World Largest Temples

what is the biggest temple in the world?

To answer this question we first have to establish what a temple is. Although roughly defined as a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities not all religions use the word temple. In the Western Christian tradition temple is rarely used for example so these churches and cathedrals will be excluded. In contrast, in the Eastern Christian tradition the word temple is used very frequently.

Baalbek, also called Heliopolis, is a spectacular archaeological site in northeastern Lebanon. From the 1st century BC and over a period of two centuries, the Romans built three temples here: Jupiter, Bacchus and Venus. Created to be the largest temple in the Roman empire, the temple of Jupiter was lined by 54 massive granite columns. Only 6 of these titanic columns remain standing but even they are incredibly impressive. The best preserved temple at the site is the Temple of Bacchus built in 150 AD. The temple is 69 meters long and 36 meters wide. Its walls are adorned by 42 Corinthian columns, 19 of which remain upright in position standing 19 meters (62 feet) high.

One of the most imposing and controversial buildings in Moscow, the resurrected Temple of Christ the Saviour has had a short but turbulent history. It was originally commissioned after the defeat of Napoleon, but construction did not begin until 1839. In 1931 it was blown to pieces by orders of Stalin to make way for a proposed Palace of the Soviets, which was never built. In 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church received permission to rebuilt the cathedral. Completed in 2000, the new cathedral is loosely based on the original design, but constructed with modern building materials. At a height of 105 meters (344 feet) it is the tallest Orthodox church in the world.

The Temple of Saint Sava in Belgrade is the largest Orthodox church building in the world. It is dedicated to the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church. The construction of the church began in 1985 and was mostly completed by 2004. The internal decorations are still not finished. In English, it is usually called a cathedral because of its size and importance but it is not the seat of a bishop and therefore technically not a cathedral. In Serbian it is called a hram (temple). The church is 91 meters (299 feet) long from and 81 meters (266 feet) wide. It is 70 meters (230 feet) tall, with the main gold-plated cross on top of the dome extends the church for 12 more meters (39 feet). It has a surface area of 3,500 m2 on the ground floor.

Tikal was the largest Mayan city between ca. 200 to 900 AD with an estimated population between 100,000 and 200,000 inhabitants. Tikal contains 6 very large step pyramids. The largest, Temple-pyramid IV, is some 72 meters (230 feet) high and was finished around 720 AD. Temple IV is the largest temple built anywhere in the Maya region, and as it currently stands is the tallest pre-Columbian structure in the Americas although the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan may originally have been taller, as may have been one of the jungle covered pyramids at El Mirador.

Located in the city of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, the Jetavanaramaya is the largest stupa in the world if measured by volume. The temple was built by king Mahasena in the 3rd century AD and took 15 years to complete. Approximately 93.3 million baked bricks were used in the construction. With a height of 122 meters (400 feet), Jetavanaramaya was the third tallest structure in the world behind the pyramids of Giza at the time of its completion. The diameter of the dome itself is approximately 95 meters (312 feet).

Sri Ranganathaswamy
Dedicated to Lord Ranganatha (a reclining form of Lord Vishnu), the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam is an important shrine that receives millions of visitors and pilgrims every year. With an area of 156 acres (6,31,000 m²), the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is one of the largest temples in the world. In fact, the temple can be easily termed as the largest functioning Hindu temple complex in the world. The oldest structure of the temple dates back to the 10th century. There are 21 gopurams (tower), among which the Rajagopuram is the biggest temple in South India. It is 73 meters (240 feet) in height, and dates from the 17th century, although it was only completed in 1987.


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