20 Unusual Churches (Part II)

By Village Mayor • Jan 6th, 2009 • Category: Architecture, Latest Post, The Best of Village of Joy

Long time no see, my brothers and sisters! A lot of you guys were asking for a part II of Unusual Churches , so here it is. Most extraordinary, strange, odd, you name it, churches of our planet. Look at those spectacular churches built on the tip of the mountain, carved out of stone or built deep inside underground and tell me that there is no god!

P.S.: this list wouldn’t have come out without your help – a very big Thank you for all your suggestions and emails. I was so eager to post it, that I haven’t put any info on those churches yet, so feel free to share everything you know about them in the comments.

P.S2.: full list can be found here: 50 Most Extraordinary Churches of the World

1. Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe chapel (Le Puy-en-Velay, France)

(image credits: Sacred Destinations)

Perhaps one of the most remarkable sights in France, a chapel perched on a volcanic plug. This is the Rock of Aiguilhe, on the edge of the town of Puy en Velay, in the Auvergne. The Chapelle Saint-Michel has stood there for 1042 years, since Bishop Gothescalk had it built in 962 on his return from a pilgrimage to Santiago del Compostella in Galicia. In 1955 workers found relics under the alter that had been there since it was built.

2. The Wireman Chapel at Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA)

(image credits: Eckwriter)

A kid on the tour to Eckerd College once said it looked like a “Jesus spider from outer space.” Inspired by 20th-century architect
Eero Saarinen, the Chapel was designed by the highly respected Chicago architectural firm of Perkins and Will. Its key design features are its octagonal shape and in-the-round seating, the oculus at the center of the roof that directs sunlight to the center of the sanctuary, the lower glass panels which reflect light from the water outside to the interior, and the girders which recall the flying buttresses of the medieval cathedral, instilling a sense of timelessness in a contemporary structure.

3. Chapel in the Rock (Arizona, USA)

(image credits: santanartist)

This facinating Roman Catholic church is literally built into the rock. The views from outside are unbelievable but the serenity inside is awesome

Some say, that Chapel in the Rock can move even the non-religious.

4. Device to Root Out Evil (Calgary, AB, Canada)

(image credits: ms_cwang)

It was too hot for New York City; too hot for Stanford University. But a controversial, imposing sculpture by renowned international artist Dennis Oppenheim finally found a public home in laid-back Vancouver. A country church is seen balancing on it’s steeple, as if it had been lifted by a terrific force and brought to the site as a device or method of rooting out evil forces.  In 2008 it was moved from Vancouver to Calgary, AB, Canada.

5. Trendsetters Church (Phoenix, AZ, USA)

(image credits: Scott Bruce)

Trendsetters Church in Phoenix, AZ, built in 1973 by Neil Frisby as Capstone Cathedral.  I’m sure Neil Frisby visited Egypt just before designing this church.

6. Church of St. George(Lalibela, Ethiopia)

(image credits: Dylan Cerling)

(image credits: Dylan Cerling)

Possibly the most famous of Lalibeli’s churches, the Church of St. George is completely carved out of stone in the shape of a cross.

7. Written Stone (Monastery, Romania)

(image credits: Daria Xenopo)

Local tradition confesses that,during the construction of a railway , at the opening of the a tunnel, it was found an icon painted in stone representing the Holy Trinity. The monastery was built at the opening of the tunnel The monastery was built at the opening of the tunnel on the rock.

8. Bruder Klaus Chapel (Mechernich, southern Germany)

(image credits: Florian Seiffert (F*))

(image credits: Florian Seiffert (F*))

A concrete chapel on the edge of a field in Mechernich, southern Germany, built by local farmers in honor of their patron saint, the 15th-century hermit Bruder Klaus,” according to icon.

9. Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira, (Cundinamarca, Colombia)

(Photography by Nidya Rincón -nidyarincon@hotmail.com)

(Image credits: jeromesutter and olliethebastard)

Catedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral) in Zipaquirá, about 25 miles north of Bogotá, is an underground church built in a tunnel of salt mines deep inside a salt mountain. It is built into a space left by salt mining; everything you see here is salt. As you descend into the church, you pass 14 small chapels representing the stations of the suffering of Christ. The sanctuary at the bottom has three sections, representing the birth, life, and death of Jesus.
The first Salt Cathedral was consecrated in 1954, but structural problems and safety concerns led the authorities to shut down the sanctuary in 1990. The current church was built between 1991 and 1996 about 200 feet below the old sanctuary, again using caves left behind by previous mining operations.

10. Cathedral of Maringa (Parana, Brazil)

(image credits: carlosoliveirareis)

(image credits: maria clara de melo)

This is a Roman Catholic cathedral located in downtown Maringá, Paraná, Brazil, measuring 124 m high. It was completed in 1972 and is the tallest church in South America and the 16th tallest in the world.

Architect José Augusto Bellucci was inspired by the Soviet sputnik satellites when he projected the modern design with conical shape of the cathedral, which was idealized by the archbishop Dom Jaime Luiz Coelho.

11. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, (Milwaukee, WI, USA)

(image credits: Ricky Irvine)

Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956, and completed in 1961. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church is one of Wright’s last works. Its shallow scalloped dome echoes his Marin County Civic Center.

12. The Felsenkirche a.k.a. Church of the Rock, (Idar-Oberstein, Germany).

(image credits: only_point_five)

(image credits: only_point_five)

The Felsenkirche (“Church of the Rock”) , a church built into a natural niche in the rocks, rises high above the houses of Oberstein.  Nicely blends into the mountain, making all this place magical.

13. Catholic Church (Uruguay)

(image credits:sent by email)

14. Grundtvig’s Church, (Copenhagen, Denmark)

(image credits: seier+seier+seier)

Grundtvig’s Church (Danish: Grundtvigs Kirke) is located in the Bispebjerg district of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is a rare example of expressionist church architecture. Due to its unusual appearance, it is one of the best known churches in the city.

15. Mr. Eko’s Church (The Island)

(Image credits: Stillframe)

Architects:  Eko and Charlie.

16. Church with an A (Madrid, Spain)

(Image credits: R.Duran)

A Parish Church at the beginning of Alcalde Sainz de Baranda St. (Madrid, Spain).

17. Pilgrimage Church(Neviges, Germany)

(Image credits: seier+seier+seier)

Pilgrimage church designed by Gottfried Böhm and constructed during the period of 1963-1972. The sunken cathedral in autumn colors.  Böhm used the terrain to lessen the impact of the enormous church on its small scale context.

18. San Francisco de Asis Church (Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico)

(Image credits: longhorndave)

San Francisco de Asis Church is a small mission in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico. Construction on the church began around 1772 and was completed in 1815 by Franciscan Fathers and its patron is Saint Francis of Assisi. It is made of adobe as are many of the Spanish missions in New Mexico. It a few miles south of Taos Pueblo and has inspired among the greatest number of depictions of any building in the United States. It was the subject of four paintings by Georgia O’Keeffe, and photographs by Ansel Adams and Paul Strand. Georgia O’Keeffe described it as, “one of the most beautiful buildings left in the United States by the early Spaniards.”

19. Church in a Hill(Luxembourg)

(Image credits: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus))

This church is built into the hillside on which it perches. One of the reasons the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has survived as an independent state for a thousand years against such powerful neighbors as Germany and France, is that the area is eminently fortifiable.

20. Church Birdhouse (Greer, South Carolina, USA)

(Image credits: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus))

A colorful birdhouse, made in the shape of a church, hanging on a fence of someones yard in Greer, South Carolina. The bird living in this church must be a bird-priest raising donations  from other birds in a form of seeds.

Full list can be found here: 50 Most Extraordinary Churches of the World

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Possibly related posts:
  • 20 Unusual Churches (Part I)
  • 50 Strange Buildings of the World
  • 50 Strange Buildings of the World (Part III)
  • 12 Odd and Bizarre Fountains
  • Controversial Sculptures by David Cerny

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