The world is home to a number of churches that soothes our souls with the sublime atmosphere and stuns us with mesmerizing architecture. Be it the Cathedral of Seville in Spain, St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City or Milan Cathedral in Italy- all these majestic churches are treat to the eyes and are familiar names in the world.
But this story is dedicated to five other churches that are different from the rest as they are located underground! Yes, though sounds a bit crazy and freaky, it is true! These religious centers are equally significant when it comes to the spiritual aspect of Christianity.
Bizarre, as it might look from an apparent view to construct a church by digging out tones of soil from the earth; you can not under notice the highly creative vision of those who toiled hard to bring them to existence.
Lets go deep now to find some peace:
Blessed Kinga Chapel, Poland: This church is located in the Bochnia salt mine in Poland that happens to be the oldest of its kind. Blessed Kinga Chapel is situated at Wazyn Chamber in the mine and is a construction totally done with salt. Established in 1747, this church consists pulpit sculpted in salt, different salt figures and even some salt altars. It is amazing to think of a church made in the heart of a salt mine that was active for more than 750 years. However, the mine is now basically used as a tourist spot as salt extraction has been lessened.
St. Kinga’s Chapel, Poland: If the former is not enough, take the St. Kinga’s Chapel in Wieliczka salt mine of Poland. We can't help wondering on the fact that it is located 101 meter underground and was created from a block of salt back in 1896! The interior of the Chapel is decorated with various structures carved in salt which took more than a 100 years for formation. This is evident from the chandeliers that grace the church and are made from salt blocks.
Catacomb Underground Church, Australia: This church built in the shape of a cross on a massive rock is found in the Australian outback Coober Pedy. It derived its name from the Roman Catacombs that were used to bury the dead and meet in times of persecution. Coober Pedy, otherwise known as the Underground Town houses five deep earth churches.
Zipaquira, Colombia: Essentially another salt mine church, the cathedral of Zipaquira is a major pilgrimage for Christians as it records some odd 3000 attendees on every Sunday. Placed 200 meters below the earth surface, this church has gone beyond the spiritual sphere and is a main tourist attraction now a days. Cathedral of Zipaquira that houses a giant cross and three naves, saw a make over due to security reasons and was opened for public back in 1995.
Church of Saint Jean, France: Talking of unique creations and France missing out! Thats rare. Here come a French wonder- the Church of Saint Jean. This gem of a church is located in Aubeterre village in Southern France. The structure of the church is in the monolithic type of architecture with a length of 88 feet, width of 52 feet and it touches 20 meter mark in altitude. The fairy tale like village of Aubeterre is a perfect setting for this charming creation.
Be on the ground, elevated or underground, the eternal capacity of a church to bring solace and peace to our distraught minds is a unanimous truth. But what makes these churches under title different from others is the paradoxical concept of going deep down earth for sublimity rather than taking a flight towards heaven.