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Largest Temples in the World
Posted In: Religion Articles  5/16/12
By: Yona Williams

All over the world, temples have been constructed to provide a space for people to worship. While some are only small enough to accommodate a hundred people, others are quite large. In this article, you will learn about some of the largest temples in the world.

Largest Buddhist Temple – Borobudur

The largest Buddhist temple in the world is found in the island of Central Java, Indonesia, and is called the Borobudur Temple. It measures 60,000 m³ with a height of 34.5 m. At the base, the temple measures 123 m x 123 m. The Buddhist stupa was built following the Mahayana tradition and dates back to around 750 AD. A feature of the temple is a three-dimensional mandala (meant to represent the diagram of the universe) and serves as a visual representation of Buddhist teachings.

No written record of the temple has survived. No one knows its original purpose either. For centuries, the temple was concealed under layers of volcanic ash. For some reason, the monument had been left behind by the native people. In 1814, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles rediscovered the temple while visiting Semarang. He heard of a hill that had been recently uncovered that had numerous carved stones. Raffles brought together a team of researchers to locate and explore the ancient monument.  The site was cleared in 1835 and over the years, restoration efforts were put into place.

Some of the hard work was in vain. When the King of Siam visited Indonesia in 1896, the Dutch colonial government actually gave away containers of Borobudur stones, including reliefs, statues, stairs and gates. Eight containers were given as presents. Between 1973 and 1984, a restoration program elevated the appearance and esteem of the complex – attracting millions of people who view the temple as a Buddhist pilgrimage site. In 1991, Borobudur earned a place on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

Largest Roman Temple – Temple of Jupiter

In Baalbeck, Lebanon, you will find an array of lovely temples, but it is the Temple of Jupiter that serves as the largest Roman temple in the world. As one of the most popular sites in the region, the Temple of Jupiter has six remaining columns that are the largest anywhere associated with the Roman culture. The rear of the temple housed the infamous statue of Jupiter Heliopolitan. Only initiated priests were allowed to approach it. A hexagonal forecourt decorated the front of the temple. This was an addition attributed to Philip the Arab. To this day, the layout is still quite visible.

Baalbeck is also home to other noteworthy temples, such as the Temple of Bacchus. Known as the best-preserved structure at Baalbeck or of any other Roman temple of its size, the Temple of Bacchus is larger than the Parthenon – offering an interior span of 62 feet. The monumental gateway measure 21 feet wide and is close to 42 feet high. Each of the stone blocks used to make the temple weight tens of tons.

People also come to see the small, round Temple of Venus at Baalbeck, which was made with six columns. It is thought to have supported a dome at one time. The temple was carved with niches, elaborate décor, and sculptures (which are no longer there).


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