7 of the Most Splendid Stained Glass Windows in the World

Famous Stained Glass Windows

Exquisitely crafted and effortlessly ethereal, stained glass windows have been prevalent in places of worship for centuries. Though often associated with Gothic cathedrals, the colorful panes can be found in a wide array of religious sites, from mesmerizing mosques to modern churches.

Here, we take a tour of some of the most fantastic famous stained glass windows across the globe, from medieval masterpieces to contemporary creations. While the dazzling pieces drastically range in scale and style, each one possesses the ability to transform an earthly site into a transcendent kaleidoscope of colors.


Churches of Paris: Sainte-Chapelle

Described as the “jewel of the Rayonnant Gothic period,” Paris' stunning Sainte-Chapelle was built in the 13th century by King Louis IX. Initially intended to house precious relics, Sainte-Chapelle is particularly renowned for its collection of 15 windows. Measuring nearly 50 feet in height, each monumental window depicts a sparkling interpretation of a biblical scene rendered in gem-like tones and impressive detail. In addition to these vertical masterpieces, the medieval chapel is also celebrated for the rich tracery and kaleidoscopic colors of its rose window.

Famous Stained Glass Windows

Interiors of the Sainte-Chapelle (Photo: wjarek via Shutterstock Royalty-free stock photo)

Famous Stained Glass Windows

The Sainte Chapelle Holy Chapel in Paris, France (Photo: Gilmanshin via Shutterstock Royalty-free stock photo)


King’s College Chapel

Cambridge Kings College Chapel-5

Throughout the late 15th and early 16th centuries, a beautiful Gothic chapel was erected in the University of Cambridge's King's College. In addition to mesmerizing fan vaulting and a painting by Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens, King's College Chapel is famous for its treasure trove of narrative windows. The iconography featured in the splendid panes incorporates both religious and royal motifs and illustrates the artistic advancements of England's late Gothic period.

Famous Stained Glass Windows

Photo: DeFacto via Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0


Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Famous Stained Glass Windows

The Pink Mosque (Photo: TripDeeDeephoto via Shutterstock Royalty-free stock photo)

The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, a 19th-century place of worship in Shiraz, Iran, is a breathtaking example of Islamic architecture. Featuring a façade decorated with a row of ornamental stained glass windows, the “Pink Mosque” offers worshippers a sunlit spectacle every day at dawn: as the morning light shines through the panes, it illuminates the interior's rose-colored tiles and patterned Persian carpet with an enchanting array of vivid colors.

Famous Stained Glass Windows

The Pink Mosque (Photo: OPIS Zagreb via Shutterstock Royalty-free stock photo)

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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