinity in the Catholic Church was built between 2004 and 2007. The church has an internal area of 8,700 m2. It has the capacity of 9000 worshipers. Designed by Alexandros Tombazis, the Basilica of the Holy Trinity has a modern white building made from a local stone called white of the sea.
Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls | Piazzale San Paolo, Rome, Italy
Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls, is one of the four major papal basilicas in Rome. The church has an internal area of 8,515 m2. Roman Emperor Constantine I founded this church on the burial place of Saint Paul and inaugurated it in 324. The church lies outside the remains of the walls of the ancient city of Rome, hence has this name. The church is one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. The colossal marble columns and magnificent gold mosaics enhance the beauty of this church.
Basilica-Cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar | Zaragoza, Spain
This Baroque Gothic-style church has an internal area of 8,318 m2. The church is the first church in history to be dedicated to Mary. According to legends, Saint James had built the first chapel here after seeing the apparition of Saint Mary in 40 A.D. Over the centuries, various constructions and altercations happened, as can be witnessed from the architectural makeup of the Cathedral. The current Baroque style architecture’s construction, however, started in 1681 and finished in 1872.
Florence Cathedral | Florence, Italy
With an area of 8,300 m2, this Catholic Church is in the 11th spot on our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. Florence Cathedral has Gothic, Romanesque, and Renaissance architecture. Designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, the construction began in the 13th century and was completed in the 15th century (1296- 1436). This exquisite Cathedral is an important landmark of Florence City as beautiful colored Tuscan marbles exalt its beauty and make it the ultimate tourist attraction. Additionally, the dome of the Florence cathedral is the world’s largest brick dome ever made.
Ulm Minster | Ulm, Germany
Ulm Minster, the tallest church in the world at 161.5 meters in height, is a Lutheran church whose construction spanned almost six centuries (1377-1890). The internal area of the church is 8,260 m2 and can hold 20,000 people at a time. The church has a Gothic style architecture with prominent the world’s tallest spires. As you climb its 786 steps, the church offers breathtaking views of Ulm city. So, the idea behind its tall building is that it symbolizes the way to the heavens.
Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe | Mexico City, Mexico
Basilica of Our Lady Guadalupe is the Roman Catholic church in the north of Mexico City, Mexico. The church has an internal area of 8167 m2 with the construction period spanning between 1974 and 1976. Moreover, it is the world’s most visited Catholic Shrines and is second in importance after the Shrines in Vatican City. Every year many tourists and pilgrims flock here due to its religious significance and also for its unique design that mimics the cloak of Juan Diego.
Cathedral of Our Lady, Belgium | Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, Brazil | Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Belgium
All these churches lie in the 14th spot on our list of the top largest churches in the world as all have an internal area of 8000 m2.
The Cathedral of Our Lady’s in Belgium construction took two centuries to complete from 1352 to 1521. The church has both Gothic style influence and the work of Baroque painters to awe its visitors. The Cathedral can hold 25,000 people.
Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, can hold 20,000 people with its capacity. The construction period spans from 1964 to 1979. The cathedral has designed inspired by the Mayan architecture style.
Located in Koekelberg, Belgium, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart construction began in 1905 and finished in 1970. This Catholic Church design features a huge green-copper dome and two thin towers. The church can hold 3,500 people.
Basilica of Lady Peace | Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast
Basilica of Lady Peace with its 7,989 m2 internal area and capacity to hold 18,000 lies in the 15th spot on our list. The construction of the church began in 1985 and finished in 1989. Inspired by the Basilica of St. Peter’s, the church also has a similar dome and plaza with a villa, rectory, and two colonnades on its exterior. The architectural style of the Basilica is a blend of Renaissance Revival and Baroque revival styles.
Hagia Sophia | Istanbul | Turkey
The former church, then a mosque, then the museum, and now again mosque, Hagia Sophia has gone through various transitions over the centuries. It lies in the 15th spot on our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. Hagia Sophia has an internal area of 7,960 m2. It was built in 537 as the state church of the Roman Empire. During the Ottoman Empire regime in the 15th century, it became a mosque. The building has Byzantine architecture and was the first one in history to have a dome.
San Petronio Basilica | Bologna, Italy
San Petronio Basilica, with an internal area of 7,920 m2 lies in the 16th spot on our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. The construction period of this Catholic church spanned from 1390 to 1479, with Antonio di Vincenzo as the architect. Across centuries, many architects have made a huge contribution to the design, exterior, and interior of the church. The church can accommodate 28,000 people.
Cologne Cathedral | Cologne, Germany
This Catholic church has an internal area of 7,914 m2, and its construction spanned over many centuries — 1248 to 1880 (as construction halted for centuries). Archbishop of Cologne seats the Cathedral. Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s most visited landmark, as many tourists every year visit this monument. It has the distinctive architecture of German Catholicism mixed with Gothic architecture with the world’s second-tallest spires. The church can accommodate 20,000 people.
St Paul’s Cathedral | London | United Kingdom
This Anglican Cathedral has an internal capacity of 7,875 m2 and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The design of the Cathedral has an English Baroque influence. The construction began in 1677 and finished in 1708 with a capacity of accommodating 3,500 guests. Many prominent figures’ last services were performed here, including Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill’s funeral. Moreover, St. Paul’s also conducted the wedding ceremony of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.
Washington National Cathedral | Washington, USA
Finally, Washington National Cathedral is in the 20th spot on our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. This Episcopal Church in the USA has an internal area of 7,712 m2. The church has a neo-Gothic architecture with a construction period spanning from 1906 to 1988. Besides, the Cathedral has hosted major services of prominent figures, including funerals of Ronald Reagan, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George H. W. Bush.
So, we presented our list of the top 20 largest churches in the world. Do let us know how many you have visited or planning to visit with your comments.