The 8 Best Glasgow Main Houses of Worship
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Temples are structures built for spiritual and religious rituals. These places express the religious beliefs, aesthetic choices, and the economic and technological capacity of those who create or adapt them. For that reason, Glasgow showcases a great variety of places of worship, also differing because of the time and place they were built.
Historically, each community has wanted to maintain their religious beliefs and build their temples to this end. That is why Glasgow temples, their history, origins and situation allow us to better understand the established communities and new migratory movements towards Glasgow.
Important note: This is a ranking list about houses of worship (buildings). IN NO CASE the information and comments presented here are made in relation to religious beliefs.
Visit St Mungo’s Cathedral
St Mungo’s Cathedral is a magnificent medieval Gothic building built during the 13th-15th centuries on the site where St. Kentigern – known as Mungo, a missionary in the 6th century who converted the Picts to Christianity, and the founder and patron saint of the city of Glasgow – was buried. His tomb is in the lower crypt, probably on the actual site of his grave.
A small stone and wood church was built in the same spot in 1136 by King David I. That church was destroyed by a fire and was the origin of the present building.
The Cathedral is the only one on the Scottish mainland to survive the Reformation of 1560 almost intact, and is currently part of the Church of Scotland’s Presbytery of Glasgow.
It features a splendid example of Scottish Gothic architecture, a crypt built in the mid-1200s, one of the finest post-war collections of stained glass windows in Britain, a medieval richly carved pulpit, the Blackadder aisle’s ceiling and the tomb of Bishop Wishart, a friend of both William Wallace and Robert Bruce.
Stone and wood church was built in the same spot in 1136 by King David I.
Admire St Vincent Street Church
St. Vincent Street Church was designed by Alexander “Greek” Thomson in 1859 for the former United Presbyterian Church of Scotland. The responsible for the interior decoration was Daniel Cottier, a favourite of Thomson.
Currently It is a Category A listed building owned by Glasgow City Council and used by the Free Church of Scotland.
This Greek revival building features a pulpit centrally placed in front of the congregation, reflecting the importance for the Christian Alexander Thomson of the Bible and preaching.
Alexander “Greek” Thomson.
Discover Garnethill Synagogue
The Synagogue was built in the period of 1879-81 by architects John McLeod and Nathan Solomon Joseph.
The exterior of this Category A listed building is Romanesque revival, and the interior features Byzantine revival details, with a splendid Torah-Ark.
It also houses The Scottish Jewish Archives Centre (SJAC) which was formed in 1987 to preserve a range of material illustrating the Jewish experience in Scotland since the 18th Century.
See St Mary’s Cathedral
The architect Sir George Gilbert Scott was commissioned to design this Gothic Revival building opened for worship in 1871 as St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. It was completed in 1893 when the imposing 63 metres spire was built by Scott’s son.
In 1908 it was raised to cathedral of the Scottish Episcopal Church. It is protected as a category A listed building.
The interior stands out for its stained glass, part of an integrated sequence within the church, the chancel and the splendid Gwyneth Leech murals.
Gwyneth Leech murals.
Go to Hindu Mandir
Built by Scottish architect Charles Wilson in 1857 with an external frieze sculpted by John Mossman, this grade A listed building has Renaissance former halls, converted to the First Church of Christ Scientist in the 1940s.
The local Hindu community had initially used the homes of various members of the community for their acts of worship until October 1994, when a purchase allowed the community to develop a much larger and more appealing space.
In July 2006 they converted the upper floor and was inaugurated as Hindu Mandir.
Architect Charles Wilson.
Have a look at St Andrew’s Cathedral
This Roman Catholic cathedral was built between 1814-1816 by James Gillespie Graham in the Neo-Gothic style, and it is dedicated to the patron saint of Scotland, Saint Andrew. It was raised to the status of Cathedral in 1884.
It was completed during a time of restrictions on Catholic places of worship to serve the growing numbers of Irish people coming to Glasgow during the Industrial Revolution, so it is a relatively modest building, without a bell tower.
The gleaming white interior features an impressive organ, vibrant stained-glass windows, and notable modern religious artwork.
Locate Glasgow Central Mosque
The Central Mosque was built in 1983 by architectural Coleman Ballantine Partnership. It officially opened in 1984, at the same time as the adjacent Islamic Centre that serves as a general purpose hall for public events and provides facilities for other uses.
The building combines Islamic architecture with the characteristic Old Red Sandstone material used to build a lot of Glasgow’s buildings. Other noticeable features are the traditionally Minaret tower, an arabesque courtyard, and the splendid dome, which fills the main prayer hall with natural light.
Visit Gurdwara Singh Sabha
Opened in 2016, the Central Gurdwara Singh Sahba building in Glasgow contains an iconic golden dome shining in Glasgow’s skyline.
The Gurdwara, meaning House of God, also includes classrooms, a library and a ceremonial pool. Much of the building’s fabric and fittings have been imported from suppliers in India to keep with tradition.
The site was historically part of the Glasgow Eye Infirmary which was destroyed by fire in 1971 and later used as a car park.
Iconic golden dome.
I enjoy art, architecture, museums, churches and temples; anything that gives me insight into the history and soul of the place I’m in. I can also be a beach bum – I like to laze in the shade of a palm tree with a good book or float in a warm sea at sundown.
Cherie Mary Lunghi, English film, television and theatre actress (1952-).
The cathedrals in Glasgow are St. Andrew’s Cathedral (Roman Catholic), St. Mary’s Cathedral (Episcopalian) and St Luke’s Cathedral (Greek Orthodox).
Curiously, St Mungo’s Cathedral (Church of Scotland), although commonly called Glasgow Cathedral, it is not a Cathedral Church, as it is not the seat of a Bishop.
Research led by SUZANNAH HENDERSON ׀
Date of the Research: 20 MAY – 25 JUNE 2018 ׀
Publication date: 28 JUNE 2018
Review date: 28 JUNE 2019
Scope of the research & essential inclusion criteria:
|It exists today.||It is currently a place of worship.||Main Glasgow place of a religion.|