- 15 British cathedrals selected for first-ever study of European cathedrals
- France dominates with 1 in 4 of the top 100
- Cathedrals range from Kirkwall in Orkney to Valetta and Moscow
- Book celebrates revival of interest in cathedrals as congregations rise
Simon Jenkins, best-selling chronicler of architectural history, today releases his list of the top 100 European cathedrals. His new book, Europe’s Best 100 Cathedrals is published by Viking on 4 November.
15 British cathedrals make the list, ranging from Kirkwall in Orkney to St David’s, Wales. Overall, France dominates, with 25 cathedrals, but Jenkins’ selection ranges from Valetta to Moscow, from Trondheim to Leon.
In an exploration of European history, Europe’s Best 100 Cathedrals tells the stories behind these magnificent buildings showing the cathedral’s central role in the European imagination.
In choosing the top 100, Jenkins pays tribute to the buildings that he sees as manifestations of Europe’s collective past. He writes, ‘they represent its most embedded institution, Christianity, in all its finery… Even today no other buildings on earth can compare with these structures. They are history and geography, art and science, mind and body in one…’
Jenkins also writes at a time when cathedrals are becoming increasingly popular, crowded with both tourists and worshippers. In Britain, although parochial congregations fell by a third between 2000-2010 cathedral worship rose by a third in that same decade
In selecting the cathedrals he believes everyone should see before they die, Jenkins has created the ultimate bucket list.
The Top 25:
AMIENS – BOURGES – BURGOS – CANTERBURY – CHARTRES – COLOGNE – CÓRDOBA – DRESDEN – DURHAM – ELY – LINCOLN – MONREALE – ORVIETO – PARIS NOTRE-DAME – PISA – REVENNA SAN VITALE – SALAMANCA – SEVILLE – SIENA – STRASBOURG – TOLEDO – VENICE ST MARK’S – VIENNA – WELLS -WINCHESTER
ALBI, AMIENS, ARLES, AUCH, AUTUN, BEAUVAIS, BOURGES, CARCASSONNE, CHARTRES, COUTANCES, LAON, LE MANS, METZ, NARBONNE, PARIS NOTRE-DAME, PARIS SAINT-DENIS, REIMS, ROUEN, SAINT-BERTRAND-DE – COMMINGES, SOISSONS, STRASBOURG, TOULOUSE SAINT- SERNIN, TOURS,TROYES,VÉZELAY
Germany, Austria, and Switzerland:
AACHEN, BAMBERG, COLOGNE, DRESDEN FRAUENKIRCHE, ERFURT, FREIBURG IM BREISGAU, MAGDEBURG, MAINZ, NAUMBURG, PASSAU, REGENSBURG, SPEYER, TRIER, ULM MINSTER, WORMS, VIENNA, BASEL MINSTER
CANTERBURY, DURHAM, ELY, EXETER, GLOUCESTER, KIRKWALL, LINCOLN, LONDON, ST PAUL’S, LONDON WESTMINSTER ABBEY, NORWICH, ST DAVID’S, SALISBURY, WELLS, WINCHESTER, YORK MINSTER
Italy and Malta:
ASSISI BASILICA DI SAN FRANCESCO, BOLOGNA, SAN STEFANO, FLORENCE DUOMO, FLORENCE SAN LORENZO, LUCCA, MILAN, MODENA, MONREALE, SICILY, ORVIETO, PISA, RAVENNA SAN VITALE, ROME ST JOHN LATERAN ROME, ST PETER’S, SIENA, SYRACUSE SICILY, TRANI, VENICE ST MARK’S, VENICE TORCELLO, VALLETTA, ST JOHN
Russia and Eastern Europe:
ISTANBUL HAGIA SOPHIA, KRAKÓW WAWEL, MOSCOW ST BASIL’S, MOSCOW DORMITION, PRAGUE ST VITUS, WROCŁAW
Scandinavia and the Low Countries:
ANTWERP, ROSKILDE, ’S-HERTOGENBOSCH, STOCKHOLM, TRONDHEIM
Spain and Portugal:
BARCELONA SAGRADA FAMÍLIA, BURGOS, CÓRDOBA, GERONA, LEÓN, PALMA MAJORCA, SALAMANCA, SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, SEGOVIA, SEVILLE, TOLEDO, ZARAGOZA LA SEO, COIMBRA
Notes for Editors
Europe’s Best 100 Cathedrals by Simon Jenkins is published by Viking on 4 November price £30 hardback.
About Simon Jenkins
Simon Jenkins is author of the bestselling A Short History of England, A Short History of Europe, A Short History of London, England’s Thousand Best Churches and England’s Thousand Best Houses. He is a former Chairman of the National Trust, Editor of the Evening Standard and The Times, and columnist for the Guardian.
Advance praise for Europe’s 100 Best Cathedrals:
‘The essential and most inspiring guide to the greatest glories of European culture’ Dan Cruickshank
‘A feast for both eyes and mind’ John Barton, author of A History of the Bible
‘Combines formidably wide knowledge with infectious enthusiasm for these medieval marvels. A joy’ Ken Follett, author of The Pillars of the Earth
‘Another masterly achievement by Simon Jenkins combining his inclusive vision and sharp focus, together with superb photographs, and all enlivened by his deeply felt personal perspective’ Richard Harries, author of Seeing God in Art
‘An engaging mixture of personal recollection and grand narrative’ Edward Hollis, author of The Secret Lives of Buildings
‘Well informed, elegantly opinionated and passionate’ Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Christianity
‘Jenkins not only nails the must-see elements of these great religious treasure houses, he paints a historical and political backdrop against which they stand highlighted at the heart of our common cultural heritage’ Christopher Somerville, author of Britain’s Best Walks