Sacred places fall into two basic types: one is found in nature; the other is built by the community. The two can also be combined.

Sometimes one religion drives out another and takes its place. Through conquest, churches have become mosques, and mosques have been transformed into churches. But sometimes a single site is holy to several religions at the same time.

Worshippers are often moved to go and visit particular sacred places, often travelling long distances. This phenomenon is called pilgrimage.

This exhibition space offers us a world tour of sacred sites through an audiovisual production, artefacts, and images. A young woman tells us the story of her pilgrimage to Mecca.

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The Maha Kumbha Mela

Allahabad, India — The Maha Kumbha Mela is the largest gathering in the world. In 2001, over 30 million people from different Hindu sects made their way to the Ganges to purify themselves in its sacred waters, sometimes travelling great distances.

© Peter De Mulder

Saint Joseph’s Oratory

Montréal, Canada – Saint Joseph’s Oratory on Mount Royal is a pilgrimage centre. It was founded by the recently canonized Brother André and is visited by close to two million people each year. The 99 wooden steps leading to the basilica are reserved for prayer and used by pilgrims, who climb the stairs on their knees.

© Douglas Keister/CORBIS

Theme of the Day


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Tell us about a religious holiday that is significant to you.

    • joe
    • August 22nd, 2012
    Christmas, because it brings family together, whether religious or not.
    • Sam
    • June 20th, 2012
    Even though I'm not sure God exists, I celebrate Easter and Christmas. These two holidays are an affirmation of how God really does love all of us. I have prayed many years but still have had no inspiration. I guess some people just have to wait. I hope I'll get a sign soon.
    • Anurb
    • April 15th, 2012
    The trees, the birds, the grass, the sun...nature in all her beauty. She is my God(dess).
    • GMD
    • April 10th, 2012
    April 21 Ridvan commemorating the day in 1863 when Baha'u'llah declared His Mission to the world. Since then His followers have encircled the earth with His love and unity.