10 amazing churches that are nothing like your own

YouTube/Azza Twirre

The "Chicken Church" in the jungles of central Jave was built by Daniel Alamsjah, 67, who says that he received a divine command to create a house of prayer in 1989. It's meant to be a dove. It is unfinished and abandoned, but an awesome sight nevertheless.

The Salt Cathedral of Zipaquirá is located in a halite mine (what's halite? No idea) in Colombia. It's not officially a cathedral but services are regularly held there. The current one was opened in 1995 (a previous one closed becaues of structural problems) and was created by using cave spaces left by mining operations. It has chapels for the Stations of the Cross, a vast dome and three naves connected by a crack in the rock.

The rock churches of Labilela in Ethiopia are a UNESCO world heritage site. Probably built from the 12th century onwards (though some scholars think they're much older) they were carved from the rock rather than being built up from the ground. This one is St George's Chapel.

Thorncrown Chapel was built in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in 1980. It was designed by E Fay Jones, a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was built mainly of wood and looks as if it's open to the elements, but in fact it's enclosed and air-conditioned. It's won lots of design awards.

"Reading between the lines" is an art project by architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh, who work as "Gijs Van Vaerenbergh". This "church" consists of 30 tons of steel and 2,000 columns and is built on a base of reinforced concrete. It's been described as a "line drawing in space".

Borgund Stave Church was built between 1180 and 1250 AD. Its walls are formed by vertical wooden boards, or staves, hence the name. It has carved dragons on the roof and runic graffiti, including: "Thor wrote these runes in the evening at the St Olaf's Mass". Every generation of churchgoers has its bored children.

The Cardboard Cathedral is officially the Transitional Catheral built as a temporary replacement for Christchurch Cathedral, badly damaged in the New Zealand earthquake in 2011. It is, unsurprisingly, the world's only cathedral made of cardboard.

Think of Russian Orthodox churches and the extraordinary multi-coloured onion domes of St Basil's might spring to mind. A railway carriage? Not so much, but they're not uncommon, apparently.

Barry Cox

A New Zealand man has built a church out of living trees. Barry Cox constructed the unique building in Waikato using trees he moved from various locations using a tree space – a machine that can shift the entire tree, including the root ball, and transport it to another location. Construction started in April 2011, and the Tree Church opened to the public for weddings, picnics and events from January this year. It seats 100 people.