Humans have always found a need for spirituality for as long as time. From the Incas of the pre-Columbian empire to the Aztecs down to the adherents of Buddhism in Asia, religion has always played a role in human affairs. As a part of their devotion, devotees have built magnificent structures in the form of temples, religious houses, and others.
Some even go as far as performing pilgrimages to select spots designated as Holy places. A good thing about all these is that everyone is welcome (to a certain extent, I would say) to explore these places. To that end, here are the top 10 religious spots in the world to visit.
1. The Archbasilica Of Saint John Latera – Rome
Regarded as the oldest church in Europe, this building was built during the reign of Constantine I, who later handed it over to the then Bishop of Rome. At this point, the building was transformed into a church four hundred years later.
The church is an honor for John the Baptist and is considered by Catholics as a mother church because they regard it as the most important basilica of all four existing basilicas. The church is also the seat of the Pope or the Bishop of Rome.
The central doors are made of Bronze, while its interior features majestic columns, colossal statues, and mosaic panels and frescoes. Within walking distance of the Lateran Basilica lies the Holy Stairs (Scala Santa) and the tombs of several popes
2. The Great Mosque Of Mecca – Saudi Arabia
The Mosque of Mecca is one of the essential things in Islam. Its importance is based on the Kabba, found within the mosque’s center. Islam adherents, during their prayers, always face the Kabba. The mosque of Mecca is also the largest in the world, as it has gone through several expansion attempts over the years.
Sadly, visiting the Kabba is exclusively for Islamic adherents. However, the city of Medina, located to the north, allows visitors. The mosque where Prophet Muhammad was buried is located at this site and is regarded as the second holiest site for Islamic adherents.
3. Kashi Vishwanath Temple – Varanasi, India
This religious site is dedicated to Shiva, an Indian Hindu religious deity. Located by the River Ganges in Vishwanath Gali of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh in India, this temple is considered by the religion’s adherents as one of its most important sites.
Yearly, millions of people troop to this site as a form of pilgrimage, and the water at this site is believed to wash away the people’s sins. The temple is said to have been established in 1490.
The well of wisdom where the idol of Shiva was hidden when it was to be destroyed is still standing and open to visits to date.
4. Temple Of Heaven – China
Located in the southeastern part of central Beijing, the Temple of Heaven is the Altar of Heaven. Annual prayer ceremonies to Heaven for a prosperous harvest were held at the complex by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Although the ruler of the day practiced Chinese Heaven worship long before Taoism, it had been regarded as a Taoist temple for centuries. In addition to building the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Yongle Emperor built the temple complex between 1406 and 1420.
Under the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century, the complex was expanded and renamed the Temple of Heaven. The temple currently has three complexes: a circular mound altar, the imperial vault of heaven, and prayer for a good harvest.
5. Saint Basil’s Cathedral – Russia
Built by Ivan the Terrible in 1555 and completed in 1561, the structure was established to celebrate Russia’s victory over Kazan. It is also known as the Cathedral of the Intercession (its official name).
The name St. Basil came from the holy fool Vasily, who lived in the 16th century. Some believe that Ivan the Terrible blinded the architect to prevent its magnificence and beauty from being replicated. Today, the cathedral hosts various festivals and exhibitions, artistic events, concerts, and more, as well as other religious activities.
6. Golden Temple – (Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar India)
This temple was built from marble and laid with gold leaf. It is a religious place for the Sikhs, who believe it represents human equality and brotherhood. The building has a unique Sikh-like architecture. Furthermore, it has four entrances facing four directions, which symbolizes openness to everyone.
7. Angkor Wat – Cambodia
This temple is 700 feet tall and has several wall engravings depicting Buddhism and Hinduism. It is also the largest religious monument in the world, covering over 162.6 hectares of land.
It is also a top tourist site, attracting at least a million people annually.
8. Western Wall – Israel
Also known as the Wailing Wall, this site is vital to Judaism adherents. Located in old Jerusalem, people from different areas visit the site to pray. Visitors and followers who come there to pray either do so orally or write it on a piece of power to be inserted within the cracks within the wall.
This religious site is also partitioned to separate the males from the females during prayers. It is open to all, but you are advised to dress modestly when going.
9. Temple Tokyo, Japan Sensoji
Dedicated to the worship of the Buddhist goddess of mercy known as Kannon, this temple attracts over twenty million visits every year. It is located in Tokyo in the Asakusa district.
The temple is believed to be over a thousand years old. Not only is this temple the most visited temple in Japan, it is also acclaimed as the most visited spiritual site in the world.
The temple is home to quite a few festivals, including Sanja Matsuri (a celebration of the Temple’s founders).
10. The Vatican City
Undoubtedly the smallest country in Europe, the Vatican City is ruled by the Pope, who is the head of the country. The country, which started as a tourism site when a basilica was built over St. Peter’s tomb in ancient Rome, has now grown to be one of the most important spiritual sites in the world.