A monastery is a building occupied by a community of monks living under religious vows. Thousands of monasteries have been built throughout centuries to fulfill the religious beliefs of the monks. Christian, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu monasteries consist of all the monasteries of the world. Few of the monasteries in the world are a world wonder for its beauty, location and architecture. There is a great variation in location and style making them unique for the list today. Nilov Monastery on Stolobny Island is the most spectacular monastery in the world. So, which are the other most spectacular monasteries in the world with breath-taking view and architecture?
Let’s check the list of 10 spectacular monasteries in the world with amazing architecture and design:
10. The Monastery of Gregoriou, Greece
The Monastery of Gregoriou is an Orthodox Christian monastery in Mount Athos in Greece. The Monastery of Gregoriou, also known as Osiou Gregoriou Monastery is named after its founder Saint (Osios) Gregory (Gregorios). By the end of the 15th century, according to the Russian pilgrim Isaiah, the monastery was Serb. The monastery beautifully built by the southeastern side of the peninsula on a corner of land jutting into the sea, with only steep craggy rocks backed up behind it makes it awesome. Gregoriou is very much a pilgrim friendly monastery with a strong pastoral sense. The choir in the monastery is very traditional Byzantine chanting and is one of the highest standards on Mt Athos.
9. Monasteries of Meteora, Greece
Meteora in Greek means “middle of the sky”, “suspended in the air” or “in the heavens above”. Huge rounded boulders like hills and immensely large monolithic pillars surround the area. The place is famous for largest complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece. The bunch of monasteries at Meteora is truly stupendous and fantastic. Some of the most famous monasteries at the location are the Monastery of Great Meteoron, the Monastery of Varlaam, the Monastery of Rousanou/St. Barbara, the Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapausas, The Monastery of St. Stephen, and the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Metéora is on the UNESCO World Heritage for its beauty, importance and cultural importance.
8. Trinity Monastery, Chernihiv, Ukraine
Trinity Monastery at Chernihiv, Ukraine is an important and historic monastery. The Mongol invasion ruined the 11th century monastery in 1239. In 1649, famed Ukrainian architect Lazar Baranovych reconstructed the monastery. Baranovych founded a printing press in the neighboring city of Novhorod-Siverskyi. Later, the printing press was moved near Trinity Monastery. The monastery’s adjacent printing press was famed for their production of engravings, and its library — for containing more than 11,000 books. The main attraction of the monastery is the Trinity Cathedral from 1679.
7. Thikse Monastery, India
Thiksay Gompa or Thiksay Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. The monastery is on top of a hill in Thiksey village, approximately 19 kilometers east of Leh in Ladakh, India. The amazing monastery is at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 ft) in the Indus Valley. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya Temple. The hill-top view of the monastery makes it one of the most wonderful monasteries in the world. Thikse Monastery has resemblance to the Ki Monastery.
6. Buddhist Monastery of Ki, India
Kye Gompa or Monastery of Ki is a Buddhist monastery in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. The monastery is beautiful for its surrounding mountains, river, and the high-altitude location. At an altitude of 4,166 meters (13,668 ft) above sea level makes the monastery one of highest in the world. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. Dromtön (Brom-ston, 1008-1064 CE), a pupil of the famous teacher, Atisha formed the monastery in the 11th century. The monastery is beautifully painted by murals and paintings from 14th century that has considerable Chinese influence. The monastery comes under attack occasionally by outsiders like Mongols during the 17th century and recently by the Chinese military. Apart from the attacks, the monastery is also geographically in an earthquake prone zone.
5. El Escorial, Spain
The Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial or simply known as El Escorial is a historical residence of the King of Spain which also functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. The royal monastery is of great historical and cultural significance to Spain. El Escorial was, at once, a monastery and a Spanish royal palace. Originally a property of the Hieronymite monks, it is now a monastery of the Order of Saint Augustine. The Royal Seat of San Lorenzo of El Escorial is a World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction in Spain. The beautiful architecture of the royal monastery draws more than 500,000 visitors every year.
4. Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, commonly known as Rila Monastery is the most famous and largest Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. The location itself will blow your mind. The monastery is at a height of 1,147 m (3,763 ft) above sea level. Rila Mountains and deep valley of the Rilska River surrounds the monastery making the monastery one of the most scenic in the world. One should not forget that the monastery is inside the Rila Monastery Nature Park. The 10th century monastery is one of Bulgaria’s most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments and is a key tourist attraction for both Bulgaria and Southern Europe. Every year, the monastery draws more than 900,000 visitors.
3. Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Russia
Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is the most important Russian monastery. The monastery is also an important spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church. Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is in the town of Sergiyev Posad, about 70 km to the north-east from Moscow. The typical Russian architecture gives the monastery its utmost beauty to the world. The monastery was built by one of the most venerated Russian saints, Sergius of Radonezh in honor of the Holy Trinity on Makovets Hill in 1337. In 16th century, it took 26 years to construct the six-pillared Assumption Cathedral as seen today. The modern Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the world. The monastery looks like a building from the “wonderland”.
2. Pechersk Lavra Monastery, Kiev, Ukraine
Pechersk Lavra Monastery or Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery is a beautiful Ukrainian monastery in Kiev district. Also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, is a historic Orthodox Christian monastery. The origin of the monastery dates back to 1051 which was then founded as cave monastery. Lavra has been a preeminent center of Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe. The monastery is a UNIESCO World Heritage Site. The monastery complex is a separate national historic-cultural preserve (sanctuary) of the nation.
1. Nilov Monastery on Stolbnyi Island, Russia
When you hear the word “island” and that the monastery is in that “island“, you would start to feel that this monastery is something amazing. You are right; the Nilov Monastery is on Stolobny Island on Lake Seliger in the Tver Oblast of Russia, which was found by Saint Nilus in 1594. The aerial view of the monastery is something mind-blowing. Today the monastery complex remains one of the most impressive ensembles of neoclassical architecture in Eastern Europe. Most of the buildings of the monastery are built-in the 18th and 19th Centuries in a neoclassical style. The monastery is one of the wealthiest and largest in the Russian empire. The rich monastery welcomes nearly 40,000 pilgrims annually.