Places of worship have been built for thousands of years to allow people to gather together to worship the god or gods they believe in. A church or a temple can be as simple as a clearing in a forest or as elaborate as a golden building with enormous towers. No matter what you believe about religion, check out these wonders of both design and faith.
World’s Famous Places of Worship
10. ST. PETER’s BASILICA (ROMAN CATHOLICISM)
The world center of the Catholic faith is in Vatican City, which is actually its own very tiny country inside the city limits of Rome, Italy. The church was named after one of Jesus apostles. Construction began in 1506 and took more than a century. Popes live in buildings near the church, which features artwork by Michelangelo, Bernini, and other legendary figures.
9. ANGKOR WAT (BUDDHISM)
Cambodia is home to this collection of more than 100 gorgeous Buddhist temples. They were built from 800 to 1,200 years ago, mostly by Khmer people. The tallest of these temples stands at a staggering 204 meters.
8. DJINGUEREBER MOSQUE (ISLAM)
This is not the biggest or grandest mosque in the world, but it is one of the most unique places of worship. Located in Timbuktu, Mali, this is one of the largest buildings in the world made entirely of mud bricks. Local architects have constantly maintained the mosque since it was built in 1327.
7. HAGIA SOPHIA (ISLAM)
Located in Istanbul, Turkey, this massive building was once the centrepiece of the Christian church in the Eastern world, and later one of the largest mosques in the world. Built by Justinian in 537 CE, it was an Orthodox Christian Church until the Islamic Empire took over the city in 1453. This wonder of faith was turned into a museum to both faiths in 1935 by the Turkish government.
6. WESTMINSTER ABBEY (ANGLICAN CHRISTIAN)
British monarchs have been presented with their crowns in this London church since the eleventh century. It
has been renovated several times but remains the center of English religious life. Kings, poets, nobles, and others are buried within its crypts, making it a regular part of many London tourist trips. People around the world have watched several famous royal weddings take place there in this one of the unique places of worship.
5. WESTERN WALL (JUDAISM)
This is not actually a Jewish temple, but part of the outside of what was once large temple that was destroyed in 70 AD. However, its symbolic role in the Jewish religion remains large and thousands of people go to pray there every day. It is located in Jerusalem.
4. GOLDEN TEMPLE (SIKHISM)
This faith is practiced by more than 30 million people, mostly in India. The full name of this one of the famous places of worship is Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar, and it was completed in 1577. It has four entrances, which represent that people are welcome from any direction.
3. MEENAKSHI AMMAN (HINDUISM)
Hindu temples are among the world’s most elaborate and artistic. Tens of thousands of them are built throughout Asia. But many places of worship to this one in Madurai, India, as one of the most beautiful, built to honor a warrior-g0ddess named Meenakshi.
2. ST. BASIL’S CATHEDRAL (RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY)
Located on Moscow’s Red Square, St. Basil’s was completed in 1561 under the direction of Tsar Ivan the Terrible. Nine separate churches are contained in the group, many of which have the famous “onion dome” tops, decorated in bright colors.
1. MASJID AL-HARAM (MECCA – SAUDI ARABIA)
This is the largest mosque in the world. Locate In the city of Mecca, it is the world’s most famous place of worship towards which Muslims worldwide turn while offering daily prayers. Surrounding a cube called the Kaaba, it is Islam’s holiest place. When Muslim pilgrims make their once-in-a-lifetime trip to Mecca, they don white clothing and walk around the Kaaba nine times, joined by thousands of fellow Muslims. In fact, the area is so sacred that non-Muslims are not allowed into most areas of the Grand Mosque.
Though completed mostly in the sixteenth century, the site dates much further back in Islamic history, The prophet Muhammad (PBUH) returned to Mecca in 630 CE and established the city and the site as the centerpiece of the faith.
What is a Hajj?
All observant Muslims believe they must follow several key things which are known as the Five Pillars. The first is to believe in Allah as God and Mohammed (PBUH) as his Prophet. The second is to pray five times a day, the worship of Allah in a holy place called Masjid. The third is to do acts of charity (Zakat).
The fourth is the celebration of the annual fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The fifth is called the Hajj, a trip to Mecca. Every Muslim who is healthy and can afford it is supposed to make at least one Hajj in their lifetime. Pilgrims — and there are millions every year — must wear white, unstitched clothing. They walk in circles together around the Kaaba, praying and asking for forgiveness for sins.