Best sacred sites

| July 5, 2013 | 0 Comments
The Ka’ba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the most sacred place in the Islamic world.

The Ka’ba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, is the most sacred place in the Islamic world.

(1) Ta Prohm, Cambodia
Located in the Angkor region of Cambodia, not far away from Angkor Wat, this Hindu temple was deliberately left in a state of decline following its rediscovery. Swamped by roots, Ta Prohm reconciles the divine with the imperceptible but unrelenting grip of nature.

(2) The Ka’ba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The most sacred place of the Islamic world, the Ka’ba occupies the courtyard of the Masjid al-Haram Mosque, the world’s largest. Non-Muslims may not enter the city.

Bodh Gaya, India, where Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in 531 BC.

Bodh Gaya, India, where Buddha is said to have achieved enlightenment under a Bodhi tree in 531 BC.

(3) Borobudur, Java, Indonesia
Built between AD 750 and 842, 300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and 400 years before work had even begun on the greatest European cathedrals, this Buddhist temple was “lost” for nearly a millennium until a group of British explorers rediscovered it. An astonishing building, it features 504 Buddha structures.

(4) Las Lajas Cathedral, Ipiales, Colombia
Inspired by the alleged appearance of the Virgin Mary to a deaf-mute girl in 1754, this neo-gothic basilica near the Colombian-Ecuadoran border clings to the edge of a deep canyon, as if to defy the bounds of the Earth.

(5) Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Once the most important churches of Christendom before the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and one of the most important mosques after it, Hagia Sophia has since become a secular tourist destination without having lost its sacredness.

(6) Old City Jerusalem
Benjamin Disraeli once observed that Jerusalem captures the history of the earth and of heaven. And with good reason. Sacred to three of the world’s major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), the city practically brims with holy sites, including but not exclusively the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. To take a walk through the streets of this ancient city might be considered an attempt to touch the face of God.

(7) St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City
Built on the resting place of Rome’s first bishop, Peter, a disciple of Jesus, it can hold up to 60,000 worshippers. Standing deep inside Vatican City, it is the spiritual centre of Catholic Christians.

(8) Temple of Apollo, Delphi, Greece
Hewn into the slopes of Mount Parnassus, this temple honoured one of the most important deities of the Hellenic world. Part of a larger social and recreational complex, the temple’s interior hosted the Oracle of Delphi, the engimatic but revered soothsayer of classical Greek culture.

(9) Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, India
The site of this temple is said to be the place where the Buddha achieved enlightenment in 531 BC while sitting under a Bodhi tree. Three centuries later, Emperor Asoka built the first temple at that site to mark the occasion. The present temple dates from the 5th or 6th Century.

(10) Notre Dame, Paris, France
The quintessential example of gothic architecture, Notre Dame has survived multiple wars, revolutions and foreign occupations. Like a rock in the waves, it is a symbol of human endurance and strength.

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