The world-famous monastic community of Mount Athos in northern Greece is reopening its doors to pilgrims and visitors after a months-long lockdown, according to an announcement on Tuesday.
Mount Athos, referred to in Greek as the “Holy Mountain”, is one of the most important centers of the Christian Orthodox world.
Whether they’re naturally formed or manmade, intricately detailed or strikingly simple, spiritual centers around the world offer a therapeutic place to reflect. Each has a fascinating past — some with roots in prehistoric times and many that have earned UNESCO World Heritage status. From an ashram in an Indian forest to a Buddhist temple on the island of Java to an incredible monolith in the desert plains of central Australia, we’ve rounded up eight spiritual centers that stand out from the multitude of others across the globe.
1. Angkor Wat
The architectural stand-in for Mount Meru — home of the gods in Hindu mythology — is considered the biggest religious monument in the world. Constructed between 1112 and 1152, the temple is part of Angkor, a UNESCO-protected archaeological park in Siem Reap, Cambodia.