Christian history is inseparable from world history. There are many locations in Europe and the Middle East from the history of Christianity that are still around today that can be enjoyed by the religious or even just those interested in history. Here are some of the top Christian-focused vacation destinations.
Considered a sacred land by Muslims, Jews, and Christians, Jerusalem is also known as the Holy Land. Things to see in Jerusalem include:
The Israel Museum – This museum, the largest in Israel, is home to the Dead Sea scrolls. Biblical enthusiasts enjoy the large, to-scale model of the city in ancient times. Archaeology exhibits give further insight into the history of this city.
Dome of the Rock – This gold dome-topped basilica is one of the most well-known landmarks in Jerusalem. The blue octagonal walls are decorated in Koranic verses written in calligraphy. While entrance is only granted to Muslims, this beautiful building, built in 691CE, is a sight to behold.
Temple Mount – This is arguably the most important site in Judaism, as it is believed to be the place where God created man. In the Bible this small mountain is the site where all government and religion should be centered.
Western Wall – Also known as the Wailing Wall, this wall all that is left of the Temple that was built on this site 2000 years ago. It is also one of the most important sites in Judaism and Christianity.
Rome and Vatican City
Numerous events in Christian history took place in Italy and The Vatican. There has been much conflict in Europe regarding popes, their power, and where they reside. When Italy became an independent state, the Pope remained in Vatican City which has since become a sovereign state.
St. Peter’s Basilica – Considered one of the most important sites in Catholicism, St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Christian church. The Pope makes appearances at several masses, and because of this many Catholics consider this church a site of pilgrimage.
Vatican City – Considered its own independent state within Rome, Vatican City is the home to the Pope and other major Catholic figures. While today many Christians do not identify as Catholic, the history of all Christian churches can be traced back to Catholicism and Vatican City.
Sistine Chapel – Many people flock to this beautiful church to see the ceiling painted by Michelangelo. This church is also the location of Papal conclaves in Vatican City. The first mass in the Sistine Chapel was held in 1483.
The German Catholic Priest Martin Luther, one of the most well-known figures in Christian history, made history as the pioneer of the Protestant Reformation. He wrote Ninety-Five Theses, which criticized abuse of power by the clergy and the idea that freedom from sin could be bought from the church. These ideas got him excommunicated and began the split of Christianity into Catholic and Protestant.
Wittenberg – This town was one of the main sites of the Protestant reformation. Historical locations that can still be visited include Martin Luther’s house, as well as the well-preserved Renaissance house of Phillip Melanchthon, a fellow reformer who worked with Luther.
Erfurt – Enjoy the architecture of the exquisite Gothic churches found in Erfurt. Martin Luther lived in this town, in the St. Augustine cluster, when he was a monk.
Eisleben – This town is Martin Luther’s birthplace. Travelers can visit his home and a museum dedicated to telling the story of his life.
Bavaria – See the world famous Oberammergau Passion Play, a play retelling the crucifixion of Christ that has been performed since 1634.
These are only a few of the Christian-focused travel destinations that are popular with travelers. Many Christian travel groups will combine multiple destinations, either traveling through Europe by bus or through Christian cruises that are now gaining much popularity. Because these trips are commonly group tours, travelers can find excellent rates on these trips, letting you experience the history of Christianity without breaking bank.
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