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Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers

Albina PanchenkoNews
The main directions of pilgrimage

Traveling to holy places for the purpose of spiritual enrichment, forgiveness of sins, or religious rites was known thousands of years ago. Back then, people used to walk hundreds of kilometers to get closer to Jesus, Alah, Buddha... Years pass, but the tradition of making pilgrimages to religious sites does not disappear. So we have prepared a selection of cities that are most often chosen for spiritual tourism.

Christian shrines

We can talk for a long time about Israel or Rome, which, of course, are centers of Christian pilgrimage. But there are other cities that are no less important for representatives of the world's most widespread religion.

  • Wittenberg (Germany)

This city was made famous by Martin Luther, who changed the basic principles of the Catholic Church, which led to the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. Here you can visit the Wittenberg Castle Church, where a medieval priest pinned his 95 theses on the door of the church about the abuse of indulgences and their impunity.

  • 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 Camino de Santiago and visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

  • 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 here that open their doors to believers every year. This place of pilgrimage attracts those people who seek to get closer to God by climbing to the top of the mountain.

Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers
  • Al-Azaria (Bethany, Israel)

It is the hometown of Lazarus, whom Jesus Christ raised from the dead on the fourth day. Here you can visit the first tomb of the bishop and many other holy sites.

  • Lourdes (France)

This city 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 daughter of a miller, but later the clergy listened to her words. Thus, the Shrine of Bernadette and the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception were built in Lourdes, where Christians from all over the world come to visit.

Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers

Islamic shrines

Adherents of the second largest religion have many holy sites around the world. They come here to unite and perform important spiritual rites together.

  • Mecca (Saudi Arabia)

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

  • Medina (Saudi Arabia)

Medina is the second most important city for Muslims. It is home to the Masjid al-Nabawi, where Mohammed is buried. It is a pilgrimage site that is visited to get closer to the last prophet and visit the magnificent mosque.

Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers
  • Jerusalem (Israel)

Jerusalem is the last of the three holiest places for Muslims. It is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which can accommodate 5,000 people at a time. Adherents of Islam associate this place with the night journey of Mohammed and his ascension to heaven.

  • Kerbala (Iraq)

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

  • Kairouan (Tunisia)

The ancient city attracts Muslims from all over the world thanks to the Ukba Mosque, an important religious building. Once the holy capital of Tunisia, Kairouan is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers

Buddhist shrines

Adherents of this philosophical and religious movement believe that by following the Buddha's teachings they will reach enlightenment. Therefore, they visit holy places to feel the support of their teacher and become a little closer to him.

  • Bodh Gaya (India)

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

  • Varanasi (India)

Varanasi is considered the place of the Buddha's first preaching after his enlightenment. Here he first came to people and founded his monastic community. This city is home to the Dhamek, a large stupa that is a symbol of Buddhism.

Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers
  • Lumbini (Nepal)

Buddhists believe that Siddhartha Gautama was born here. Here you can see a memorial sign 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 buildings in the world. This majestic temple is considered a holy place because it contains a hair of the Buddha.

  • Sigiriya (Sri Lanka)

An impressive fortress built on a 370-meter granite cliff is considered an important Buddhist complex. Ancient stupas and monastery ruins are located here.

Pilgrimage to holy places: which destinations to choose for a spiritual journey for believers

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