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 12 — #’s 56-60
56. La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain — Picture a cavernous room with hundreds of red and white, candy-striped arches and you have an image of the interior of La Mezquita, the most important attraction in the royal city of Cordoba. This fine example of Moorish architecture was originally a mosque (784-1236), then converted to a Catholic Church, and is now a museum.
57. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain — One of the most celebrated churches in the world is this partially completed structure in the wonderful city of Barcelona. The church was designed and begun by Antoni Gaudi, the epitome of the Modernist movement in architecture.
58. Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA — The chapel is popular with pilgrims and tourists because of its “miraculous staircase” which was built by an unknown man seemingly without adequate support.
59. Lutheran Cathedral, Helsinki, Finland — This beautiful, pure white church dominates Senate Square in downtown Helsinki. It has become a symbol of the city.
60. Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong, China — This active Buddhist temple is a popular stop for tourists in Hong Kong. It is constantly filled with the smoke and smell of incense.