Across different regions, cultures, and societies, there are many religions that make our world unique and diverse. And with every different religion comes with top religious attractions where tourists and pilgrims visit. Many places around the world are dotted with various temples, churches, synagogues, and other places of religious significance that attracts visitors from all walks of life.
As a tourist, you will always encounter many interesting sights and sounds in every religious destination that you visit. These include meeting different people, seeing impressive religious architectures, enjoying the breathtaking sceneries, and even observing unique cultural practices. Packyour bags and set your sights on the world’s top religious attractions:
1. St. Peter’s Basilica (Rome, Italy)
When you visit the Eternal City, you can never miss the most famous structure of all Christendom – the St. Peter’s Basilica. Tourism is strong in Rome because it hosts most of the Vatican’s Papal activities and religious services. That is why it is not surprising to witness throngs of people trying to get inside the church to check out its beautiful interiors that include Michelangelo’s Pieta and countless paintings from most renowned artists of the time. It still remains as the most popular religious attractions in the world.
2. Hagia Sofia (Istanbul, Turkey)
The renowned dome of the Hagia Sofia has survived the test of time and became an enduring landmark that defined two great religions – Islam and Christianity. Dominated by the cultural exchanges, this religious building featured the elements of classical Roman and Greek architecture, the artistic styles and imagery of early Christianity, and the sophistication of Islamic craftsmanship. Being one of the largest religious attractions in the world, the Hagia Sofia’s distinctive features have captivated tourists from all corners of the world.
3. The Blue Mosque (Istanbul, Turkey)
Also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, this Ottoman mosque was built to mirror the beauty and splendor of the famous Hagia Sofia. It is famous for its distinctive blue tiles that dominated the interior and the six minarets that can be viewed from afar. A product of Islamic and Byzantine architectural heritage, the Blue Mosque showcases its overwhelming size and artistic splendor to visitors in awe.
4. The Wailing Wall (Jerusalem, Israel)
Considered to be the remnant of the old Jewish temple built by King Solomon, the Wailing Wall (also known as the Western Wall) is Judaism’s holiest religious site. Faith tourism plays a big part in bringing thousands of Jews from all over the world visit as part of their pilgrimage to the Holy Land. At any given day, a tourist can see many people praying, taking pictures of the wall, and even kissing the stone itself. In fact, the wall has started to show the effects of deterioration especially when many devotees place their written prayers on the wall’s cracks. Despite the possible damages brought about by pilgrims and tourists, the Wailing Wall remains one of the most visited religious attractions in the world.
5. The Sanctuary of Apollo (Delphi, Greece)
If you happen to be familiar of the classical Greek mythologies, the Oracle of Delphi is one of the most enigmatic and mysterious places of the ancient world. During its time, the Sanctuary of Apollo is frequented by religious pilgrims who want to find out their life in the future. Nowadays, international religious tourism has encouraged tourists to visit the ruins of this once prominent 4th century BC structure as homage to Greek history. This religious attraction still has its six front-facing stucco columns along with 15 columns on its sides. If you plan to visit, follow the Sacred Way where ancient Greeks used to ply during their Delphic pilgrimages.
6. Grand Palace (Bangkok, Thailand)
Adorned with exquisite Thai ornamentations and mythological imageries, the Grand Palace is one religious destination any tourist shouldn’t miss when visiting Bangkok. For most of its existence, the palace remained the home of the Thai king from Rama I to Chulalongkorn. This massive complex also has the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The visit to the palace is truly an eye-catching affair as visitors will be enthralled by the golden glitter of the various structures and the intricacies of its architectural design.
7. Trinity Church (New York, USA)
You may think that this Episcopalian church is lost in the urban jungle of the Big Apple. Perhaps, you may not be able to see it as Trinity Church is surrounded by huge skyscrapers that dominated the New York skyline. Trinity Church features stained-glass windows and vaulted ceilings in a neo-gothic architectural design. On September 11, 2001, the old church held its ground even if the modern World Trade Center twin towers were destroyed. The church has been transformed into one of the many new religious attractions because it now serves as a memorial of some sorts to those who died during 9/11 and a testament to the strength and resolve of those people who survived.