10 Of the Most Beautiful and Breathtaking Monasteries in the World

There are hundreds of monasteries around the world, each belonging to various religious denominations. However some stand out in terms of breathtaking architecture, design and beauty. Location too plays a major role in inducing a tranquil atmosphere surrounding the structure. Taking in account such factors, here are the most beautiful monasteries in the world.

The most beautiful and impressive!

10. The Monastery of Gregoriou

Gregoriou Monastery is a orthodox Christian monastery located in the monastic state of Mt Athos in Greece Named after its founder St Gregory the Younger, this 14th century monastery features seventeenth in Athonite Hierarchy. Its stunning location on the northern peninsula of Athos enhances its beauty with a backdrop of craggy rocks rising behind it.

The Monastery of Gregoriou

9. Meteora, Thessaly Greece

In Greek, it means ‘Middle of the sky’ or ‘suspended in air’. The monastery is surrounded by huge boulders and monolithic pillars giving it an inaccessible and mysterious atmosphere. Its name has been derived because of its location atop slim conglomerate pillars making it appear to be suspended in the sky. Located in the plains of Thessaly, Greece, it was assumed to be a 14th century structure belonging to the eastern orthodox church of Greece and is second in importance to Mt Athos. It has also been declared a UNESCO world heritage site.

Meteora Thessaly Greece

8. Trinity Monastery, Chernihiv, Ukraine

This is one of the most spectacular monasteries located in Ukraine. The 11 Th century structure was almost destroyed in the Mongol invasions but was rebuilt by Ukrainian architect Lazar Baranovych. The main attraction of the monastery is Trinity Cathedral built in 1679.

Trinity Monastery Chernihiv Ukraine

7. Alcobaca Monastery, Portugal

A Roman Catholic monastery, Alcobaca was built in 1153 by the first Portuguese King Afonso Henrique. As a stunning and primary example of early of gothic architecture, Alcobaca monastery is one of the most important medieval Christian religious sites in Portugal.

Alcobaca Monastery Portugal

6. Sümela Monastery, Turkey

Belonging to the Greek Orthodox Church, Sumela Monastery stands at the foot of a steep cliff near the Altindere valley in Turkey. It dates as far back as 386 AD and was built during the reign of emperor Theodosius I. Sumela Monastery was ruined several times but was restored each time by Roman emperors until it finally reached its present day look in the 13th century.

Smela Monastery Turkey

5. Buddhist Monastery of Kye, Lahaul and Spiti, India

This could well be the highest monastery in the world situated at 13, 668 feet above sea level. Kye Gompa as it is locally known is a Buddhist monastery belonging to the Gelugpa sect of Buddhism and lying in the Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh India. The monastery is famous for its religious and historical significance having existed from the 11th century. What makes this monastery so stunning is its immaculate and breathtaking landscape of the Spiti valley and the surrounding himalays. Geographically though, the monastery is in an earthquake zone.

Buddhist Monastery of Kye Lahaul and Spiti India

4. El Escorial, Spain

El Escorial is a monastery no doubt but it was also the historical residence of the King of Spain and located in San Lorenzo el

Escorial near Madrid. Apart from being a monastery, it also functions as the royal residence, a museum, basilica, library, university and hospital. It was built in 1584 by King Phillip II of Spain. Based upon the design of the temple of Solomon it was also adapted to suit the needs of the reigning monarch of the time.

El Escorial Spain

3. Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Russia

One of the most important Russian monasteries of the Russian Orthodox Church, Trinity Lavra of St Sergius is located in Sergiyev Posad 70 km from Moscow. The structure is characterized by typical Russian architecture with its main feature of large domed minarets. It ws built in the 16th century and took 26 years to completed. Till today it is regarded as one of the most beautiful monasteries in the world.

Trinity Lavra of St Sergius Russia

2. Madonna Del Sasso Monastery, Switzerland

Located in Locarno Switzerland, this spectacular renaissance styled monastery looks like a Disney castle. Consecrated in 1487, the location is regarded as the spot where the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bartolommeo of the San Francesco Monastery in 1480.

Madonna Del Sasso Monastery Switzerland

1. Rumtek monastery Sikkim

Rumtek monastery is one of the finest examples of Tibetan Architecture built in the early 1700 by the 12th Karmapa Changchu Dorje. The monastery also known as the Dharma Chakra centre is the main seat of the karma kagyu sect of Buddhism and served as the retreat of the 16th karmapa who fled Tibet in 1959 and had the monastery rebuilt as it was in ruins. The surrounding location is no less beautiful being the Rumtek valley in east Sikkim and dominated by the mighty towering Mt kanchendzonga, the third highest mountain in the world.

Rumtek monastery Sikkim


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