From Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral to Manhattan’s Chrysler Building, the most ominous and haunting gargoyles and grotesques glare down at us from up on high.
Perhaps the most well-known gargoyles in the world hover on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Technically known as grotesques (true gargoyles have waterspouts as mouths), these monstrous creatures glare ominously down on the City of Light.
Ulmer Munster’s steeple is the highest church steeple in the world, soaring 530 feet high. Dominating the skyline in Ulm, Germany, the church’s steeple is adorned with Gothic-inspired gargoyles, designed to ward off evil spirits.
The largest Gothic cathedral in the world, Duomo di Milano is one of Europe’s most impressive architectural wonders. For the hale and hearty, climb the 170 stairs to the roof for a closer look at the Gothic gargoyles.
Washington National Cathedral’s English Gothic architecture is adorned with gargoyles. More modern in look, these gargoyles (including one famous Darth Vader!) were carved over the last 50 years, with designs determined by their donors and artists.
Two gargoyles, Frank and Carson, are perched atop Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. The 2 were added in 2005 to ward off the evil spirits of some of the world’s most notorious criminals who are believed to still roam the crumbling cellblocks.
Gargoyles peer down from the chapel roof of Merton College, one of the oldest colleges in Oxford, England.
Dragon statues guard Ljubljana’s Dragon Bridge, known by locals as the "mother-in-law" bridge due its forbidding and fiery guard. Dragons are seen throughout the capital city, as its patron saint St. George slayed dragons, according to Catholic legend.
Manhattan’s iconic skyscraper, Chrysler Building, was originally designed as the automobile maker’s headquarters in the late 1920s. Architectural details, such as the building's gargoyles, were modeled after Chrysler automobile products, such as the Plymouth hood ornaments.
The grotesques that hover on London’s Westminster Abbey are true gargoyles, with waterspouts for mouths. They’re also a creepy counterpoint to the statues of saints also on the church’s exterior.
Four gruesome, Gothic-inspired gargoyles stand guard at the Bridge of the Kingdom in Valencia, Spain.
The highly ornate Japanese architectural ornament “onigawara” literally means “demon tiles.” Like Western stone grotesques, they were traditionally believed to ward off evil
The Monastery of Batalha in Portugal is an impressive work of Gothic architecture, adorned with monstrous gargoyles and other elaborate carvings.
Located within the Prague Castle complex, Saint Vitus' Cathedral is an imposing Gothic church that holds the tombs of Bohemian kings and Holy Roman emperors. Beyond being utterly monstrous, the gargoyles nestled on this cathedral have a functional purpose -- they spew rainwater from the building's roof at an angle that keeps it from running down the walls.