The 10 Most Stunning Ceilings in the World

From royal palaces, grand cathedrals, museums, and temples, architecture has brought us jaw-dropping beauty, which opulence may often overwhelm your eyes. When you visit places, you quickly notice and relish the marbled floors, fascinating columns, and other grand facades, forgetting that you can also witness some of the world’s most beautiful sights if you just crank your head up. You might be surprised that many ceilings offer awe-inspiring glamor, also worthy of your admiration. In this article, let’s look at some of the most stunning ceilings in the world, just waiting there for you to tilt your head back.

1. Castello di Sammezzano (Florence, Italy)

Peacock Room, Castello di Sammezzano, Italy

Sammezzano Castle is regarded as one of the world’s most colorful buildings. Built during the early 1600s, the majestic castle has 365 rooms, representing the total days in the year, each adorned with rainbow colors with intricate swirling and spectral style. Visit the Peacock Room and be astonished by its mesmerizing design, vaults, and ceiling, seemingly taking you into another world brimmed with exotic and hue. Boasting a long, fascinating history, the daydream building served as an Italian Palace, a luxury hotel after the Second World War, before it was recently purchased by a Dubai-based investor.

2. Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (St. Petersburg, Russia)

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia

Vividly colorful and elaborate from the outside, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, Russia easily ranks as one of the most visually stunning architectural wonders in the world. Built starting in 1883 and finished in 1907, the church has over 80,000 square feet of intricately detailed mosaics from the floors, walls, to ceiling, which every visitor will undoubtedly ponder on.

3. Shah Mosque (Isfahan, Iran)

Shah Mosque

Constructed from 1612 to 1638, the Shah Mosque remains one of the most fascinating mosques around the globe. Designed by Rezza Abbasi, it is inscribed with Quran calligraphy and features gorgeous seven-palette mosaic tilework, octagonal domes, which upon reflection of sunlight produce a heavenly, unforgettable sight.

4. Solna Centrum Metro Station (Stockholm, Sweden)

Solna Centrum Metro Station

Lying beneath a pretty unremarkable shopping center, the Solna Centrum Metro Station surprises new visitors and fascinates regular passengers alike. Opened in 1975, the metro station uses a vivid night-time red paint on its bedrock, giving the station an eerie yet indelible appeal to what appears like an entrance to the world.

5. Sistine Chapel (Vatican City)

Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Sistine Chapel’s ceiling is arguably the most famous, celebrated, and breathtaking ceilings in the world. The masterpiece was handpainted by one of the Renaissance’s greatest artists, Michelangelo, during the early 1500s. Today, the ceiling is regarded as the centerpiece and the concrete definition of its era, which will continue to transcend time and be an inspiration for more generations to come.

6. Temple of Heaven (Beijing, China)

Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China

Constructed during the Ming Dynasty, Beijing, China’s Temple of Heaven is a series of religious structures. Its most famous temple is the three-tiered Hall of Prayer where emperors aired their prayers for a plentiful harvest. It features geometrically perfect interlocking timber components, which represent the seasons, days, hours, and months of the year, plus distinctive colors that evoked the success of imperial rule, abundance, joy, and good fortune. 

7. Heydar Aliyev Centre (Baku, Azerbaijan)

Heydar Aliyev Centre (Baku, Azerbaijan)

Designed by Zaha Hadid, the Heydar Aliyev Centre is a stunning auditorium, which used white-oak material and steel framing in its floor, walls, ceilings to create a majestic, fluid architectural structure. Hadid broke the boundaries of standard construction, and instead followed his own to provide ample feel of obduracy, while still making visitors think they’re drifting in free space.

8. Ely Cathedral (Cambridgeshire, England)

Ely Cathedral, England

Finished by royal carpenter William Hurley in 1334, the astonishing 30-ft high lantern that hangs over the Ely Catherdral’s octagonal tower appears like an eight-point star, housing a “Christ in Glory” carving at its core. Today, it’s still regarded as one of the cornerstones of structural engineering and design during the medieval period.

9. San Pantalon (Dorsoduro, Venice)

San Pantalon

San Pantalon Church is best renowned for its spectacular late 17th-century oil-painted ceiling, which depicts the “The Martyrdom and Apotheosis of St Pantalon.” Created by Gian Antonio Fumiani, the illusionistic ceiling appears like a continuation of the equally stunning architecture below, providing a dramatic, heavenly scene.

10. Sultan Ahmed Mosque (Istanbul, Turkey)

Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Also known as the Blue Mosque for its overall bluish-interior, Sultan Ahmed Mosque is a famous mosque constructed during the 1600s, combining Byzantine and Ottoman architecture. Lined with more than 20,000 intricately adorned handmade tiles, the overall image is said to resemble the heavens.