Holy Cities of the World
All the major religions of the world have cities that hold special significance to their religion. It may be the home of a religious leader, the birthplace of their god, or the location of an important temple or shrine. Many of these holy cities are important to more than one religion, which is a little more proof that we're all more alike than we are different. Let's take a look at just a few of the holiest cities in the world!
Holy City - Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel. Jerusalem is considered a holy city to Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike. The city is important to Christians and Jews because many important biblical events are said to have taken place in Jerusalem (both religions believe the Old Testament). Jerusalem is also mention in the Torah, which is an important Jewish text. Christians believe Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed visited Jerusalem, which is why it has importance to them as well.
Holy City - Bethlehem, Israel
Even if you're not a Christian, the name Bethlehem may ring a bell since it's mentioned in so many Christmas carols. This city is very important to Christians because it is the place where Jesus was born. Bethlehem has meaning for Muslims as well since they also believe in Jesus. However, unlike Christians, Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah - they think he was one of many prophets. The city also has some significance for Jews because it is the home of David in the Old Testament. The city of Bethlehem has been caught in the middle of ongoing Israeli/Palestinian fighting, with both sides claiming the city as their own.
Holy City - Lhasa, Tibet
Lhasa is the capital of Tibet and is where you'll find the palace that used to be home to the Dali Lama - the leader of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dali Lama fled to India after China occupied Tibet in 1951. He now lives in India, near the Tibetan border. Lhasa has many shrines, temples and other places of worship, including the Jokang, which is considered to be the holiest temple in Lhasa.
Holy City - Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Mecca (or Makkah) is a city in Saudi Arabia that is of major religious importance to Muslims. Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, who converted Arabia to Islam. One of the five duties of Islam is called the Hajj, which requires all able-bodied Muslims to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. There are about one billion Muslims worldwide so the city's economy easily thrives off the constant influx of worshipers.
Holy City - Varanasi, India
Varanasi is in North Central India and is a very sacred city to Hindus. It is also believed to be one of the world's oldest cities. Varanasi is on the shores of the Ganges River, which is also extremely important to Hindus. There are about 1,500 temples, shrines and other places of worship in Varanasi. Hindus believe that dying in this city allows them to enter into heaven. The city also has importance to Buddhists, who believe that Buddha began preaching just four miles outside of this city.