One thing that makes Europe different to the US is something that is equally obvious – everything is old. And not just 50 to 100 years old, but ordinary buildings and streets can be centuries old. Many of the oldest structures that we can see every day are churches. Just about every time I turn the corner in Brussels, I can see a church from where I am standing.
But what happens when those churches are not in use anymore and haven’t been for quite some time? They still remain as a landmark in the panorama of Brussels, but they don’t necessarily serve a purpose. Without new land to develop, some have taken to converting old, unused churches into new spaces. They keep the same façade, but change the interior – giving the church a new lease on life.
There are a number of churches that have been converted into houses or apartments, like the one in Bazel, Belgium. Apartments like these are typically very spacious but because of the high ceilings they leave little privacy unless the chapel is divided into two floors.
Another change iscan be seen here in Brussels. An old church by Porte de Namur has been converted into an upscale bar and nightclub called Spirito Martini.
There are a number of converted churches in the United Kingdom ranging from hotels to restaurants to concert halls. A church in Liverpool has been converted into a Cuban restaurant called Alma de Cuba. In most cases, they keep the high ceilings so it still seems like a church although all religious affiliations have been dropped.
One question that comes to mind – how exactly does a person buy a church? Simple answer (as always): the internet. There is actually a website that specializes in unique properties in the UK where you can purchase “unique” properties such as churches, castles, islands, floating homes and many other interesting options.
These churches are all beautiful buildings that deserve to have a new purpose if their old one is no longer needed.