The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Small Churches and Temples (Architecturally)

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We got some notes about our The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Churches and Temples list last week. According to readers, we managed to leave off several important houses of worship. Last week we looked at large structures; this week we look at small, intimate structures. Hopefully the two lists together give a more complete picture of Houston's most beautiful churches and temples.

Last week the new co-cathedral downtown was notably missing from our list (it's ugly, sorry), but this week, Roman Catholic structures abound. Seems that, for a while anyway, the Catholic church did small very, very well.

See what made it to our list this week - and what didn't.

10. St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church 24 Tidwell Road

We start our list with St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church, located in Houston's north side. Its multitude of icons and traditional Russian decoration makes it one of the most beautiful churches in town.

9. Newman Center at Texas Southern University 3535 Wheeler Avenue

Perhaps the smallest chapel on our list is the Catholic Newman Center at Texas Southern University. Fewer than a dozen pews fill the modern structure. (Notice the two circular walls on the front of the building? They house skylights that flood the altar area with light during the chapel's daytime services. The Newman Center serves the Catholic students at Texas Southern University and residents in the surrounding area.

8. Rothko Chapel 3900 Yupon

Rothko Chapel is perhaps the most famous holy space in town. It's known around the world as a standing tribute to Mark Rothko's artistic viewpoint and blends art, spirituality and the quest for human rights.

Regular worship services aren't held at Rothko Chapel, although non-denominational services, lectures and concerts are regularly scheduled. In general, the chapel is a place for individual meditation.

7. All Saints Catholic Church 215 E. 10th St.

The Houston Heights is home to All Saints Catholic Church, a treasure that perfectly encompasses the idea of a small neighborhood parish church.

6. Congregation Shaar Hashalom 16020 El Camino Real

The only Jewish structure to make our list this week, Congregation Shaar Hashalom gets our notice for its especially spectacular stained glass windows that line the walls of the sanctuary.

5. Hara Krishna Dham, ISKCON of Houston

The ornate, intricately decorated Hara Krishna Dham structure strives to reflect the belief system of its followers.

4. Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church 7935 Ave K

An outstanding example of small done especially well by the Catholic diocese, Immaculate Heart of Mary has served generations of Mexican-American faithful in the East End. A tiny school building (with less than half a dozen classrooms) accompanies the church.

3. The Friends Meeting House 1318 W. 26th

The Friends Meeting House, which was one of the structures readers brought up after our list last week, like Rothko Chapel incorporates contemporary art. Here it's The Skyspace, a piece that resembles a skylight by James Turrell.

2. Antioch Missionary Baptist Church 500 Clay

Antioch Missionary Baptist church sits in the shadows of Houston's skyscrapers, an oasis of calm and beauty in the center of downtown's hustle and bustle.

1. Annunciation Catholic Church 1618 Texas

Like Antioch, Annunciation sits in the downtown district. Surrounded by Minute Maid Park overflow parking lots, bars and the booming East Downtown area, the multi-phase Annunciation campus is an excellent example of a congregation carefully preserving the past while embracing the present.

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