I don’t remember much from my childhood years, but one of my most vivid memories is sitting in the balcony of my church, half-listening to the pastor’s message, and admiring the stained-glass panels. I wasn’t the most cosmopolitan kid. I thought to myself that the church was lucky to have such beautiful windows that invited only soft, morning light. In my head, that sort of magic simply didn’t exist anywhere else. Despite learning more about stained-glass windows and ceilings through travel and history, I continue to look upon this art with a deep sense of wonder. **Below you will find 22 magnificent displays of stained glass that will inspire you to look up and within.**Just outside of Bangkok, you can explore this museum-temple where you will find not only a three-headed elephant but a rare instance of stained glass in Thailand. In close vicinity, you will also find a series of lush gardens with cobblestone and waterfalls.
This Tiffany stained-glass ceiling together with a Louis XV-style chandelier and gilded open elevators helped create the elegant ambience for which the hotel is known. Originally constructed in 1899 as the Mercantile Center, this structure has gone through tremendous transformations which include a $25 million restoration plan lasting from 2003-2005.
Though construction of the chapel began in 1446, the stained glass windows were not completed until 85 years later. Henry VI, founder of the college and chapel, is depicted in work.
To fulfill his vision of a “luxury bazaar,” businessman Théophile Bader summoned a host of artists to wrap his store in sheer abundance. For the glass windows, he called on master glass artist Jacques Gruber. Today, many of Gruber’s stained-glass windows are available for viewing as part of the Ecole de Nancy Museum.
The only UNESCO World Heritage Site of its kind, Palau de la Música Catalana was designed by Domènech i Montaner as a sort of “magical music box.”
With over 2 million visitors per year, this iconic basilica is the most popular site in Barcelona. Though its architect Antoni Gaudí of Catalonia died in 1926, the church is still under construction and is due for completion in 2030.
You will find 60% of England’s medieval stained glass in situ, or in its original place, at York Minster. The Great East Window is the largest medieval stained-glass window in the world.
This spiral Glory Window was designed by French stained-glass artist Gabriel Loire and was issued as a UN stamp in the year 2000.
The cathedral’s conical design allows its four 64m stained-glass windows to converge at the pinnacle cross in a truly vivid display.
The South Rose Window, designed by Jean de Chelles and Pierre de Montreuil, has been damaged many times since its erection in 1260. Due to the amount of restorations and panel rearrangement, the original design remains unknown.
Sigmar Polke, German painter and photographer, claimed victory in a 2006 invited competition and spent three years creating the designs for Grossmünster’s twelve church windows . Seven of them are adorned with thinly sliced agate.
The Siena Cathedral is home to this choir window created in 1288 by artist Duccio. It is one of the oldest stained-glass windows in Italy.
Chartres Cathedral was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. The latter part of the 20th century was dedicated to protecting its 176 stained-glass windows, arguably the structure’s most well-know feature, from air pollution damage.
Sainte-Chapelle, which translates as Holy Chapel, was created to house Louis IX’s collection of religious relics. The chapel was completed in 1248. In May 2015, its huge stained-glass windows were restored as a result of seven years of meticulous work.
This St. Vitus window was designed by Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha (pronounced Moo-ha) of Czechoslovakia. Mucha was known for his commercial art and for featuring beautiful, young women in his work.
Leonard French, Australian artist, created one of the world’s largest suspended stained-glass ceilings at the National Gallery of Victoria. In 1986, Picasso’s “The Weeping Woman” was famously stolen from this gallery by an individual or group of individuals who went by the name “Australian Cultural Terrorists.” The painting made its way back within a few weeks.
The mosque may appear rather ordinary on the outside, but it is famously known as the Pink Mosque for its kaleidoscope-like interior. Japanese photographer Koach noted that the stained glass was “built to catch the morning sun.”
This cathedral was under construction from September 29, 1907-September 29, 1990, 83 years in total! There are 231 stained-glass windows altogether.
According to the official website, Grace Cathedral boasts 68 named windows/window groups that cover around 7,290 square feet! The cathedral has played host to many prominent public speakers, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (1965).
The Chicago Cultural Center, originally built as the city’s first public library in 1897, boasts the world’s largest Tiffany dome with over 30,000 pieces of glass! Also in the center, you can find a Renaissance-style dome designed by Healy & Millet made of some 50,000 pieces.
The Mapparium, designed by architect Chester Lindsay Churchill, provides viewers with a three-dimensional perspective of the world as it was in 1935. This historical work of art was renovated between 1998-2001 to include LED light fixtures. A fun fact: the room’s spherical design affects the acoustics, making your voice sound louder than usual.
In 2007, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision was described in a New York Times Architecture Review as “wrapped in a luxurious skin of colorful cast-glass panels… [Neutelings Riedijk Architects’] most gorgeous work to date.”