Places of Worship

Churches, Mosques, Temples, Synagogues, Cathedrals, and similar structures used primarily for worship (this category is about the buildings, not the religions)

"Wonderful" medieval walls found near Llanrwst, Wales

Drainage work at a hotel near Llanrwst, Wales has unearthed three 13th century walls believed to have belonged to the cloister of a Cistercian abbey.

New Welsh Pilgrim's Way inaugurated by 127 mile walk

The new Pilgrim's Way walking path in Wales was christened recently when 80 walkers began the 127-mile (204km), 12-day trek from Basingwerk Abbey in Holywell, Flintshire to Bardsey Island in Gwynedd. (slideshow)

Bridge to Jewish past found in Vilnius, Lithuania

Excavations of the 16th century Great Synagogue in Vilnius, Lithuania, have uncovered the site of the Aron Kodesh, or Holy Ark, along with "part of the original floor, and the top of one of the four pillars surrounding the bima."

14th century Byzantine church found in Sozopol, Bulgaria.

In the 15th century, the Ottoman Turks brought an end to the Byzantine Empire. Among the last to fall were the small towns on the Black Sea, one of which, Sozopol, is the site of the recent discovery of a late Byzantine church.

The riches of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple

In a moment straight out of an Indiana Jones film, a panel of officials opened the sealed vaults to the 16th century Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in the southern Indian state of Kerala finding treasure worth billions of rupees.

Armor reconstruction based on 12th century cathedral

The beautiful Cathedral of Monreale in Sicily was the inspiration for a reconstructed set of 12th century armor and military equipment by Patryk Nieczarowski. The armor is that of a Siculo-Norman miles. (photos).

Badge of St. Ursula found in England

A metal dectorist in Lancashire, England has unearthed a 500-year old pilgrim badge of St. Ursula. The badge came from her shrine in Cologne, Germany and is unique in Britain.

Welsh stained glass catalogue goes digital

Over 5,000 stained glass windows from Welsh churches are now online. Images, descriptions, and other information are available for windows dating from the 14th century to the present day.

Rare unicorn idol found in India

A rare unicorn idol from the 12th or 13th century was found in Udupi, India. While the animal appears horse-like overall, it is actually a chimera of several different types of animals. The idol may be associated with Naga Bermar, a local fertility god.

The many centuries of Glastonbury Abbey

A new study of pottery fragments excavated during the 1950s and 1960s at Glastonbury Abbey shows that many historical periods were represented and that the abbey dates to a later period than previously believed.

The leaning tower of... Suurhusen?

Pisa, it seems, has a rival for world's "farthest leaning tower." A church in the small northern German town of Suurhusen, among others in Germany and Switzerland, now claims to have the most crooked building with an angle of 5.19 degrees. (photo)

360 degrees of Westminster Abbey

Delighted by the royal wedding and dazzled by the venue? If so, you may want to visit the BBC's 360 degree virtual tour of Westminster Abbey.

The royal weddings of Westminster Abbey

Despite popular belief, Westminster Abbey has not been a popular site for British royal weddings. Only fifteen have taken place there since the 12th century.

All Saints Church might be site of Anglo-Saxon coronations

A team of researchers from London's Kingston University may have located the site of as many as seven 10th century Anglo-Saxon kings including Athelstan and Ethelred the Unready. All Saints Church is located near Westminister Abbey.

The magnificent Aya Sofya

Undoubtedly, one of the greatest places of worship in history is the Aya Sofya, also known as Hagia Sophia or “Church of the Holy Wisdom.” Located in İstanbul, the church is visited by over two million tourists a year. Terry Richardson of Today's Zaman offers a history. (photo)

Norway's Borgund stave church one of the "10 most beautiful"

Egan reports that the Budget Travel Magazine is featuring an article on the "10 most beautiful churches." Among them is the 12th century Borgund stave church in Borgund Norway, a well-preserved example of "the integration of Christianity with Norse culture."

Tomb of St Francis of Assisi re-opens

A special Franciscan mass will celebrate the re-opening of the restored tomb of St Francis of Assisi in Umbria, Italy. The saint died in 1226. (photo)

Bath: "a knockout site"

On a recent tour of English Heritage sites, Charlotte Higgins of the Guardian visited the newly revamped Roman Baths Museum in Bath, England. She blogged her impressions.

Huffington Post's overlooked wonders

Tired of the same, old tourist attractions? Huffington Post has some ideas for the Most Overlooked Historic Sites In The World in slideshow format.

"Small things surpass large" in Ravenna mosaics

"The marble flourishes with bright rays and all the stones in starry purple shine richly. Small things confined in space are made so beautiful that they surpass the large. To Christ, whose temples exist in the human heart, nothing is small and he dwells happily confined by these walls." Latin inscription at chapel entrance. (photo)

11th century English church damaged during theft

Police in Idsworth, England, are looking for thieves who stole the collection box from the 11th century St Hubert’s Church. In addition to the theft, the burglars caused damage to the historic church.

Norman church beneath Bath Abbey

The beautiful Bath Abbey was not the original church on the site, according to archaeologists who recently discovered the remains of a Norman cathedral. Also found at the site was evidence of the home of a medieval abbot.

Early Byzantine church discovered in Israel

Israeli archaeologists are excited over the discovery of a 6th century Byzantine church in the desert southwest of Jerusalem. The small basilica features "exquisitely decorated" mosaic floors.

"Enigma" discovered in Renaissance church

For centuries, church historians have been puzzled by the symbols carved into diamond-shaped stones in the fascade of Naples' renaissance Gesù Nuovo church, but new eivdence shows that the engravings are a musical score. (audio)

Restorations due at Westminster Abbey before royal wedding

The announcement that the upcoming wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton comes as mana from heaven for officials responsible for the upkeep of Westminter Abbey, the site of the spring nuptials.

Medieval religious building reflects modern conflict

In the 8th century, the caliphs of Cordoba, Spain constructed the magnificent great mosque. After their conquest, 13th century Christians rechristened the building a cathedral. Now the two cultures have begun to clash again over tourist signs.

Medieval stained glass: the light of God

Writer and science teacher Andy Connelly finds inspiration in the stained glass of medieval cathedral. He discusses the science of stained glass in an article for The Guardian.

Want to see medieval relics? Try Niagara Falls.

Known for weddings and a monumental waterfall, Niagara, New York also boasts one of the largest collections of Catholic relics in the United States.

Norfolk frescoes chronicle medieval past

The discovery of medieval frescoes during repairs to a crumbling English country church has given experts a glimpse in the village's medieval past. The wall paintings at St Mary's at Houghton-on-the-Hill date to around the 12th century.

Blitz reveals history of London's Charterhouse

A combination of Word War II blitz raids and centuries of urban renewal have wrought havoc on the 14th century medieval structures contained in London's Charterhouse. Some of the remaining medieval construction is detailed in a new book The Charterhouse (Yale, UK£80).