I have visited many churches, temples and synagogues during my travels. In honor of Lent, some of my favorites through the years . . .
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal (Montreal, Canada)
The effect of the light and the intricacy of the scenes portrayed in black walnut is breathtaking. For detailed photos of the Crucifixion, Last Supper, and more go here.
I also loved the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Sacre-Coeur, which was restored after a fire, in 1978, with beautiful modern linden wood and bronze altarpiece.
Church of St. Elisabeth (Bratislava, Slovakia)
I visited the Church of St. Elisabeth, also know as “The Blue Church” in Bratislava’s Old Town. It is not just the sanctuary that boasts a Carolina blue color scheme, the cathedral’s outer walls and roof are glazed blue as well. It is a Hungarian Secessionist Catholic Church, constructed from 1907-1908, in honor of Elisabeth of Hungary, the daughter of Andrew II.
Church of the Assumption (Jerusalem, Israel)
It is beyond difficult to highlight one “favorite” religious site from my travels in Israel – from praying at the Wailing Wall to visiting Capernaum where Jesus chose his disciples it was an unforgettable experience. One of my favorite places I visited in Jerusalem was the Church of the Assumption, at the foot of Mount of Olives, where it is believed by Eastern Christians that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was buried.
16th Street Baptist Church (Birmingham, Alabama, USA)
W.E.B Dubois, May McLeod Bethune, Paul Robeson, and Ralph Bunche all spoke at 16th Street Baptist Church, a gathering place known as “everybody’s church” to African Americans in Birmingham and surrounding towns.
The church served as a central meeting place for Civil Rights leaders and became known to the world on Sunday, September 15, 1963 after a bomb exploded, taking the young lives of four girls attending Sunday School. Today the church still has an active congregation and tomorrow celebrates their 50th Civil Rights Movement Anniversary. Visiting Birmingham? In addition to a stop by 16th Street Baptist Church, a visit to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a must.
Sistine Chapel (Apostolic Palace, The Vatican City)
No list of my favorite religious sites would be complete without mentioning the Sistine Chapel. It was frustrating to not be able to remain very long – the short tour made it impossible to take in everything and appreciate the artistry. Photography is not permitted inside the chapel, but my photo of the hallway inside the Vatican gives you a brief glimpse of the beauty everywhere one turns in the Vatican. Go here for photos of the chapel.