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 28 — #’s 136-140
136. Valle de los Caidos, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain — A huge, cement cross marks the location of this Catholic Basilica which was built to honor those who died in the Spanish Civil War. Also buried here is General Francisco Franco who ruled Spain from 1939 until 1975 (many still come to spit on his grave).
137. Via Doloroso, Jerusalem, Israel — The Via Doloroso, the Way of Sorrow, is the route that Jesus Christ supposedly traveled with his cross to the site of his crucifixion. Pilgrims are constantly walking this route and stopping at the “stations of the cross” along the way. The various “stations” are depicted on the walls in most Catholic churches.
138. Wailing (Western) Wall, Jerusalem, Israel — One of Judaism’s most sacred places is this last, remaining section of Solomon’s Temple. Jews from all over the world come here to pray and to leave requests in the spaces between the stones.
139. Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand — The distinctive Temple of Dawn, as Wat Arun is often called, is a prominent landmark on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The main tower, or prang, is decorated with colorful porcelain tiles.
140. Wat Benchamabophit, Bangkok, Thailand — The main building of this elegant complex is also known as the Marble Temple because of its gleaming white marble.