Pilgrimage to holy places: what directions to choose for the spiritual journey of believers

Albina PanchenkoLife
The main areas of pilgrimage

Journeys to holy places for the purpose of spiritual enrichment, forgiveness of sins, or religious rites were known thousands of years ago. Years have passed, but the tradition of making pilgrimages to religious sites has not disappeared. Therefore, we have prepared a selection of cities that are most often chosen for spiritual tourism.

Christian sanctuaries

One can talk at length about Israel or Rome, which are, of course, the centers of Christian pilgrimage. But there are other cities that are just as important to members of the world's most widespread religion.

  • Wittenberg, Germany

This city was made famous by Martin Luther, who by his actions changed the basic principles of the Catholic Church, leading to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Here you can visit the Wittenberg Castle Church, on the doors of which the medieval priest affixed his 95 theses on the abuse of indulgences and the unpunished trade in them.

  • Santiago de Compostela (Spain)

In this city is the tomb of the Apostle James, one of the most famous disciples of Jesus Christ. Every year pilgrims from all over the world come here to walk the Way of Saint James (Camino de Santiago) and visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

  • Mount Athos (Greece)

The world's largest center of Orthodox monasticism is officially called the Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain. There are 20 monasteries that open their doors to the faithful every year. This place of pilgrimage attracts people who seek to come closer to God by climbing to the top of the mountain.

  • Al-Azaria (Bethany, Israel)

The hometown of Lazarus, whom Jesus Christ resurrected on the fourth day after his death. Here you can visit the first tomb of the bishop and many other holy sites.

  • Lourdes (France)

This town became famous after the Virgin Mary appeared 18 times to a young poor girl named Bernadette Subiro. At first, no one believed the 14-year-old miller's daughter, but later churchmen listened to her words. Thus, the Bernadetti Shrine and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception were built in Lourdes, where Christians from all over the world come.


Islamic shrines

Supporters of the second largest religion have many holy sites around the world. This is where they come to unite and perform important spiritual rites.

  • Mecca (Saudi Arabia).

This is the holiest city for Muslims, where the al-Haram Mosque is located. The Kaaba, the main religious building of the adherents of Islam, is located on its territory. Every year, millions of people from all over the world make the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).

  • Medina (Saudi Arabia)

Medina is the second most important city for Muslims. Here is the Masjid al-Nabawi, where Mohammed is buried. It is a place of pilgrimage, visited to get close to the last prophet and to visit a magnificent mosque.

  • Jerusalem (Israel)

Jerusalem is the last of the three holy places for Muslims. The Al-Aqsa Mosque is located here, where 5,000 people can stay at one time. Supporters of Islam associate this place with Muhammad's night journey and his ascension to heaven.

  • Karbala (Iraq)

It is an incredibly famous city among Shiite Muslims. Here is the Al-Hussein Mosque, where Imam Hussein ibn Ali, an important figure for Shiite Islam, is buried. Millions of pilgrims come here every year to celebrate Ashura.

  • Kairouan (Tunisia)

The ancient city attracts Muslims from all over the world because of the Uqba Mosque, an important religious structure. Once the sacred capital of Tunisia, Kairouan is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Buddhist shrines

The adherents of this philosophical and religious current believe that by following the Buddha's instructions they will attain enlightenment. So they visit holy places in order to feel the support of their teacher and to become closer to him.

  • Bodh Gaya (India)

It was in this picturesque town that Siddgartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha, achieved enlightenment while sitting under a Bodhi tree. Here is the Mahabodhi Temple, a structure built on the site of the "awakening" and is an important pilgrimage center.

  • Varanasi (India)

Varanasi is considered the site of Buddha's first sermon after his enlightenment. Here he first went out to the people and founded his order community. In this city is the Dhamek, the great stupa which is the symbol of Buddhism.

  • Lumbini (Nepal)

Buddhists believe that Siddgartha Gautama was born here. Here you can see the memorial marker erected at the place where the Buddha was born, as well as the Pagoda of World Peace.

  • Yangon (Myanmar)

The Shwedagon Pagoda is one of the most prominent Buddhist structures in the world. This majestic temple is considered a holy place because it contains a hair of the Buddha.

  • Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

The impressive fortress, built on a 370-meter-high granite rock, is considered an important Buddhist complex. There are ancient stupas and ruins of monasteries.


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