Posted on Feb 15, 2012 | Comments 0
There are dozens of wonderful destinations located throughout the world that are known as holy sites. These locations attract millions of visitors each year as well as pilgrimages. Here are some of the most famous holy sites on the planet.
1. Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico has always been one of the world’s most religious locations as the image of Our Lady ofGuadalupe has been a holy symbol for Catholics there for centuries. It became well known way back in 1531 when a man said he met the Virgin Mary on a local hill.
In the 18th century a basilica was built that commemorated the apparition. Another basilica was then erected in the 1970s while the first one was being restored. The newer basilica is actually the second-most visited Catholic religious building on the globe, with the Vatican being number one.
2. Lourdes France
A vision of Virgin Mary was seen in this town back in 1858 several times by a 14-year-old girl. Word spread quickly and the following year thousands of people started to visit this small and charming town. It’s believed that approximately 200 million people have visited Lourdes since 1860.
The visions were seen at the Grotto of Massabielle, which is now located in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes. Visitors bathe in and even drink the water that comes from the spring in the grotto because it’s reported to contain special healing properties.
3. Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem is the home to several religions such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It’s been known as one of the holiest cities in the world for over 3,000 years now. There are numerous sites in Jerusalem that have religious significance. These include the Western Wall, which is located in the Old City.
The Western Wall is a popular place for contemplation and prayers. Some of the city’s other famous holy sites include the Dome of the Rock, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
4. Bodh Gaya, India
It’s believed that Gautama Buddha was enlightened here around 500 B.C. This north-eastern city is a very important Buddhism pilgrimage site and the Dalai Lama often visits it. Among the most well-known sites in Bodh Gaya is the amazing Mahabodhi Temple, which is believed to have been founded by Emperor Asoka way back in 250 B.C.
5. Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The Hajj is known as the biggest annual pilgrimage in the world as approximately 3 million pilgrims travel to Mecca each year. It’s known as the holiest city by the Islamic faith and it’s the birthplace of Mohammed, who was the founder of Islam and was born there in 570. Legend says he started preaching in Mecca in the year 610. The Masjid al-Haram is located there, which is the largest mosque in the world.
6. Fatima, Portugal
Three peasant children claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in this lovely Portuguese town back in 1917. Ever since, people reported instances of miracle and visions in Fatima and it quickly became one of the most popular Catholic destinations in Europe.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima was built in 1953 and two of the children who saw the vision of Virgin Mary are buried here. The town attracts close to 4 million visitors each year. There’s a statue ofthe Virgin Mary in the basilica in the same location where her vision appeared.
7. Lumbini, Nepal
It’s believed that this is the birthplace of Buddha, who was born in the shadow of the Himalayan Mountains about 563 B.C. Buddha reportedly lived in the region for several decades. It’s a very popular spot with pilgrims from all over the world as they meditate and chant there each day.
The ruins of several ancient monasteries are still here along with some new ones. One of the most impressive is the Maya Devi Temple, which was named after Buddha’s mother and opened in 2003. The temple was built in the spot that Buddha was reportedly born on.
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