Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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The Best Churches in Kansas

St. Peter's Cathedral, Kansas City, KansasTraveling around the eastern half of Kansas, I found that there always seemed to be a church steeple on the horizon somewhere, whether popping up over a small town or making up a key element of an urban skyline. Like tempting beacons, I was lured to them and was never disappointed by their beauty, and by the surprises they contained. Read about the top five churches in Kansas >


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Unique Churches in Unique Venice

Church of St. Zachary, Venice, ItalyWhenever you cross one of Venice’s more than 400 bridges over its placid canals, you’ll catch sight of one of the city’s nearly 140 churches. They come in all shapes and sizes, from massive cathedrals to smaller parish churches. Most are Roman Catholic, but you can find a few for other denominations, such as the Greek Orthodox church with its leaning tower. And, while Saint Mark’s Basilica is the biggest draw, it’s often the less-visited churches that brandish the best surprises. Read about the top five churches in Venice, Italy >


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Four Centuries of Churches in Delaware

First and Central Presbyterian Church, Wilmington, DelawareSince the 1600s, religion has played an active role in the state of Delaware. Over time, log and wood structures that served as houses of worship morphed into more substantial brick and stone buildings. Steeped in history, these churches were often the hub of not only religious activities but also social life. Read about the top five churches in Delaware >


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Canada’s Choicest Churches

Cathedral Church of St. James, TorontoBy 2029, an estimated 9,000 religious spaces in Canada will be lost—victims of harsh weather, evaporating congregations, abandonment, deterioration, and deliberate razing. That’s nearly one-third of all the ecclesiastical buildings in the entire country, so you better hurry if you want to see some irreplaceable structures before they’re gone forever. Fortunately, my favorites (except one) seem pretty secure…for now. Read about the top five churches in Canada >


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Bourbon on Saturday, Church on Sunday

Georgetown Baptist Church, KentuckyKentucky produces approximately 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. That’s a lot of booze. And perhaps if Kentuckians imbibe a bit in what they don’t export, it may explain why, at last count, there are 5,011 churches in the Bluegrass State. That’s a lot of worshipping. And people in Kentucky are doing it in all sorts of structures, from what is barely more than a cabin to what could pass for an old Holiday Inn to cathedrals that easily rival anything in Europe. Read about the top five churches in Kentucky >


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Missouri’s Best Religious Buildings

St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Kansas City, MissouriOne has the largest collection of mosaics in the world. Another has some of the finest stained-glass windows in the United States. Still a third has a reredos that knocked my socks off. What are they? They’re some of the most beautiful churches in Missouri. Read more about them >


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Argentina’s Most Beautiful Churches

Cathedral of St. Francis, San Salvador de Jujuy, ArgentinaFour intranational flights in Argentina took me from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazú to Salta to Mendoza and back to the capital. It was a whirlwind trip around the northern part of the country during which I hiked around one of the world’s top waterfalls and around the tallest mountain in the Americas, experienced both Latin and Native American cultures, ate llama cutlets and sucked on coca leaves to stave off altitude sickness, and roamed through some of the country’s best cities, filled with beautiful (and often crumbling) architecture, including fantastic houses of worship. Read about the top five churches in Argentina >


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Denmark’s Five Best Churches

Holmen Church, Copenhagen, DenmarkWhen it comes to castles, Denmark is one of my favorite European nations, whether they’re watching over the coastline or dropped smack in the middle of the capital city. When it comes to churches, however, Denmark has some serious competition from its European neighbors. Despite that, this little nation of just under six million people has constructed some spectacular churches. Too bad only 3 percent of the population regularly attends services; they’re missing out on surrounding themselves with beauty. Read about the top five churches in Denmark >


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Croatia’s Choicest Churches

Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Varazdin, CroatiaAs I traveled around this Balkan nation, I continuously noted domes and bell towers rising above their shorter neighbors. These telltale signs of religious buildings beckoned me, with their beautiful architecture and their centuries of history, art, legend, lore — and the occasional miracle or two. Read about the top five churches in Croatia >


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Crossing Paths With Swiss Crosses

Lausanne Cathedral, SwitzerlandAlthough freedom of religion is a fundamental right in Switzerland, enshrined in its constitution, the number of people employing that freedom continues to plummet. More than one-quarter of all Swiss have no religious affiliation (compared to a negligible 1 percent in 1970). Those who do, no matter what their denomination, have strayed from regularly attending services today. Yet they can still look back at what their more devout ancestors left behind—a legacy of beautiful churches that used to be the core of their societies. Read about the top five churches in Switzerland >