Religious monuments are some of the most humbling and awe-inspiring destinations to travel to in the world. They are the truest representation of human brilliance and dedication to something higher than ourselves, and you can practically feel the reverence reverberating from the walls of these holy sites.
In this article, we’re going to show you some of the most beautiful holy sites in Europe, which is where many religious monuments can be found.
If you’re looking to make a religious pilgrimage or just want to see the wonder for yourself, then you’ve come to the right place. Read on for more.
Seven Pilgrim Churches of Rome, Italy
The most important place in the world for Catholicism is Rome, as the Pope and the Pope and the Catholic curia are found there. It also houses the tombs of Jesus of Nazareth’s apostles, namely Saint Paul and Saint Peter. If you’re looking to be totally awestruck, then this is the place to go.
At both of these places of rest, two breathtaking basilicas were constructed: the Basilica of St. Paul, which is found beyond the Walls, and the Basilica of St. Peter, which is 11km away at the Vatican and is known as the greatest Church in all of Christendom.
Sanctuary of Fatima, Portugal
Three shepherds believed that they were visited by the Virgin Mary in Cova da Iria in 1917, a location that their family owned. Soon enough, pilgrims started to arrive in Fatima, first illegally, until the Holy See, in 1930, approved the Shepherds’ tale of the apparition, and the government constructed the sanctuary.
These days, the Sanctuary of Fatima is still an incredibly important religious destination for Catholics, though there are also plenty of people that visit for its historical value. After they have taken several vows, believers are permitted to enter Fatima to pray to Mary or partake in the famously-impressive candlelight processions, which are performed monthly.
The pilgrimage route of Assisi was created near-spontaneously by combining a number of shorter pilgrimage routes in the vicinity, like La Casella, Verna, Montecasale, Cerbaiolo, and Montepaolo. The road extends through the breathtaking countryside of Italy, and believers feel that they are following the path of Saint Anthony and Saint Francis.
Those that take the pilgrimage follow the route that St. Francis of Assisi traveled during the Middle Ages. He made his way throughout Italy, then followed the Santiago Pilgrimage, as many of his companions and contemporaries did as well. Today, many visitors on the Pilgrimage to Assisi attempt to reconnect with nature, but there are many believers that follow the route as well.
Mount Athos, Greece
The oldest independent surviving monastic republic in the world is found here, at Mount Athos, and its origins are traced to the Byzantine area, which took place more than 1 000 years ago. Today, Athos is home to 20 monasteries that are currently active, in which 2 000 brothers reside.
The pilgrims that arrive here are moved not only by their faith but by historical attraction as well. Mount Athos remains one of the last artifacts of the Byzantine era. Interestingly, Athos remains closed to women, but those who are permitted can take in its rich collection of ancient books, holy relics, invaluable works of art, and various religious documents.
Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Spain
At the beginning of the 14th century, or the end of the 13th, Gil Cordero, a cattle herder born in Caceres, after seeing an apparition, found the Black Virgin image hidden deep in the Las Villuercas mountain ranges. From there, the sanctuary was founded and began taking in pilgrims from its closest surroundings.
Around 1330, King Alfonso VI of Castile and Leon came to the area, and he was the one to encourage the Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe’s initial construction in 1337, which caused more pilgrims to make their way to the sanctuary. Furthermore, a road network was created, as well as natural and cultural corridors, leading to a tangible and oral tradition lasting centuries.
A group of archaeologists and researchers, in 2008, studied the Stonehenge complex and determined that, over 3 000 years ago, the location was a place of pilgrimage for the sick, who believed that the stones would be able to heal them.
Pagan traditions shroud the mystical locations of Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor, which are found in the heart of the English countryside. Stonehenge was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and its construction dates back to 2600BC.
If the mood grabs you while you are in the UK, you can also check out Urquhart Castle, Scotland’s Magical Loch Ness Castle.