Posted by: faithtravelfocus | March 8, 2010

A Faith Travel Bucket List

Do you have a travel bucket list? You know, a list of all those places you want to touch before you die? The best experiences combine faith sites and study with other things that magnetize destinations. These are the don’t-misses on our faith travel list:

Israel: Behold! The Promised Land of the Bible. . .Jerusalem is the centerpiece and home to millennia of history. Your Bible study will come to life at sites like Gethsemane, Caesarea, the Sea of Galilee and Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul.

Jordan: The other side of the Holy Land, with one of the world’s most awesome sites: the pink rock city of Petra. Jesus’ baptismal site, Mount Nebo where Moses stood to see the Promised Land; and Madaba, the city of ancient mosaics and the oldest known map of Bible lands are some of what defines Jordan’s pieces of Christian heritage.

Egypt: A timeless land where God appeared to Moses in the burning bush on Mount Sinai and the pharaohs enslaved Israelites for four centuries. Good to combine a visit with Jordan and Israel. A Nile cruise can transport you to Luxor and the mysterious Valley of the Kings. Along the way, learn how early Christianity flourished in this land.

Turkey: Home to one of early Christendom’s greatest churches, Hagia Sophia; Ephesus, the ancient trade city where the disciple John and apostle Paul lived and preached; the Seven Churches of Revelation; and Mount Ararat where some believe Noah’s ark rests.

Greece: The islands where Paul preached, and archaeological remnants of ancient and Greek civilizations sear the memory. Stand on the Acropolis and survey the Athens of the ages, then ride a funicular to a hilltop restaurant to watch the Acropolis light up as night falls. Unforgettable deposits for the memory bank! For a more comprehensive journey in Paul’s footsteps, include Corinth, Philippi, and Thessaloniki and other cities mentioned in the Bible.

Italy: There is only one Rome, and its links with Christendom’s 2,000 years are great. In Jesus’ day, it was the center of the world, and it’s mentioned many times in the Books of Roman and Acts. Italian cities and villages have some of the greatest churches in the world, with St. Peter’s in Rome being the hub. Tour The Vatican for its history and stunning art like the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Then wander the countryside to see more temples of faith and art, along with stunning scenery and cultural encounters.

England: Christianity came to Britain in the sixth century, and in subsequent era, many prominent personalities, writers, movements and historical events shaped contemporary faith expression. Some Christian tours of England focus on the roots of denominations like Methodism and Baptist. Others explore the lives of people like C. S. Lewis and John Wesley. Minsters in London (Westminster) York, Canterbury and Durham are historic halls of the faith that should not be overlooked.

Scotland/Ireland: The hauntingly beautiful Hebrides Island of Iona was an early center of Christianity. Monks took their message of faith into North England and other parts of Europe. A journey through central Scotland takes one through Scotland’s Reformation era, including St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, home pulpit of reformer John Knox. The beautiful seaside town of St. Andrews has majestic cathedral and castle ruins as well as golf history. The west coast of Ireland is location for The Saint Patrick Centre and exhibits that chronicle the great saint’s life and work. Monasteries, abbeys and giant standing crosses mingle with the natural beauty and friendliness of the locals, castles, country inns and ancestral homes of many travelers.

Germany/Switzerland: The 16th century European Reformation began in these countries, and the faith traveler may follow the lives and events put into motion by men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli. This year’s Passion Play performances in Oberammergau are drawing people to these itineraries where Alpine scenery and cathedrals lift the spirit.

USA: America was founded on Christian beliefs, and journeys that focus on the early years and people of those era reveal the roots. Government building facades and historic documents in DC; a monastery/art gallery, cathedrals and churches in Manhattan; missions in Texas and California; and early 18th century sites in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County are some of what the heritage-focused traveler can find.

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