With the heat wave this summer reaching nearly every part of the world, one region that is experiencing the opposite weather is Antarctica. This time of year is the winter season for Antarctica, where temperatures can dip as cold as 100 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The population of Antarctica also decreases in the wintertime from 5,000 residents to as little as 1,000. Regardless, the people living and working in this cold region continue to worship throughout the year.

There are actually eight churches on this cold continent, but none is as interesting as Antarctica’s Catholic Ice Chapel. This chapel is the world’s southernmost church and worshippers have been praising God at this location since the 1950s.

Located 800 miles from the South Pole, the amazing chapel’s walls are made completely of ice and is formally known as the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows. It is the permanent Catholic church that serves the Belgrano II Base, which is home to nearly 1,000 people during the hard, cold winters. The base is a scientific research station that was founded in 1955 on Coats Island.

As you can imagine, finding suitable spaces for construction in Antarctica proved to be extremely difficult, considering that almost all of its surface consists basically of ice. In fact, it was so problematic that the first base built in the 1950s was abandoned due to instabilities that compromised the safety of its inhabitants.

Another, more suitable location was selected for the new base and system of tunnels and corridors was built under the ice. This system is mainly used by the scientists stationed at the base but is also the place where the Ice Chapel was built to provide a sustainable place of worship for the year-round residents.

For more information about this unusual church, visit https://www.churchpop.com/ and search for ‘Ice Chapel.’

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.