Whether it's a stunning grand cathedral or a quaint little chapel, the most beautiful churches in the world are as diverse as the religions that are practiced within. No matter what your religious affiliation, everyone can find enlightenment in the beauty of towering domes, mosaic artworks, and impressive sculptures. Throughout the world, faith inspires beauty, and I am sure you will agree, these extraordinary churches and cathedrals prove the case. (Don't forget to stop and take in ALL the DETAIL)
The neo-Gothic Las Laras Sanctuary sits perched on a bridge spanning a deep river gorge in southern Colombia -- one of South America's most dramatic churches.
Inspired by Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal elevates the Gothic-revival architectural style to a stunning height.
Located in Moscow's Red Square, the brightly colored spires and onion domes of St. Basil's have become one of the city's -- and Russia's -- most iconic sights.
Fashioned after the Borgund Stave Church, the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Washington Island, Wis., looks especially beautiful during the fall season.
It took over five centuries to complete the magnificent Gothic cathedral known as the Duomo in Milan. It's the fourth largest church in the world and has 135 marble spires and well over 3,000 statues lining the exterior.
The Greek island of Santorini is dotted with white-washed, blue-domed churches, and they're all beautiful. Take your pick!
St. Vinzenz Church in Heiligenblut sits at the foot of Austria's tallest peak, and while the church itself is pretty, it's the surrounding peaks and valleys of the Alps that really make this eye candy.
Lovers of stained glass will have to pick their jaws up off the floor upon ascending the stairs into the main chamber of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris. Besides being home to the oldest stained glass window in the city, the flamboyant Gothic gem has 6,458 square feet of stained glass.
It's only fitting that the Vatican -- abode of the Pope -- would have a basilica that outshines pretty much any other structure in Rome: Saint Peter's Basilica.
Built atop the tomb of Saint Peter, the basilica is the largest church in the world and a true stunner inside and out.
The golden domes of St. Michaels Cathedral sparkle in the skyline of Kiev, Ukraine. The church, built in the Ukrainian baroque style, is famous for its interior mosaics and frescoes.
Overlooking Jackson Square in the French Quarter, the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France has come to represent the city of New Orleans. It's also the oldest continuously operating Catholic church in the United States.
Perched on an island in the middle of Bled Lake in Slovenia, the Church of Assumption is only reachable by handmade wooden row boats.
The church's interior is no less colorful, and many visitors come primarily to see the 80,000-some square feet of mosaics.
Chapel on the Rock near Estes Park, Colo., has an understated beauty that's as much about its harmony with the natural surroundings as the building itself.
Of Norway's 28 remaining stave churches, Heddal Stave Church is the largest and dates back to the early 13th century.
The riverside Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Dinant, Belgium, was destroyed in both World War I and II, but the rebuilt version with its bulbous spire is postcard perfect.
The spiral tower Chapel of Thanksgiving in Dallas isn't all that striking from the outside, but walk in, and you'll see the spiral Glory Window, one of the largest horizontally-installed works of stained glass in the world.
Our Lady of Covadonga Cathedral in northwest Spain is notable for its slight pink coloration from the pink marble excavated from the surrounding mountains.
One of Britain's finest medieval churches, Salisbury Cathedral is home to Britain's tallest spire and to the original copy of the Magna Carta.
Most people visit Yosemite National Park for the majestic scenery, and some go to church while they're there. The Yosemite Valley Chapel is the oldest public use structure in the park and has been holding services since 1879.
Likely the most photographed church in Vermont, the Stowe Community Church with its towering white spire has served as a multi-denominational church since it was built in 1818.
If there's one church in Paris as iconic as Notre Dame, it's the hilltop Sacre-Coeur Basilica on the summit of Montmartre. The Romano-Byzantine structure was built from travertine stone that exudes calcite when it rains, keeping the church pearly white.
The 338-foot-tall Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow is the tallest Russian Orthodox church in the world and the object of great controversy. Originally built in 1839, the structure was blown up by the Soviets in 1931 to make way for a palace that would never be built. The building was resurrected at a cost of $360 million in 2000.
The Basilica of the National Vow in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, can be seen from nearly anywhere in the city, and the views from the twin clock towers of the largest neo-Gothic basilica in the Americas are breathtaking. If you look closely, some of the gargoyles are shaped like Galápagos animals.
Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe near Puy-en-Velay, France, looks like it's grown directly from the spire of volcanic rock on which it sits. To reach the church, you must climb up 268 steps carved into the rock.
courtesy of USA Today