The 7 Churches of Antarctica

Antarctica is officially considered a desert, thus making it the largest desert in the world. But even in this icy barren landscape, the explorers and scientists braving the harshest of climates have still found time for religion. With at least seven churches used for religious practice in Antarctica, these are the Southernmost places of worship in the world.

Chapel of the Snows - Antarctica

Located on an American science station on Ross Island, this is not the luckiest of churches. Despite being built in an isolated frozen landscape, the church was destroyed by fire twice. The original church was devastated in a blaze that started in the heater room while its replacement burnt down after it had been abandoned for several years and caught fire during a severe storm.

Trinity Chapel - Antarctica

This orthodox church was built in Russia in the 1990s with Siberian pine and then transported on a supply ship all the way to the Russian (formerly Soviet) Antarctic station, Bellingshausen on King George Island. Two monks from a Russian monastery first volunteered to man the church year-round and since then, the monastery has rotated priests annually.

The Ice Cave Catholic Chapel at Belgrano II Base - Antarctica

This cave church with walls made of ice is the Southernmost place of worship of any religion in the world. It is the permanent Catholic church for an all-year round Argentinian base and scientific research station founded in 1955 on Coat's Island. As a result of its latitude, both day and night here are four months long and the night sky often displays the aurora australis.

San Francisco de Asis Chapel - Antarctica

The Esperanza Base Station, one of Argentina's thirteen research bases in Antarctica, is considered by the Argentinians as its the southernmost "city" (although it's probably closer to a hamlet). As well as a church, the permanent year-around research base also has a permanent school with teachers, a museum, a bar and a hospital with permanent birth facility where several Argentinians have been born.

St. Ivan Rilski Chapel, Livingston Island - Antarctica

Hugged by the surrounding wall of snow, this is the church of the Bulgarian base St. Kliment Ohridski, founded in 1988 by a four-member Bulgarian team. Despite looking pretty basic, it comes complete with a chapel bell that was donated by the ex-Vice Premier of Bulgaria who worked as a doctor at the Bulgarian base in the 1993/94 season.

Chilian Chapel of Santa Maria Reina de la Paz - Antarctica

Probably one of the few churches in the world made out of shipping containers, this is the unusual place of worship of the biggest civilian settlement in Antarctica, with a summer population of 120 and a winter population of 80. Located on the Chilean military base of King George's Island, Villa las Estrellas is home to several personnel's families with children who live there for up to two years at a time. Religious ceremonies are given by a deacon who lives on the base. The town also has a school, a hostel, a post office and a bank.

Catholic Chapel of Santisima Virgen de Lujan at Marambio Base - Antarctica

Posing in front of the steel-structured Catholic chapel on another of Argentina's research bases, Father Nicholas Daniel Julian sure looks like he could use a better coat! He helped build the church on the permanent, all year-round base, considered Argentina's most important base in the continent. At the time of its construction it was the first airfield in Antarctica and is still one of the most frequently used ones due to its suitability for wheeled landing, for which it is called "Antarctica's Entrance Door".