Traveling Religious Landscapes #Livingculture

These are pictures of St. Peter's Basilica and also a nativity scene. The top right shows the decoration of the celebration of Christmas.

December 25: It's December 25th and I'm in the Vatican City, the head of Catholicism/Christianity in Italy. Today is Christmas where Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I see Christmas trees, evergreen trees decorated with lights and ornaments, I see the Nativity scenes of Jesus' birth. After I settle in to my hotel, I go to St. Peter's Basilica. This is a large cathedral where St. Peter was crucified. When I walk in, I see a mass starting. This is a worship service for Catholic Christians. All along the walls are huge stained glass windows. After I left the church, around the city I could see many local structures with similar architectural characteristics as the cathedrals. Also many tourist attractions like hotels and gift shops. Later that day I ran into someone while I was exploring and they told me how they were here on a pilgrimage, to reflect and pray in the holy land. I could see that the scared sites here in Vatican city really brought people in, changing the cultural landscape around it.

These are pictures of the Western wall and people praying there

December 28 : I am now across the Mediterranean Sea, in Jerusalem, Israel. I am here to see the Western Wall, the holiest of Jewish sites. It is a remnant of the Herodian retaining wall that used to enclose and support the Second Temple. When I finally visited it I saw many people praying against the wall to worship. At the bottom of the wall there have been written prayers stuffed in the cracks of the stone. The star of David runs throughout the city and the historic-like structures, like the use of limestone and box-like building, are a reminder and a form of reflecting Judaism. The cultural landscape is being affected by the religious community, stemmed from the sacred site.

On the left is the Maya devi Temple, on the right is the Lumbini German temple

January 2nd: Today I have travelled to Nepal to see the Buddhist sacred site, Lumbini. This is the birthplace of the Buddhist Lord Buddha. I see many men dressed in civaras, long robes, and malas, which are religious bracelets. The holy site of Lumbini is enclosed by a border of a large monastic zone. In this zone only monasteries are allowed to be built. This greatly affects the cultural landscape because having no shops, restaurants, etc. changes the view, land, and culture of the surrounding area. Also an affect in landscape is where you can build roads in relation to the sacred site. All the local areas and communities reflect Buddhism.

Ganges River and people bathing/ praying in the Ganges.

January 5: My trip now brings me to India where over 80% of people are Hindu. I set out to see the Ganges river, a sacred place for Hindus. When I am there I can see many people bathing in the river. I can see a man throwing ashes into the river as well. They believe the water is holy and causes remission of sins. Hinduism is an ethic religion, it is has a concentrated spatial diffusion. This makes Hinduism largely connected to its local landscape and physical traits. This a perfect example of religion shaping cultural landscape. They having spiritual bathing ponds and gardens, and because Hinduism is so dense in India, the religion is everywhere and is evident in so much of the culture landscape.

The Ka'ba in Saudi Arabia

January 8th: Today I am in Saudi Arabia to see the Ka'ba, a stone square building in the center of the Great Mosque at Mecca. The Muslims must pray facing it during their worship. This is the holiest of sites for Islam. The cultural landscape is affected by the Muslim concentrated area around it. In many of buildings in those communities I see marble used in the structure, influenced by architecture of the Great Mosque. Also the use of the color gold is because of the Meezab-i Rahmat, a rainwater spout made of gold. As I am in Saudi Arabia I can recognize how the cultural landscape showcases Islamic attributes.

Credits:

Created with images by Unsplash - "cross sky clouds" • RonPorter - "vatican city st peters" • Carlo Mirante - "Roma 24 dicembe" • bshamblen - "St. Peter's Basilica" • Trishhhh - "DSC_0400" • kellinahandbasket - "Wailing Wall/ Western Wall" • paularps - "Prayers at the Wailing Wall (Jerusalem, Israël 2013)" • kasio69 - "_BRK2917 Devotion" • taylorandayumi - "Lumbini" • mattjkelley - "ganges" • alexanderwragge0 - "varanasi ganges india" • Camera Eye - "Holly Ka'ba"

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