Tracking Gothic Architecture in Europe: The Most Beautiful Gothic Cathedrals

1. Duomo di Milano (Milano Cathedral) – Milano, Italy

Milano Cathedral
Duomo di Milano (Milano Cathedral)

Duomo Di Milano, or Milano Cathedral, is located in Milano city centre, on the square that is named after it: Piazza di Duomo. Duomo di Milano is the 4th biggest cathedral of Europe. The ground area of the cathedral is about 12 hectares. (Translated for the soccer fan: “That’s larger than a soccer field!”)

The Milano Cathedral dates back to 14th century. Construction of the cathedral lasts nearly 500 years. Having said that, the La Sagrada Familia of Barcelona, which is in construction for the last 130 years is no comparison!

2. Notre Dame de Paris – Paris, France

Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame de Paris (Notre Dame Cathedral)

Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most famous and beautiful Gothic cathedrals of the world. The construction of the cathedral starts in 1163 and it was completed by around 1345.

The cathedral was damaged during French revolution of 1789 and restored after that. Notre Dame de Paris means “Our Lady of Paris” in French and is located on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris.

3. Stephansdom (St Stephen’s Cathedral) – Vienna, Austria

St. Stephen's Cathedral
Stephansdom (St. Stephen's Cathedral)

Stephansdom is one of the most charming Gothic Cathedrals in the world. Not as big as the other items of the list, Stephansdom is characterized by its exterior details, including its diamond shaped colorful roof, which was added in 1952 when the original roof was demolished in World War II, and beautifully crafted gargoyle sculptures and other exterior details.

The Stephansdom cathedral dates back to 14th century. Today the cathedral is one of the most recognizable symbols of Vienna, and is located in the heart of the city, on the central square that is named after it: The Stephansplatz.

4. Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) – Köln, Germany

Cologne Cathedral
Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral)

By no doubt, the greatest Gothic cathedral in the world, in terms of height. The height of its towers is 157 meters (515 ft). The Cologne Cathedral was the tallest building of the world, until year 1884. Today it’s still the 2nd tallest church of the world, loosing the first place by only 0.5 meters to Basilica of Our Lady of Peace of Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast, which was built in 1980s.

Cologne Cathedral dates back to 13th century and its completion date was 1880. Similar to Duomo di Milano, construction of the cathedral seems to last over 500 years, but with an halt between 1473 and 19th centuries. Today the cathedral is one of the most famous landmarks of Germany and the most popular attraction of the country, being visited by 20.000 people everyday.

5. Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (Jeronimos Monastery) – Lisbon, Portugal

Jeronimos Monastery
Jeronimos Monastery

The Jeronimos or Hieronymites Monastery is located on the parish of Belem, Lisbon, Portugal, close to the shore line and dates back to 15th century. The monastery and its church is characterized by a Manueline style architecture which might be described as late Gothic.

Like all the other items of this list, the Jeronimos Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The church and the monastery, like the nearby Torre de Belém (Belem Tower) is a symbol for the Portuguese Age of Discovery and is among the main tourist attractions of Lisbon. The tomb of famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama is also located in the monastery.

Gokhan Toka
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