The Christian Bucket List: Top Ten Destinations
We all have them. Our list of destinations that peak to our hearts. Those places that we’re determined to visit one day, if only to see for ourselves if they measure up to our enchantment with them. Our Bucket List of Travel if you will. As a Christian immersed in the Bible, it is easy to forget that the locations discussed throughout actually exist and could be on that list of dream destinations. As grand as it would be to see the Eiffel tower for its sheer size and architectural complexity, compare it to seeing the world’s largest sculpture of Jesus in Bolivia. Contrast exploring the Grand Canyon with ascending the summit of Mt. Sinai, and standing in the footsteps of Moses. Gives a little more significance to the term trip of a lifetime doesn’t it? Read on for more locations that are sure to inspire.
*Bucket List Destination (BLD).
10. BLD: St. Peter’s Basilica
Location: Vatican City (Rome, Italy)
Biblical Importance: Known for its exquisite beauty and tranquility, St. Pete’s Basilica stands as the largest church in the world. It is located on the site where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, died a martyr and was buried in 64 AD.
9. BLD: Corinth
Biblical Importance: Walk in the footsteps of the apostle Paul by taking a journey throughout the ancient city of Corinth, the town that inspired 1 and 2 Corinthians. A short drive from the modern city of Corinth, many of the biblically significant locations remain, including the Bema, the public platform where St. Paul was forced to plead his case when the Corinthians hauled him in front of the Roman governor Gallio in 52 AD.
8. BLD: Capernaum
Biblical Importance: Located along the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum was the location of many of Jesus’s miracles and teachings. Home to his first converts, Andrew and Peter, Jesus healed many throughout his time hear. While visiting be sure to explore the Franciscan church built over what many consider to have been the home of St. Peter.
7. BLD: The Church of the Loaves and Fishes
Location: Tabgha, Israel/Palestine
Biblical Importance: Though it’s doubtful that the church is located on the exact spot in which Jesus fed the multitudes, the location of this church pays tribute to the area in which the miracle took place. Worth seeing for its’ architectural beauty and its lovely 5th century mosaic floors, which depict wildlife and florals from Galilee in intricate detail. Relics from the church of Jesus’s day remain and are preserved throughout the sanctuary.
6. BLD: Tomb of Lazarus
Location: Bethany, Jerusalem
Biblical Importance: Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead in the Book of John, and his sisters Mary and Martha lived in the city of Bethany. Jesus often stayed in their home when visiting the city. Accessed by ancient stone steps, what remains of the Tomb of Lazarus is located just up the hill from the Church of St. Lazarus, named for the one whom Jesus wept for. The Church bears a mosaic depicting the siblings, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus and is beautiful decorated with polished stones and mosaic works.
5. BLD: Mount Sinai
Biblical Importance: The location at which Moses received the Ten Commandments form God. Today Mt. Sinai is a destination known for its spectacular views and the monastery, St. Catherine’s, located at the base of the summit. The remains of various chapels and tributes line the route to the summit, which is referred to as The Path of Moses. Upon reaching the top of Mt. Sinai, one can visit The Chapel of the Holy Trinity, which was built using 6th century remains. The sunsets from the top of Mt. Sinai are said to be breathtaking in splendor.
4. BLD: Cristo de la Concordia/ Christ of Peace (World’s largest statue of Christ)
Biblical Importance: Not far from its’ more famous counterpart, the Christ the Redeemer statue of Brazil, the Cristo de la Concordia measures 33 m. tall. Sculptors say this is to pay tribute to the age Christ was at the time of his death. The sculpture features Christ with his arms outstretched in a welcoming manner and on Sundays, visitors are allowed to climb to its top to access stunning views of the local landscape
3. BLD: Basilica of the Annunciation
Location: Nazareth, Israel
Biblical Importance: The lower half of this church is located around the Cave of the Annunciation, where the angel Gabriel is said to have made the announcement to Mary that she would soon become pregnant with Jesus. The top half is a modern Catholic church topped with a 55meter high dome based on the Madonna lily, a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
2. BLD: Via Dolorosa
Biblical Importance: The route that Jesus took to his crucifixion and burial, the Via Dolorosa is, to many, the most important and symbolic location of any Christian pilgrimage. Though it is now lined with snack bars and tourist shops, those walking the 500 meter journey can look for the 14 Stations of the Cross, are incorporated along the route and marked with plaques explaining their significance. Weekly processions are led along the Via Dolorosa at 3pm on Fridays, which is approximately the time and day of the original events.
1. BLD: The Church of the Holy Sepulcher
Biblical Importance: Considered the holiest site in the world by many, The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is believed to comprise both Golgotha/Calvary, where Jesus was crucified, and the tomb where he was buried. Located inside the shrine, The Chapel of the Angel, features an altar containing a piece of the stone rolled away by angels at the Resurrection. Though this is an extremely popular tourist destination, there are several locations throughout the Church for quiet prayer and reflection. An ultimate for those who want to truly experience the life and ultimate love of Christ.
One of the best parts of travel is stepping away from the demands of daily life and allowing yourself to relax and decompress. Unfortunately, once the trip is over, travelers often feel sad that they must return to their daily lives of work and schedules. They bring back pictures and mementos and set their sights on the next vacation destination so they can relax once more. The beauty of visiting a holy site, however, is that, upon returning, your heart stays changed. You’ve walked where a King has walked, stood where a Disciple has stood. Returning home after doing so with the knowledge that those places exist? That they’re real? That’s a souvenir that you can’t get at any rest stop. Happy TravelsJ