A drone’s-eye view of 7 glorious Catholic churches

Beautiful church New technologies can both enable and enhance the contemplation of beauty in church architecture. | Credit: Shutterstock

There are many beautiful churches in the world that combine impressive construction with splendid works of art. While some are on the more austere side, others contain so many details that it’s a challenge for the human eye to take it all in.

However, new technologies today allow us to contemplate from different angles, inside and outside, these stellar churches dedicated to the worship of God. 

Below are seven videos that in addition to giving you extraordinary views will enhance the way you see these churches.

1. Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (France)

According to the Lourdes Shrine website, the complex covers over 130 acres and includes 22 places of worship, including three basilicas. The first is a chapel that has the title of Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, built over the grotto where Our Lady of Lourdes appeared in 1858.

The second is the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary, where you can see mosaics depicting the mysteries of the rosary. Finally, there is the underground basilica in honor of St. Pius X, which was inaugurated in 1958 on the occasion of the centennial of the apparitions.

2. Basilica of the Holy Family (Spain)

Located in Barcelona, Spain, construction began in 1882 and was designed by architect Antonio Gaudí. Still not totally completed, construction continues to this day, financed by donations only. The Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) basilica website announced on its construction timeline that in November 2023 “the group of four towers of the evangelists was inaugurated.”

In 2026, the central tower of Jesus is scheduled to be completed. The interior beauty and attention to detail of the artistic representations of the exterior of the basilica were designed to lift up the spirits of visitors.

3. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico)

This church is dedicated to the Mother of God and is located on Tepeyac Hill in Mexico City, where the Virgin appeared to St. Juan Diego in 1531. 

The current structure, completed in 1976, has a circular design so that the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe can be seen from any point in the church. Each year, tens of millions of people visit the site. Pilgrimages spike around the annual feast day on Dec. 12.

4. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

In Spain and throughout Europe, the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) pilgrimage route is well known. It ends at the cathedral of the same name. The cathedral’s website chronicles that it was built over the tomb of St. James the Apostle.

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Since the ninth century when construction began, the church has undergone various changes, remodeling, and restorations. Visitors marvel at its striking baroque façade and its impressive details. The cathedral has been visited by both St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.

5. Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Cecilia (Argentina)

The cathedral and basilica located in the Diocese of Mar del Plata in Argentina was declared a National Historical Heritage Site in 1995. The church has neo-Gothic architecture and its interior has great artistic and religious value.

Construction began in February 1893 and the church was dedicated Feb. 12, 1905. The colossal church can seat 7,000 people. In January 2022, a 360-degree virtual tour of the structure’s three levels was released.

6. Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (France)

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Located in Lyon, France, the church was built between 1872 and 1917 on a hill and can be seen from any point in the city. It has four main towers and a bell tower crowned with a golden statue of the Virgin Mary.

The basilica is situated in the oldest section of Lyon, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this video, you can see the statue of the Mother of God from above, protecting her children as dusk falls.

7. Cologne Cathedral (Germany)

The cathedral, located in Cologne, Germany, is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Gothic art in medieval Europe. It was built over a fourth-century Roman temple. Construction began in 1248 and took more than 600 years to complete.

In 1996 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among its historic vaults it houses precious reliquaries, liturgical items, manuscripts, robes, and insignia of archbishops and cathedral clerics that have been used over the centuries.

Bonus track (Brazil)

The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, is one of the best-known images of our risen Lord in the entire world. A chapel is located within the statue’s massive pedestal.

Located at the top of Corcovado Hill and considered one of the seven wonders of the modern world, this statue symbolizes that Christ reigns and will always reign.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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