Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Top 5: Places Of Worship Around The World

Churches, mosques and temples are always places which feature heavily on a tourist guide, and for good reason. They are such important spiritual and cultural places for a city, and for a community, and you can learn a lot about the people from a place by walking through their place of worship.

This post has actually been an idea I have had in drafts on the blog for some time, with a firm list that I had jotted down. But since then, I have been to India and Burma! And so now, as I come to write it for National Blog Post Month so many options for a Top 5 come to mind! It's much harder to decide on five than I had first thought!

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is and surely will always be number 1. Still in construction, having begun in 1882, I have seen the progress through photos of when my three sisters have visited at different intervals since I went in 2006. I have the romantic idea of going back to see it as a finished piece - which was going to be for my 40th, but based on current completion expectations, it may be closer to my 50th now!

There is so much more to it than I could explore in 2006, but then based on the plans, there is still so much more to be added. Truly remarkable church, and fest of art and architecture.

Walking into the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul in Turkey will always stay in my memory as one of the most breathtaking church and mosque. This building has actually served many, built in 537, it served as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral, then a Roman Catholic church, before it was then converted to a mosque in 1453, eventually becoming a museum as it is today in 1935. Definitely number 2 for this list.

But then, things get a little tricky! So many options from the places I have been (and I am not even contemplating places I have not been to!).

The Angkor complex, and iconic central Wat, can't not be on this list. Cambodia is one of my favourite place in the world, and crawling over this temple will always be something special I have done, even though I have visited three times now! It's still incredible, and there are always new aspects to see, different temples to visit.

The Golden Temple in Kyoto was another place of worship that sprung to mind fairly instantly. My visit there in 2005 still brings memories of peace and stillness, walking down to the waters edge through the wooded pathway.

Sticking to images of gold, Amristar in India and it's Golden Temple also needs to be on this list within the Top 5. Walking around the pool, and watching the people come to this most important Sikh temple was seriously awe inspiring. And so, so beautiful.

The spots around the world that I have been agonising about whether to slot them into this list include St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast with spire through the middle of it. I have entertained the notion of including the bizarre White Temple in Chiang Rai also comes to mind, and then needed to refrain from adding a host of individual temples we discovered in Bagan.

Of course, as an atheist and sports nut, it kind of goes without saying that the Melbourne Cricket Ground would be my personal preference as a most important and significant place of worship! For footy, for cricket. For hopes and dreams. For feats of strength and courage!

I sure there are a heap of holy places that I am missing, or forgetting through the strong memory or experience of these listed above.

What would yours be? Or where have I not included, that I should have?

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