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Pivotal Places of Pilgrimage – Part 1

Important Sites for Different Faiths

For as long as we can possibly recall humans have searched for meaning and answers to the many question’s life throws at us through whatever means seems most sensible to their mind. Some believe that science holds the truth to their existence, which is a relatively new way to live by considering the history and power of religion. Many still believe that are greater powers than that which we can explain, some of these faiths are also relatively new to humankind however many are thousands of years old. The world has become a diverse place where faith is concerned and it’s because of this that we find a plethora of hugely important sites all across the globe, each of them with a unique importance to a religion that in turn draw both pilgrims and tourists in from all over year after year.

Mecca

Region: Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Religion: Islam

Regarded as the holiest city of Islam, Mecca is the most important site of pilgrimage for Muslims from every corner of the world. Unlike most sites Mecca can only be visited by those that believe in the faith and every Muslim if able must visit the site at least once in their life. The site sees its largest number of visitors during the period of Hajj, which takes place during the twelfth month of the Islamic calendar named Dhul-Hijjah where Mecca sees more than six million pilgrims every year. Its importance comes from the origins of the faith founder Muhammed, it was here that he was born and also where he received his first revelation of the Quran, the holy text of the religion. Mecca’s importance can be seen in the everyday practises of the religion as it is the direction that every Muslim prays towards.

Vatican City

Region: Vatican City, enclaved within Rome

Religion: Catholic

Another infamous site of religious pilgrimage, Vatican City is the base of the Roman Catholic Church as well as the home of the Pope. The City first became an independent city-state in the 1929 however has been the centre of Roman Catholic operations for much longer than that. It has been home to the Pope since 1378 and as such has seen pilgrims travelling to the Holy See for hundreds of years. Unlike Mecca, Vatican City is open to all, tourists flock here to see St Peter’s Basilica which houses the tomb of the first ever Pope, St Peter the apostle who was both crucified and buried there. It is in fact, the largest church in the world and likely the most renowned work of renaissance culture in existence. The Sistine Chapel is another place that sees countless visitors thanks to the ceiling paintings by Michelangelo. This work of art was created between 1508 and 1512 and is considered to be one of the greatest artistic achievements of humankind in history, changing the face of Western art forever. Another major draw here are the Vatican Museums which contain some of the most notable works of Roman sculpture and Renaissance art from the Popes’ collections throughout history.