Intertwined with religion By: iOANNA stavrou

On my first journey i went to the beautiful Meteora in Greece. Meteora means hanged from nowhere. Meteora are what the Christian monasteries called. The area was covered by sea but a series of earth movements caused the seabed to withdraw. The mountains left, were continuously hit by strong winds and waves, which, in combination with extreme weather conditions, affected their shape. This is why the pillars are composed of sandstone and conglomerate. I was really lucky to see what the monks and nuns and what they did in a regular day. A typical day for the monks and nuns involves waking at 4:00 am, and 3 hours of praying – both in private and in the church. Then the monks and nuns carry out their assigned duties.In the Church there is beautiful iconography that covers almost all of the wall and all of the ceiling. For many centuries, the monks used scaffolds for climbing the rocks and getting supplies. The use of nets with hooks and rope ladders. Sometimes a basket was used, which was pulled up by the monks. Wooden ladders of 40 meters long were also used.The reason of why Meteora was built was because people wanted to be closer to god so they built their monasteries on top of these huge rocks!
Islam: After I spent 4 days in the beautiful monasteries at Meteora I flew to the Taj Mahal in India. The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and means crown of palaces, also it was built for the wife of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who was head-over-heels in love with Mumtaz Mahal, his dear wife. The Taj was built after the Emperor's wife passed away. It took 22 years to construct to the beautiful temple we see today, made from all white marble. legend says that he wanted to build a black one across the river but his sons made him hold back his plans so he never built a second one.I was allowed to go inside but I had to take my shoes off because it was the respectful thing to do. The inside is equally beautiful as the outside. Currently, only Muslims are allowed to worship at the site, offering Friday prayers at a mosque attached to the Taj Mahal.
Hinduism: Angkor Wat is a Hindu temple in Cambodia is were i went 5 days after the Taj Mahal. It consists of 100 temples and was built to honor the Hindu God Vishnu. Angkor Wat means temple city. In the 14th century the temple became a Buddhist temple. The temple's central tower is surrounded by four smaller towers and a series of enclosure walls, a layout that recreates the image of Mount Meru, a legendary place in Hindu mythology that is said to lie beyond the Himalayas and be the home of the gods.Although Angkor Wat is dedicated to Vishnu, the full purpose of the temple is still debated. One question is whether the ashes of Suryavarman II were interred in the monument, perhaps in the same chamber where the deposits were found. If that were the case it would give the temple a funerary meaning.
Buddhist: This famous Buddhist temple, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, is located in central Java. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,500 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. The significance of this temple is its the place of worship that symbolizes, fire, water, earth, wisdom, and air.
Judaism: Finally on my journey I went to the Dohány Street Synagogue. At the synagogue I found out many things about this religion. For example I found out that the synagogue is used to study the religion and its known as the house of prayer. Interestingly your learning ends when you have a bar mitzvah, however if you are very observant your learning can go on as long as you live. Also on the contrary of churches, synagogues do not pass around collection plates during services, this is largely because Jewish law prohibits carrying money on holidays and Shabbat. Shabbat and other holidays for Jews are to be with family and celebrate the practice of there religion. Also in the synagogue there is a Rabbi, this person supports and runs the services at the synagogue.

Credits:

Created with images by R924 - "iPhone Shots" • skeeze - "taj mahal mausoleum marble" • BlackCamel - "india agra marble" • Katzbach - "taj mahal india agra" • flickr.annieandrew - "P1010531" • VasenkaPhotography - "Anghor Wat, Cambodia" • VasenkaPhotography - "Anghor Wat, Cambodia" • VasenkaPhotography - "Anghor Wat, Cambodia" • Tokuriki - "Borobudur" • Justyn™ - "Borobudur" • Tokuriki - "Borobudur" • anthonycramp - "Borobudur" • rachel_titiriga - "Dohany Street Synagogue-062" • rachel_titiriga - "Dohany Street Synagogue-060" • rachel_titiriga - "Dohany Street Synagogue-035"

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