Churches and other religious/spiritual sites are some of the world’s most important attractions for travelers. The are typically the focal point of a city or village and reflect the culture and values of the region. Churches, especially, are significant architecturally and represent the best efforts of a community to express itself. Lee & I have been to hundreds of churches in our travels. Many of these have become unforgettable memories of a particular place. To actually rank these sites is virtually impossible. How can you choose between amazing sights such as Hagia Sophia, the Pantheon, and Mont-St-Michel? Therefore, I will present my favorite 150 spiritual places in installments of five (5), listed alphabetically. Many of my choices are World Heritage Sites and deserve to be preserved forever. Many are simply charming or may hold some special historical significance. Peruse the list and compare your list to mine. Obviously I have not been to all the spiritual places on Earth, but most of these would probably make the all-time list of the majority of world travelers.
Installment 4 — #’s 16-20
16. Bern Munster, Bern, Switzerland — “Munster” means cathedral in German, so this dark and rather foreboding church is the cathedral of the Swiss capital city. The most famous feature of the Munster is the incredible carving above the main door, a depiction of heaven and hell.
17. Statue of Faith, Jaffa, Israel — This archway or gate is carved with scenes from the Bible. Because of its location atop Tel Jaffa, the site offers commanding views of the beaches and cityscape of nearby Tel-Aviv.
18. Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey — The glorious Blue Mosque, named for the prominent color of its interior, is one of only a few mosques in the world which contains six (6) minarets.
19. Byodo-In Temple, Honolulu, Oahu — This Buddhist temple on the island of Oahu is an exact replica of the original temple in Japan. It is a reminder of the large population of Japanese-American who have settled in the Hawaiian Islands. The temple is a remarkable location for contemplation, silence, and solitude.
20. Campo dei Miracoli, Pisa, Italy — The “field of miracles,” as it has come to be known, is broad, flat, public space which contains a remarkable ensemble of religious buildings. Besides the famous Leaning Tower of Pisa, the field also features the Duomo (cathedral) of Pisa as well as the associated Baptistry.