Small World, Large Religious Landscape Andrew Gaschen, Part time student, Full time international explorer

December 25, 2016

Today I began my journey to visit 5 of the largest architectural sites of the worlds 5 largest religion. Today I am visiting the hearth of the Roman Catholic branch of the Christian Religion.This is the main church for the pope, which is the leader of Catholicism. It is one of the biggest churches in the entire world and the pope gives many speeches and does Sunday masses in this church. The entire city is full or catholic citizens, and being here on Christmas was one of the best days of my entire life. The whole town is quite gorgeous, but my research of religious architecture had me focused on the St. Peters Basilica, or the main church. The church was quite massive from the outside, and it has a renaissance feel to it, as it was built in the renaissance. The inside is truly stunning, as it has many beautiful hand-painted paintings and mosaics, and the large dome has many Latin words inscribed inside of it, as the mass used to be only said in Latin.

These are some images of the entire Vatican City, but most are of St. Peters Basillica

January 1, 2017

Today i decided to visit the western wall at the temple mount in Jerusalem. Today is the last day of Hanukkah, so there are many Jews in this area, as it is a holy site.The only wall remaining of the most holy temple, the Western wall was the last wall standing after the Romans destroyed the Temple Mount, and it is now the most holy site in all of Judaism. Many people come here to pray, and it has even earned the nickname the “wailing wall” because of how sincere and extreme the prayers that are said at this wall are. The Western Wall of the Temple Mount is a wall that clearly looks like it used to part of a larger structure, which it was. All of the crevices in the wall are filled with prayers, and there is a Muslim mosque visible behind the wall, the Al-Asqa mosque to be specific.

Heres some images of jerusalem, but more specifically the Western Wall at the Temple Mount.

January 7, 2017

After a long car ride to Saudi Arabia, I arrived in the Islamic holy city of Mecca.This is the main mosque in the birthplace of their prophet Muhammad, and this is the birthplace of the religion of Islam. It is the most holy place in all of Islam, and when Muslims pray, they all face toward Mecca. The mosque here was quite incredible, and seeing the sight of all the Muslims praying really showed me the impact of religion. In Mecca, I specifically visited the Masjid al-Haram, which is the largest mosque in the entire world. The mosque is absolutely massive, covering over 88 acres of land. There are many large pillars, and there are outside and inside prayer areas. I (illegally) faked being a Muslim to enter the city of Mecca, as you must be a Muslim to enter the city and the mosque, so I was wearing the white clothing traditionally worn. The whole complex was surrounding the Kaaba, Islams holiest place. The carrying capacity of the building is expected to soon be over 30 million.

Images of Majid al-Haram and the city of Mecca.

February 1, 2017

After getting a car ride as far as i possibly could and then getting a ride by a mule drawn carriage, I finally arrived at one of the most holy sites in all of Hindi: the Gangotri Temple in the Uttarkashi District of India.This was supposedly the birthplace of the holy river of Ganga when King Bhagirath prayed for it, this is where thousands of people come to wash away their sins in the Ganges river, since it is the holy river. It was made in the 18th century, so it has a very old timely feel to the building. It is not a relatively large, and it is all white with red detailing around the building. The inside is quite beautiful, and it is right near the Ganges river so it allows for easy access to the religions most holy river.

Photos of the Gangotri Temple

March 1, 2017

After traveling back to an area with an airport, I took a flight to Bodh Gaya with a layover in Delhi, India, but i could not make my layover flight! I was furious! It took only 2 days off of my timing, but i eventually made it to the fifth and final sacred site, the Mahabodhi Temple, which is a Buddhist temple.This is the temple where Buddha, the most enlightened man to ever live in the entire Buddhist religion and what most of the religion is based off of, was said to learn his total enlightenment. This is the most sacred place in the Buddhist world, so many come here to become enlightened. It has a massive pyramid type structure on the top, and has many monks that live and meditate there. There is also a lake and many trees, but one holy tree called the mahabodhi tree, which 2 years ago was attempted to be blown up by an Islamic terrorist group.

Photos of the Mahabodhi Temple
Created By
Andrew Gaschen


Created with images by yarra64 - "Dome of Saint Peters" • Stizod - "Top of St. Peter's" • WikimediaImages - "balcony niche facade" • tpsdave - "saint peter's basilica rome italy" • RobertCheaib - "saint paul san paolo san" • neiljs - "Galleria delle Carte Geografiche, Vatican City" • piet theisohn - "St. Peter" • CShin - "peter cathedral saint peter's cathedral" • neiljs - "Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City" • hoyasmeg - "al-Aksa (al-Aqsa) Dome from outside the wall_1817" • lyng883 - "DSC04617-The Western Wall or Wailing Wall" • ddouk - "palace of justice jerusalem architecture" • bluskyhi - "israel jerusalem universal church" • DEZALB - "jerusalem mosaic wall" • Buecherwurm_65 - "jerusalem old town city wall" • IrinaUzv - "olive trees jerusalem israel" • RonAlmog - "Jerusalem" • soham_pablo - "Mecca Masjid" • GLady - "mecca mina buildings" • forzaq8 - "Holy Kaabah" • Camera Eye - "Holly Ka'ba" • GLady - "mecca statue buildings" • mohamedn - "L1000476" • mfk - "mecca the pilgrim's guide buildings" • nuaimat - "2011-08-15 22.46.52" • GLady - "mecca mina buildings" • ivabalk - "desert mountains landscape" • jakman1 - "al abrar mecca architecture building" • Matt Stabile - "Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya" • Matt Stabile - "Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya" • Matt Stabile - "Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya" • Matt Stabile - "Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya" • Matt Stabile - "Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya" • Matt Stabile - "Mahabodhi Temple Complex, Bodhgaya"

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