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42 Stunning Sacred Places You Need To Visit Before You Die

Let's go on a spiritual journey!

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Iceland's largest church was completed and consecrated in 1986. Its design was inspired by the country's basalt lava columns and its spectacular landscapes. The Lutheran monument is dedicated to Hallgrímur Pétursson, one of Iceland's most celebrated poets.

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Varanasi, located on the Ganges, is one of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and attracts more than a million pilgrims every year. As described by Mark Twain, Varanasi "is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

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This wooden church, located northeast of Bergen, in Norway, was completed in the 12th century. It is one of the best preserved stave churches in the country, and an exceptional example of traditional Scandinavian wooden architecture.

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Mount Popa is a famous pilgrimage site that attracts thousands of people every year. Perched on top of the volcano, Taung Kalat is a Buddhist monastery only accessible after climbing 777 steps — not an easy walk, but the view once you get to the top is said to be amazing.

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Harmandir Sahib is the holiest place of worship for Sikhs. It opened in 1604, although much of its gilding dates back to the 19th century. The temple is opened to everyone, regardless of their gender or religion.

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The strikingly beautiful cathedral and its cloisters are almost a thousand years old. If the hallways of the cloisters look familiar, it's probably because parts of the Harry Potter movies were filmed there.

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The world-famous basilica has been in construction since 1866 and could be completed in the first third of the 21st century. In 1883, legendary architect Antoni Gaudí took over the project and decided to adopt a unique and monumental style. He worked on the basilica until his sudden death, in 1926. He is buried in the crypt of the basilica.

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The Golden Pagoda is Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist pagoda. The date of its construction is debated: Archaeologists say the Mon people built the pagoda some time between the 6th and 10th centuries CE, while legend says it has been around for more than 2,600 years.

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According to the story, in the 18th Century, an Amerindian woman and her mute and deaf daughter took shelter from a storm in the gorge where the cathedral is now located. There, the Virgin Mary appeared to them and the daughter was suddenly able to hear and speak for the first time. News of the miracle spread quickly and Las Lajas became a place of pilgrimage. The current cathedral was completed in 1949.

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Crater Lake was considered a sacred place by the Klamath people as well as other Native peoples from the area. According to the Oregon History Project, "while the establishment of a national park has interfered somewhat with both spiritual and subsistence activities, Crater Lake still holds a great deal of religious significance for the Klamath, who continue to use the area for religious and subsistence purposes."

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The Western Wall is the only structure left of the the Second Temple of Jerusalem after it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. It is a sacred place of prayer and pilgrimage in Judaism.

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Located in Tibet, Mount Kailash is a major Himalayan peak. It is also considered sacred by four different religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Bön) and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.

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In addition to being a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and one of the two biggest churches in the world, St. Peter's Basilica is also believed to be the burial site of Saint Peter, one of Jesus's apostles and the Church's first pope.

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Consecrated in 547, the church is one of the most remarkable early Christian monuments of Ravenna, an Italian city on the Adriatic coast. The church is famous for its rich and intricate mosaic art.

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Saint George is one of Lalibela's famous monolithic churches. The city, which churches date back to the 13th century, is a site of pilgrimage for members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.

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Probably Moscow's most famous landmark, St. Basil's Cathedral was consecrated in 1561. Its construction was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible. The basilica is considered by the Unesco as "one of the most beautiful monuments of Orthodox art."

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The site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is believed to the be the place where Jesus was crucified and later buried. The first church on the site was built by Roman emperor Constantine I, but the building as we see it today is mostly the result of a later construction that was consecrated in 1149.

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The monument's exceptional mix of Moorish and Renaissance architectures is a testimony of the rich religious history of Cordoba. The Grand Mosque of Cordoba was built in the 8th century and represented a bold and unique architectural achievement. The mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral in the 13th century, after the Reconquista.

The world is full of amazing sacred places and this is in no way a definitive list, so let us know in the comments which religious and spiritual places are worth a visit!

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