Collected by Sherry Ott, AFAR Ambassador
Religious sites around the world worth seeing.
Sri Pada / Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka
We are born, and soon our little foot is being dipped in ink and imprinted on our birth certificates – marking our ‘official’ beginning. In Sri Lanka the birth of the main religions also came to life with a footprint – a sacred footprint. However...
Sri Dalada Veediya, Kandy 20000, Sri Lanka
One of the most famous temples in all of Sri Lanka is located in Kandy, the Temple of the Tooth (Sri Dalada Maligawa). It was built in the 17th century and proudly boasts it is the home of Buddha’s tooth. The tooth is kept in a two-story inner...
35 Rue du Chevalier de la Barre, 75018 Paris, France
At the summit of Montmartre, the highest point in the city, you'll find the Basilica de Sacré-Cœur. Contrasting with the Gothic churches like Notre-Dame, the Romano-Byzantine architecture is both beautiful inside and out. While...
Lebuh Muntri, George Town, 10450 George Town, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
The island of Penang is an interesting place. It has been a boiling pot of culture and religion for centuries due to its geographical location. This island has been a major port for a long time and it has seen an its cultural identity shift after...
Al Haram, Medina 42311, Saudi Arabia
A steady stream of pilgrims files past deserted merchant stalls. Sleek Mercedes and muscular Fords are forced to pull to the curb, unable to penetrate the accretion of foot traffic surging toward the end of the road. There, like Disneyland on...
20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK
William and Kate’s wedding brought a 21st-century focus to this 700-year-old abbey, which is built on the same spot as a Benedictine monastery enlarged by Edward the Confessor in the 1040s. The site of every coronation since 1066, it boasts...
Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
6 Parvis Notre-Dame - Pl. Jean-Paul II, 75004 Paris, France
For a first-time visitor to Notre Dame, investing in the audio guide is essential to immerse in and understand this overwhelmingly significant Paris icon. There's a lot to see and absorb—history, architecture, artifacts,...
Griboyedov channel embankment, 2Б, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 191186
Late summer is the time to explore the 42 islands that make up St. Petersburg. Daylight stretches past 11 p.m., and a burgeoning arts and nightlife scene keeps locals on their toes well into the bright nights. On July 31, the party hits the port...
Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab 143401, India
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of...
The view from Mohammad al-Amin Mosque womans prayer room hidden away above the men in Beirut, Lebanon. The mosque can easily be visited as long as it's not prayer time. Women can enter but are asked to put on a complete black gown and cover their...
Sultan Qaboos St, ولاية بوشر، Oman
Proportions can be deceiving in a mosque that is littered with superlatives – largest, biggest, most, prettiest are common words you hear when researching the mosque that was completed in 2001. The mosque’s total capacity is 20,000...
Sankt Annæ Gade 29, 1416 København, Denmark
You can see the black and gold spiral steeple of the Church of our Saviour, or Vor Frelsers Kirke, all over Copenhagen. It's not until you are standing beneath it you realize that golden spiral is actually a staircase—on the outside. If you are...
Triq San Gwann, Il-Belt Valletta, Malta
There are no words that can prepare you for the baroque interior of the St John's Co Cathedral in Malta. And that's a good thing, because the instant reaction as you step through the first set of doors is worth the admission price alone. I'm not...
50170 Mont Saint-Michel, France
It's safe to say there’s nothing in the world quite like this magical island, topped by a medieval monastery that rises out of the bay like a heavenly apparition. It’s said that, early in the 8th century, a bishop in nearby Avranches...
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