& Culture Architecture
Which Edifice Takes the Title?
Tallest? Widest? Do you want that in square feet or cubic meters?
Just the cathedral, or include the chapter house, the cloisters, or any other
part of the complex?
The dilemma comes into clearer focus if you take into account local chambers of
commerce - who are good at attracting tourists with tall tales...
size alone does not a cathedral make.
cathedral is defined as a church featuring a cathedra, or bishop's chair,
to which local parishes report in as a sort of regional headquarters.
world's largest religious structure is St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, but
it is too big - ironically - and too universal to be considered a cathedral.
leaves the Cathedral
Church of St. John the Divine. It is the focal point for the Episcopal church
in New York, and therefore a true cathedral. Measuring in at 121,000 square feet, it is the size of two American football fields and properly placed at the top of many 'World's Largest Cathedrals' lists.
there, it gets a little murkier. If you
read any of a handful of cathedral brochures throughout Europe you'll find that several cathedrals claim the title. However, not one
of them agrees with any other, and only the most impolitic of us would point out
the fact. (Well, OK, there it is).
now, the 'Top Ten ' question officially goes unanswered. That
is, until a team of engineers begins setting the ground rules to undertake an
unbiased worldwide survey. In
the meantime, an unofficial survey around the Net has provided us with the following
The Top Ten Tallest Cathedral Spires
(source: InfoPlease.com and official cathedral sites)
|Rouen (Notre Dame)
|Antwerp (Notre Dame)
|Chartres (Notre Dame)
|Amiens (Notre Dame)
Visit the New
York Carver website to take one of the virtual stonecarver's tours of Paris,
New York, London, Venice and other international destinations and to learn more
about stone, cathedrals and Gothic Architecture.
see in Travel -> European