Sensoji Temple in Japan
Legend says that two brothers fished out of the Sumida River Khannon – Buddhist goddess of fortune and success. This temple was build in that place to honor the goddess. Information I found on the website of Japan Tourist Bureau suggests this temple has around 30 million visitors a year.
Basilica of the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe in Mexico
It is believed that in 1531 in Tepeyac Hill (which is located to the northwest of the existing Mexico City location) Virgin Mary appeared to a poor peasant named Juan Diego. Believers claim that after this meet the peasant’s cloak had Virgin Mary’s face imprint on it. As of today, this cloak hangs over the altar of the Holy Virgin of Guadalupe basilica. In spite of several controversial opinions Pope John Paul II in 2002 declared Juan Diego a saint.
Vatican in Italy
The Vatican is the official residence of the leader of the Catholic Church. This country is not only the home of Pope but also is the home country of architectural wonders like the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica that is named after the very first Pope whose tomb is under the building’s altar. UNESCO World Heritage Center has called this the most significant sacred building on the planet. Every day approximately 10,000 people visit this place, but the Vatican as a whole has more than 18 million visitors a year.
Imam Reza shrine in Iran
Iran’s holiest city name translates as place of place of martyrdom as it was dubbed by the eighth Shiite imam Reza who is a direct descendant of Mohammed. Imam tombs is the most important Shiite holy site in Iran which is annually visited by 20,000,000 people.
Notre Dame de Paris in France
This house of God was dedicated to the Virgin Mary by the bishop of Paris in the 12th century. Gothic monument played a significant role in various important historical events taken place in France, for instance, the church was plundered during the French Revolution, Napoleon proclaimed himself an emperor in it and many others. Today it functions as the Roman Catholic cathedral each year welcoming more than 13 million visitors.
Aparecida do Norte in Brazil
City of Aparecida in Brazil is the largest Christian holy place in South America that annually attracts close to 8 million tourists. There’s a large shrine in the center of it that is built around 18th century after fisherman had pulled out a headless Virgin Mary statue. In 1955 locals build one more basilica that can host up to 45,000 Christians meaning it’s the second largest in the world.
Imam Husayn Shrine in Iraq
For Shiite Muslims the crypt of Muhammad’s grandson is the most important object outside Mecca and Medina. Special ritual that commemorates the saint’s death called Arbaeen attracts millions of pilgrims year to year. Previous year more than 7 million Muslims performed Karbala annual ritual in front of the crypt.
Varanasi in India
Varanasi is located on the banks of river Ganges, and is considered the home town of the Hindu deity Shiva. Every year millions of people come here to allow the holy river to wash away their sins, or to drown in it. For Hindu people going to Varanasi means liberation from the cycle of rebirth.