The World’s Most Sacred Sites3 min read
Just after Easter, the most important holiday on the Catholic calendar, a geologist announced he had new evidence that indicated a spot in East Jerusalem is Jesus Christ’s burial place.
The claim that this is the site, which is a concrete slab between two housing blocks, isn’t new – the claim is decades old, but the new evidence could make it become one of the world’s most sacred and important historical sites.
Visiting a sacred or religious site is said to trigger physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects. Not to mention some studies have linked spirituality to a lower risk of self-destructive behaviors such as suicide, smoking, and drug and alcohol abuse; in addition it leads to less stress and greater total life satisfaction.
While the debate on whether this site in Jerusalem really is the burial site of Jesus, here are other incredibly sacred and religious sites around the world.
St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the world’s largest sacred buildings and one of the holiest Catholic sites. It is teeming with ornate gold, marble columns, paintings, iconic statues, and works of art created by Renaissance artists Raphael, Brunelleschi, Bernini and, possibly the most famous, Michelangelo who designed the basilica’s dome.
Also in Vatican City, you will find the Sistine Chapel, in which Michelangelo painted his famous Creation of Adam on the 8,600-square-foot ceiling in the early 1500s.
The Western Wall is one of Judaism’s holiest sites. It’s a 187-foot long stone block bulwark is the last remaining section of the retaining wall surrounding the courtyard of the Temple Mount, which was constructed by King Herod in 20 B.C. and destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. It is also called the Wailing Wall and the Kotel.
Jerusalem is also home to Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is considered one of the holiest Christian sites. This church was built above what many believe to be the locations of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
The white lotus flower-shaped Baha’I Temple in India is an eye-catching structure – it has nine curved reflecting pools that create the illusion of lotus leaves on a pond’s surface. The temple uses layers of nine petals to represent the world’s nine major religions as well as to accentuate the principles of peace, purity and unity of all religions.
The Al-Haram Mosque and Mecca are where millions of Muslims pilgrimage to every year. It is here that the Black Stone, Islam’s holiest relic, is enshrined in the Kaaba, a five-story tall cube-shaped granite building in the mosque’s plaza. Muslims pray toward the Kaaba five times a day and are supposed to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lives.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most-visited tourist attractions in France. The cathedral is filled with statues of saints and angels, 30-foot-diameter stained-glass rose windows depicting Bible stories, and symbolic geometric shapes. Since being built in 1345, the Notre Dame Cathedral has become as much an art gallery as a place to worship.