You don’t have to be religious in order to enjoy the beauty and architecture of these buildings. In Philadelphia, there are many religious places to visit, not just for worship but for its ornate and interesting architecture. Many of these religious places are part of the National Historic Landmark and rightfully so as they are built a long time ago and is part of Philadelphia’s history. You can hop on and off your Philly rental bus to get to these places.
If you would like to see the only synagogue designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, then you should head over to the Beth Shalom Congregation, a Conservative synagogue located in the suburb of Elkins Park in Philadelphia. Did you know that Beth Shalom actually means House of Peace in Hebrew? If you take a look at the architecture, you would notice that despite being built in 1953, the synagogue has a very modern look to it. It has inclined walls which are pretty steep and its translucent look comes from the fiberglass and plastic materials made to build it. During the day, the translucent walls are lighted by natural sunlight, while in the night, the entire building glows from the inside out by artificial lighting. Right in front of the synagogue, you will find a laver which is a fountain worshippers use to wash their hands before a sacrifice or service.
On the east side of Logan Circle in Philadelphia, you will find an impressive Roman Catholic cathedral called the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. This is the head church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Philly and designed by Napoleon LeBrun. Built from 1846-1864, this is the largest Catholic church in Pennsylvania and is also listed in the US National Register of Historic Places. This cathedral is a sight to behold from afar. Modelled after the Lombard Church of St Charles in Rome, the cathedral features a grand facade and a vaulted dome, with ornate main altar and oversized apse of stained glass and red antique marble.
Moving over to Appletree Street, you will find Saint Clement’s Church, a Episcopal church designed by John Notman. Another two churches designed by the same man stands within a few blocks from each other - the Church of the Holy Trinity and Saint Mark’s Church. Although these three churches are designed by the same man, they are built and designed differently. Both Saint Clement’s Church and the Church of the Holy Trinity features a Romanesque Revival style and made entirely of brownstone, while the Saint Mark’s Church was built in the Gothic Revival style. So, do go by this area to view all three churches to see the differences in style and architecture, all designed by the same man.