15 of the Most Beautiful Churches in the World

Paoay

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15) Paoay Church (St. Augustine’s Parish), Philippines

Upon first viewing, the Paoay church might give the impression of a Mesoamerican building, with its stepped, pyramid-like structure. In fact, its architectural influences are diverse, including Gothic, Asian and Baroque designs. The church, first constructed by Augustinian friars in the 18th century, is noted for 24 massive buttresses that provide the support for the building. These buttresses measure an extraordinary 1.67m thick (nearly 5.5ft), and were intended to provide sufficient solidity and strength so as to protect the building against earthquakes, which are common occurrences in the country. The walls of the church are a combination of coral stone and bricks, and the mortar reflects a traditional mixture of sand, lime, animal skins, straw from rice, and fruit and vegetable juices. Next to the church is a separate bell tower, built much later. It shows an Asian influence, and bears a strong resemblance to a pagoda.

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