Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Over 41 million tiles in over 7,000 different colors gleam throughout the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis—one of the world’s largest mosaic collections. Built between 1907 and 1914, the Romanesque and Byzantine basilica hosts live performances ranging from Senegalese gospel choirs to the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra.
Today, the United States is home to a Christian population that’s not only the world’s largest but among its most diverse, with dozens of ethnic groups, hundreds of denominations, and more than 300,000 churches. This diversity results in stunning mosaic of spaces—from treehouse temples in the Ozarks to the smooth wooden pews of Philadelphia’s Mother Bethel to the buttresses and gargoyles of Washington’s National Cathedral.
Though relatively young compared with Europe’s millennium-old cathedrals and Ethiopia’s ancient rock-hewn chapels, American churches take the stage as the world’s biggest, brightest, and most resounding. Like their international counterparts, they’re well worth the trip. Not only do these sacred spaces provide common ground for local congregations and communities, they also serve as sanctuaries for travelers—inspiring places where we can take some time to marvel and reflect.
- Nat Geo Expeditions