During the nineties, Guinness World Records added a new record-breaking element to its pages: the smallest church in the world. Its name is Santa Isabel de Hungría, it has a size of 1,96 square metres and we can find it in Benalmádena. On top of that, it has another distinguishing feature besides its size. The church lies inside a castle, more specifically inside the castle of Colomares, one of the most popular tourist attractions of Málaga. If we want to visit this peculiar church, we will have to head to the third floor of the building.
Despite its small size, Santa Isabel de Hungría is an official church, meaning that religious ceremonies can take place there. Hence, the smallest church in the world has hosted many weddings and masses. In fact, there are some fun anecdotes regarding said weddings. For instance, in one of them the priest was able to stand inside the church but the couple about to get married had to stay outside. However, due to all the tourist visits the castle of Colomares welcomes every day, the church cannot host daily nor weekly masses. Hence, these activities only take place on special occasions.
This is only a small part of the castle of Colomares, a spectacular monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus. It was built by order of a doctor called Esteban Martín, who also worked on its design. The castle explores the theme of the arrival of Columbus to the American continent, and it presents a blend of different architectural styles. Each of its elements has been placed there for a reason, and they all contribute to telling the sailor’s story.
There is a reason why the church of Santa Isabel de Hungría is dedicated to the saint it is called after, Elizabeth of Hungary. It might come up as a surprise, but the name is another reference to Christopher Columbus. Elizabeth of Hungary, also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, was the founder of the Third Order of Saint Francis, and many people believe that Columbus was a member of that order, hence the name of the temple. If you walk into the smallest church in the world, you will be able to spot a statue of the Hungarian princess and saint.