There are over 4000 religions practised in the world today. Often categorised into main bodies like Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, these religions have some amazing places of worship dotted all over the world. These sites are incredibly diverse ranging from extinct civilisations to modern cities. Due to their grand scale and atmosphere are a must see for any travellers. Don’t be put off if you aren’t particularly spiritual or religious, these places, while sacred, are open to all visitors!
Abu Simbel Temples, Egypt
Over 300 years old this structure is simply jaw dropping. The temples are carved from rock and are situated in southern Egypt, near the Sudanese border. They also are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dubbed The Nubian Monuments, the temples were constructed in 1264 BCE over a period of twenty years. The outside of both temples feature carvings which resemble Egyptian royalty and the insides are covered in hieroglyphics, drawing in large crowds of historians and spiritualists alike. The area itself has a quiet atmosphere, in respect of these sacred monoliths. Most tourists usually don’t stay for longer than a day but those looking to take in this site and Egyptian life, in general, should extend their stay.
The Western Wall, Jerusalem
While highlighting the Wailing Wall here, Jerusalem is one of the most revered cities in the world. Important to Judaism, Christianity and Islam the city is the site of the last supper and Mohammad’s ascension to Heaven. Needless to say, the city is rich in culture and history. The wall is the last remaining piece of The Temple Mount which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The Temple Mount was deemed the centre of the religious world at the time and even after its destruction, it was prophesied that the wall would remain sacred. Now a place of prayer and devotion, the Wall is should be top of the list for anyone in Jerusalem. Whatever Jerusalem’s troubled past, no one can deny it as a pillar of religious co-existence in the modern world as well as a cultural and historical icon.
The Ganges (Varanasi), India
Varanasi is considered to be a spiritual centre by Hindus. Millions make the pilgrimage each year to absolve their own sins in the sacred waters of The Ganges, the 2525km long backbone of the Hindu religion. For those who do not want to enter these sacred waters you can also partake in yoga. Varanasi itself is renowned for producing scholars poets and musicians. The city is also said to have been created by the Hindu god Shiva making it the most sacred city in the Hindu religion. Anyone travelling through India should add this place to their itinerary, they will be able to experience two of Hinduisms most sacred sites.
The Vatican City
The home of the Pope and the centre of the Catholic faith. The city is home to two of the world’s most famous tourist attractions; The Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. The Sistine Chapel contains works from Michelangelo including The Last Judgement, while visitors to St Peters can attend mass. From time to time the Pope will also address the visitors who gather in the jaw-dropping square. More than 5 million visitors pass through the city each year and no matter what your faith there is no denying its historic and cultural significance!