8 Bizarre and Unique Architectural Designs of Houses of Worship

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Unusual churches, mosques and temples from around the world.

1. Temple of Guanyin


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This house of worship is rather bizarre. It is a temple located in Nagasaki. It’s a turtle carrying the goddess Guanyin (Kannon) on its back. Guanyin is the bodhisattva of compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. She is also known as the Chinese Bodhisattva of Compassion.

2. Maori Meeting House


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The apex of a Maori meeting house façade, from New Zealand. Its distinctive features include the characteristic Maori head, with its shell-in-laid eyes, wide figure-eight mouth and protruding tongue.

3. Korambo


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Korambo or Ceremonial houses and Amei or Ceremonial grounds are the focus of most rituals connected with the life-cycle events for Abelam men and women in New Guinea. It’s a part of a girl’s first-menstruation ritual as well as the presentation of shell rings as marriage payments take place in front of the korambo. During the death ritual, the corpse is left there for one night.

4. Matrimandir


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The Matrimandir is a bizarre temple located in a unique country. The Matrimandir (Sanskrit for Temple of The Mother) is an edifice of spiritual significance for practitioners of Integral yoga, situated at the center of Auroville initiated by The Mother of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. It is called soul of the city and is situated in a large open space called Peace. Matrimandir does not belong to any particular religion or sect.

5. The LOTUS


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LOTUS is an Acronym that stands for- Light Of Truth Universal Shrine. LOTUS is a unique temple dedicated to interfaith understanding and the Light within all faiths. Individual altars represent and honor the different world religions. The vision, design and inspiration of Sri Swami Satchidananda, the LOTUS was dedicated in 1986. In the peaceful countryside of Virginia, the doors of the LOTUS are open to welcome people of all faiths.

6. Wat Rong Khun/White Temple


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This unique contemporary unconventional Buddhist temple called Wat Rong Khun is located in Thailand. Its construction started in 1998 and is expected to end this year. Wat Rong Khun is a unique temple which filled with delicate details and predominantly in white.

7. Great Mosque of Djenne


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One of the most unusual houses of worship of Muslims is the Great Mosque of Djenne. This is a well-known Mosque that is located in Mali. It was made with mud brick and is the largest mud brick or adobe structure in the world. In 1998, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Kaupanger Stave Church


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Kaupanger stave church is one of the largest stave churches in the world. It is situated in the town of Kaupanger, Norway. The nave is supported by 22 staves, 8 on each of the longer sides and 3 on each of the shorter. The elevated chancel is carried by 4 free standing staves. The church has the largest number of staves to be found in any one stave church. It is still in use as a parish church, having been in use continuously since its erection in the 12th century.

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For related topics see

20 Amazingly Unique Architectural Designs of Houses From Around the World

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10 Unique Houses From Around the World


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