The 100 Most Holy Places on Earth

This series explores the most sacred places on Earth across all diverse religions. Learn about ancient Buddhist temples and more modern consecrated houses dedicated to God.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

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Some people still get chills as they reminisce about the first time they walked into a grand cathedral, enveloped by the magic of a Christmas Eve service amidst a bustling urban setting. Others have experienced spiritual bliss during an exploration through a secluded forest where the serenity of nature intertwined with their spirituality. And for many, a sense of God or higher power can be almost overwhelming when visiting a historical marker from the past, serving as a poignant testament to bygone eras.

While it is undeniable that one can forge a profound connection with their faith anywhere on this vast planet, certain locations have emerged as significant faith locations, deemed sacred by one or many religious traditions spanning the globe.  

Temples, resplendent gardens, ancient shrines and even majestic mountains fall into the sacred category, annually attracting the faithful, seekers and curious tourists seeking solace, transcendence and connection. 

Patheos exists to help provide information, stories and conversation that leads to understanding, empathy and acceptance of all faiths. In pursuance of this mission, we have curated what we are proudly calling "Sacred Spaces: The 100 Most Holy Places In The World."

We are acutely aware that the evaluation of holiness is up for debate and inherently intertwined with subjectivity.  For some, No. 95 on the list could be a person’s No. 1 and vice versa. Personally, I hold dear a small bedroom in a suburban house where I first fell to my knees as a little boy and talked to God.  This cherished space won’t make the list. And I’m OK with that.

Our objective entailed crafting a compilation that captivates, educates and entertains, all the while stimulating conversation, rekindling treasured memories and perhaps, inspiring some amazing new voyages in the days ahead.

For this collection, Patheos enlisted the expertise of Alonzo L. Gaskill, Ph.D., and renowned world religion expert who provided research and content.  Dr. Gaskill’s expertise and understanding of religious traditions ensure an authentic and insightful exploration of each sacred location. 

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How We Made the List

To create this list we used an algorithm that considered multiple factors and parameters. These included the number of faiths attributing sacred or holy status to each site, the frequency of online searches for each location, actual visitors to the physical location and most notably, final voting by our editorial staff and a mixture of religious leaders and scholars who contribute to Patheos. 


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