Adonis Diaries

Stained Glasses? Great art in every location

Posted on: December 2, 2021

The Most Beautiful Stained Glass in the World

First coming to prominence in the Middle Ages, stained glass has been enhancing buildings around the world for thousands of years.

Although traditionally used in the windows of churches, mosques, and other holy buildings, the material reached the secular world in the 19th century—today, it’s not uncommon to find it used in cultural buildings, hotels, art installations, and even shopping malls.

No matter how it’s used, whether it’s a cathedral in Paris or a museum in Bangkok, one thing’s for sure: We prefer to see the world through multi-colored glasses. 

This gallery was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new information.


June 20, 2017

  • Image may contain Banister Handrail Building Architecture Pillar and Column
    • Getty La Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain
    • The interior of Antoni Gaudí’s celebrated church is known for its lofty naves and branching, tree-like columns—all made more beautiful by the graduated tones of light shining through the windows and skylights.
  • Image may contain Architecture Building Cross Symbol Church Altar and Lighting
    • Getty Santuário Dom Bosco, Brasília, Brazil
    • From the outside, the Santuário Dom Bosco is not much more than a bland concrete box. But the interior is truly spectacular, with floor-to-ceiling windows casting heavenly light throughout the entire space.
    • These glassy facades are made up of 7,400 pieces of glass in a dozen shades of blue, giving the appearance of a starry sky.
  • Palau de la Msica Catalana barcelona spain
    • Getty. Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain
    • Another Barcelona staple, the Palau de la Música Catalana, is one of the finest examples of Catalan modernista style—think rich details, floral motifs, and curved lines. The concert hall is illuminated entirely by natural light during daylight hours, thanks to the stained-glass walls and inverted dome skylight.

WATCH The Best Small Cities in the World

  • Image may contain Banister Handrail Human Person Flooring Shop Window Floor and Building
    • Getty. Wafi Mall, Dubai, UAEA trip to Dubai’s Wafi Mall is never a disappointment, even if you leave its 350 shops and indoor souk empty-handed. Inspired by ancient Egypt, the shopping center is crowned by stained glass pyramids that go perfectly with the marble floors and carved statues lining the halls.
  • Image may contain Art Corridor Flooring Human Person Lighting Art Gallery and Floor
    • Alamy National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
    • The National Gallery of Victoria opened its Great Hall in 1968, unveiling Leonard French’s magnificent stained-glass ceiling. The soaring feature was installed over the course of five years, and museum-goers still enjoy lying on the floor to gaze up at the hundreds of cut triangles.
  • Image may contain Flooring Floor Architecture Building Dome Rug and Corridor
    • mazzzur Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
    • The Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque is also known as the “Pink Mosque” due to its rose-colored tiles. The mosque is best seen in the early morning hours, when the sun shines through the stained glass windows and you feel like you’re walking into a giant kaleidoscope.
  • Image may contain Building Architecture Art Window and Stained Glass
    • Alamy Erawan Museum, Bangkok, Thailand
    • This whimsical museum is actually a five-story sculpture of Erawan, a three-headed elephant from Hindu mythology. The structure houses antiques, sculptures, and an amazing stained-glass ceiling.

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  • This image may contain Building Architecture Church Altar Apse Cathedral and Art
    • Alamy. Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France
    • Sainte-Chapelle is a Gothic chapel in the heart of Paris, containing what is perhaps the world’s finest 13th-century stained glass. Pictures hardly do it justice: The 50-foot windows in the upper chapel are even more incredible in person.
  • Image may contain Building Architecture Window Art Skylight Lamp and Chandelier
    • Alamy. Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
    • The Chicago Cultural Center is one of the most frequently visited attractions in the city, thanks to its free exhibitions and famous domed ceiling, which the center claims is the largest Tiffany-glass dome in the world.
  • This image may contain Office Building Building Lighting City Town Metropolis Urban and Light
    • Alamy Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Beeld en Geluid), Hilversum, Netherlands
    • The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is home to a massive archive of Dutch television, radio, music, and film—all contained within a cubic shell of colorful glass.
  • Image may contain Building Architecture Art and Stained Glass
    • Alamy Chapel of Thanksgiving, Dallas, Texas
    • The Chapel of Thanksgiving in downtown Dallas is best known for its “Glory Window,” a nautilus-shaped display of stained glass that gets brighter the closer it spirals toward the center.
  • The Coventry Cathedral is a modern structure built after the original 14thcentury building was destroyed during WWII....
    • Alamy. Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England
    • The Coventry Cathedral is a modern structure built after the original 14th-century building was destroyed during WWII. The new architecture includes a wall of stained glass windows that get brighter as they reach the center, right over the church’s altar.
  • Image may contain Porch and Art
    • Alamy. Cosmovitral Botanical Garden, Toluca, Mexico
    • The Cosmovitral Botanical Garden houses more than 500 species of plants, although the collection almost pales in comparison to the sprawling stained-glass ceiling, which depicts themes of duality (good and evil, night and day, etc.) and covers nearly 35,000 square feet of space.
  • This image may contain Ornament Pattern Lamp Chandelier Architecture Building Art Lighting and Fractal
    • AlamyYork Minster, York, EnglandThe Chapter House of York Minster is a striking octagonal nave, formerly used as the location for the Parliament of King Edward I in the 1200s. It’s built almost entirely out of stained-glass windows that shroud the house in soft light.
  • This image may contain Flooring Human Person Floor Banister Handrail Lighting Corridor Architecture and Building
    • GettyGran Hotel Ciudad de México, Mexico City
    • This five-star hotel is known for its French Art Nouveau style: arched balconies, wrought-iron elevators, and a breathtaking Tiffany-glass canopy.

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December 2021

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