Religious tourism is gaining more and more popularity today. Moreover, sacred sites are fascinating in themselves, regardless of personal believes. There are countless impressive constructions with spiritual purposes and picking 10 meant excluding numerous others which would have deserved a place on this list as well.
1. Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm is one of the temples of Angkor. It was built in the late 12th century AD by the Khmer king Jayavarman VII to serve as a Hindu temple. Isolated and neglected, unlike the rest of the temples, Ta Prohn was conquered by the jungle. It is particularly this aspect that attracts most visitors.
2. The Ka’ba
The Ka’ba is the most important sacred spot of the Islamic World. The history of the site, as a sacred destination, goes back longer than the time of Mohammad, having been used as a shelter for the statues of Arabian gods. The Ka’ba stands in the courtyard of the Haram Mosque, a beautiful place as well.
Borobudur was only discovered in the 19th century, in the jungle of Java, Indonesia. It is an astonishing construction, featuring 504 Budha structures and as many as 2, 700 relief panels. Its entire history remains a secret up to this day, as no one knows who built it and why..
4. Las Lajas Cathedral
One of the most impressive sacred places in the world, Las Lajas Cathedral was built in 1916, as a result of a miraculous appearance of Virgin Mary. Apparently, a woman was carrying her mute daughter on her back in that area. When she stopped to rest, the child suddenly spoke for the first time, telling her mother of a strange vision in a cave. The vision turned out to be a mysterious painting which remained mysterious even after detailed scientific analysis was conducted: there was no proof of pigment on the surface of the rock. However, the painting had deeply penetrated it.
5. Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia is truly an amazing place, whether you visit it for religious or touristic purposes. It has a long history which goes back to the 4th when Sophia was the greatest and the most important church of the Christianity. When Mehmet II conquered the Constantinople in 1453, the church was transformed into a mosque, but the Christian paintings and symbols were not destroyed.
6. Saint Peter’s Basilica
“Basilica Papale di SanPietro” is located in Vatican City. One of the most sacred places of Christianity, this church was built in the 17thcentury . It is not only a very beautiful site, but a very spacious one as well, accommodating a maximum of 60.000 people in the same time. It is also said that the tomb of Saint Peter is right underneath the altar.
7. Sanctuary of Apollo
Vestige of a disappeared, yet unforgotten world, the Temple of Apollo was built 3500 years ago and was considered “the center of the world” by the Greeks who used to come here (as did numerous pilgrims from different countries) in order to hear the predictions of the Oracle of Delphi, a drugged priestess, through the mouth of whom Apollo himself addressed to the believers.
8. Mahabodhi Temple
The Mahabodhi Temple is one of the most impressive sacred places in the world and the holiest site of Buddhism. Consequently, it is every year visited by thousands of Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims, as well as tourists. It is believed that this place is the site where Siddharta Guatama attained enlightenment and became Buddha.
9. Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple is magnificent. It is so large that an entire village was arranged within its walls. Built in the 14th century BC, it was dedicated to Amun (later, Amun-Ra), the creator god of the Egyptian theology. At night, the temple is lightened, offering a spectacular view to its visitors.
10. Notre Dame Cathedral
This is a famous cathedral of an extraordinary beauty, in Paris. It was built between 1163 and 1250 and it is considered one of the most iconic examples of gothic architecture. Having witnessed numerous historical events, it was often damaged and several times restored. Today, it is one of France’s symbols and a great place to visit for spiritual and cultural purposes.