The global market for religious travel is booming. Millions of faithful and curious people embark on the journeys to the most mystically imbued places in the world. Sometimes, travelers book a weekend stay at a functioning Buddhist temple. You might even want to book a two-week Bible trip with your local congregation. Whatever the case, flocks of people are fond of combining a travel journey with a spiritual purpose.
The basics of faith tours are humbling and awe-inspiring excursions. Your footsteps resound in a sacred space over the slight murmuring of the crowd gathered. However, you can hardly decide where to look. You may not be able to put exactly what you feel to words, but you feel something’s presence in every religious site you visit.
Religious travel has been about honoring and enhancing one’s faith through friendship, charity, mindfulness, or isolation from time to time. Here are some of the best and most visited religious sites you need to visit to inspire your travel journey.
Vatican City – Italy
The Vatican City, or the Holy See, became an independent state in 1929. Since 1378, it has been the residence of the Pope, the leader of the Catholic Church. The Basilica of St. Peter houses the tomb of the first pope, St. Peter’s Son, who was crucified and buried there. The Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens, and the Vatican Museums are other attractions.
The Roman Catholic Church has its headquarters in Vatican City. It is a town-state surrounded by Rome, Italy. The Vatican is the Pope’s home and a trove of classic architecture and art. His Vatican Museums are home to ancient Roman sculptures, such as the famous “Laocoön and His Sons.” It is also the home of Renaissance frescoes in the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, famous for the ceiling by Michelangelo.
Mecca – Saudi Arabia
Within Mecca, the holiest place in Islam, non-Muslims are not allowed in. So, this excursion is only for believers. Millions of Muslims each year embark on a pilgrimage to Mecca, called the Hajj. The aim of the pilgrimage is to promote unity among Islamic followers.
It is so fundamental to Islam that one of the Five Pillars of faith is to conduct the Hajj at least once in their lifetime for every able-bodied person if they can afford to. Mecca is the birthplace of Muhammad, the prophet who founded Islam, and the first revelation of the Qur’an. Pilgrims visit the Great Mosque to worship God in front of the Kaaba, the holiest structure in Islam.
Shrine Of The Báb – Israel
Located on Mount Carmel, the Shrine of Báb blends beautiful buildings with beautiful greenery. It is the burial site of Báb, the father of a new religion that broke with Islam in the 1800s and was therefore repressed by the Persian government.
Bábism brought about the birth of the Bahá’í Religion. In the shrine, meander around Haifa’s Hanging Gardens. They are the terraced gardens designed by Fariborz Sahba, an Iranian architect.
Sri Pada – Sri Lanka
The beauty of holy mountain Sri Pada can be admired by anyone in the world. Maybe that is why four different religions consider the peak as a sacred place worthy of pilgrimage. A rock formation near the summit takes on a different shape in every belief system. Buddhists believe it is the Buddha’s footprint; Muslims believe it is the prophet Adam’s footprint; Hindus believe it is Shiva’s footprint, and Christians believe it is St Thomas’ footprint.
Religious or not, these sites have played a significant role in history and humanity, so they are definitely worth a visit. That is why they make great inspiration for your next travel journey. If you want to know more tips about traveling, click here.
Featured image: middleeastmonitor.com