The oldest cathedrals in the world

12 June 2019
One of the most visited local landmarks, Etchmiadzin Cathedral is not just a religious site, but also a place of cultural and political significance.

Entering an ancient building that has been standing for hundreds of years often makes us wonder how constructing something this solid and lasting was possible such a long time ago, when people didn’t have all the modern technologies we can use today. Marvelous architecture and interior design attract many tourists, especially if they belong to the world’s oldest cathedrals. Today we’ll talk about the three of them.

 

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey (1487 years old)

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

This Christian cathedral was built between 532 and 537 AD by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, and has been renovated and modified a lot of times. Initially serving as a Christian church, Hagia Sophia later was a Greek Orthodox cathedral, then became a Roman Catholic cathedral, and finally turned into an Ottoman mosque. Since 1935 it has been operating as a museum.

 

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Palestine (1694 years old)

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem

The basilica located in Bethlehem has a grotto with a high religious significance to the Christian world. It is believed that this is the place where Jesus Christ was born. Destroyed by fire in the 6th century it was rebuilt in the middle of the same century by above-named Justinian I. Its surrounding has been expending with time, and now occupies about 12 square kilometers containing Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Catholic monasteries. Church of the Nativity is a popular pilgrimage destination.

 

Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Vagharshapat, Armenia (1718 years old)

Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Vagharshapat

Considered the oldest cathedral in the world, this first ancient Armenian cathedral and the matrice (or the headquarters) of the Armenian Apostolic Church was founded by a religious leader Saint Gregory. According to a belief, Jesus helped the saint define the cathedral’s location by appearing in a vision. One of the most visited local landmarks, Etchmiadzin Cathedral is not just a religious site, but also a place of cultural and political significance. Still being a functional church, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the beginning of the present century.

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