Round church

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Østerlars Round Church, Bornholm, Denmark

A round church is a church with a completely circular plan, thus a rotunda in architectural terms.

There are many Nordic round churches in Sweden and Denmark (notably the island of Bornholm); round churches were popular in Scandinavia in the 11th and early 12th centuries.

Round churches should not be confused with the older types of round-tower church constructions. Churches with many-sided polygonal shapes (such as the 16-sided example in Richmond, Vermont, USA) are likewise colloquially referred to as 'round'.

Round churches by country[edit]


Zvartnots Cathedral in Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin),[1] often cited as the world's largest round church during its existence in the Middle Ages[2][3][4]


Church of the Holy Transfiguration in Sarajevo.


Cathedral of Brasília


Round Church, Preslav



Church of Saint Vitus in Rijeka.




Medieval churches of Saint-Bonnet-la-Rivière and Neuvy-Saint-Sépulchre, Baroque churches as Chapelle de l'Oratoire, Avignon and Vieille Charité church, Marseille.


Aachen Cathedral. Liebfrauenkirche in Trier. St. Ludwig in Darmstadt, Hessen. There is also a round church in Untersuhl, Thuringia.




The Netherlands[edit]




Monastery of Serra do Pilar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.



Church of San Marcos in Salamanca


United Kingdom[edit]

In England, there are four medieval round churches still in use: Holy Sepulchre, Cambridge; Temple Church, London; St John the Baptist Church, Little Maplestead, Essex, and The Holy Sepulchre, Northampton. St Chad's Church, Shrewsbury, is a Georgian round church, and the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral was built in the 20th century. The 18th-century All Saints' Church, Newcastle upon Tyne, is now part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales.

In Scotland, the medieval Orphir Round Church near Houton on Mainland, Orkney, is in ruins. Kilarrow Parish Church at the top of main street in Bowmore is a round church, built in 1767, on the island of Islay, on Scotland's west coast.


See also[edit]


  • Ann Vibeke Knudsen, The Old Churches of Bornholm. Bornholm Museum, Rønne, 1999. ISBN 87-88179-43-5.
  1. ^ Adalian, Rouben Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0-8108-7450-3. ...the singular jewel of Armenian architecture, the seventh-century round cathedral of Zvartnots...
  2. ^ Baliozian, Ara (1980). The Armenians: Their History & Culture. Ararat Press. p. 148. ...the famous 7th-century Zvartnots cathedral (the largest round church in the world)...
  3. ^ Chahin, M. (2001). The Kingdom of Armenia: A History. Curzon. p. 275. It is the largest round church in the world.
  4. ^ Fodor's Soviet Union, 1985. Fodor's Travel Publications. 1984. p. 379. ISBN 9780679011545. ...the ruined seventh - century Cathedral at Zvartnots . Zvartnots , in its day the largest round church in the world ...
  5. ^ "Churches of Ethiopia".
  6. ^ "The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church". 21 November 2017.

External links[edit]