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Archive for faith-based tourism

Pretty in Pink in Vietnam

By Linda Tancs

You’ve heard of hotspots, but how about a hot pink spot? Literally and figuratively, Tân Định church in Vietnam fits the bill. One of the oldest churches in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s known for its vibrant pink façade (inside and out) and Gothic pillars. It first opened to the public in 1876 and remains one of the city’s top attractions as well as a local favorite. You’ll find it on Hai Ba Trung Street.

A Spiritual Quest in Japan

By Linda Tancs

Kumano Kodo is one of only two UNESCO-registered pilgrimage sites in the world (the other being Camino de Santiago). It’s a 1,000-year-old trek in Japan, plied by aristocrats and monks alike. The route is actually a network of trails stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula. One of the most popular trails is Nakahechi, extensively used by the imperial family on pilgrimage from Kyoto beginning in the 10th century. Your own route will depend on your ultimate destination, which might include Kumano Sanzan, a term used to collectively describe the three most sacred shrines in the area, one of the biggest draws of the pilgrimage. The main transport hubs to the region are Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya.

An Unusual Shrine in Hong Kong

By Linda Tancs

Legend has it that the cascade (known as “heung gong”) at Hong Kong’s Waterfall Bay Park on Hong Kong Island gave Hong Kong its name, but the park’s real claim to fame is its one-of-a-kind shrine in the nature of thousands of abandoned religious statues. You’ll find it by descending the stairs by a pathway at the park’s entrance. That leads to an orphanage of sorts for colorful deities adorning a hillside. Many faiths are represented there, the grounds tended to by a faithful local. In many cultures, it’s considered bad luck to throw away a religious figurine, so locals and visitors alike donate them to the site and sometimes pause for prayer. While you’re there, don’t forget to enjoy the scenic waterfall as well as the views from the park’s cliffs.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Oldest City in the Azores

By Linda Tancs

Terceira is the third largest island in the Azores archipelago of Portugal. It’s also home to Angra do Heroísmo (Angra), the oldest city in the Azores, having received its charter in 1534. In the 1800s, Queen Maria II bestowed the name Heroísmo upon the town for the resistance it offered the troops of King Miguel in 1829 during his attempt to establish an absolutist monarchy. The centerpiece of the city is its cathedral, Sé Catedral, the largest church in the archipelago. It’s prized for its pau brasil and jacaranda wood in the sacristy. Other religious artifacts, along with an interesting historical account of the Azores, are located at Museu de Angra do Heroísmo, which is housed in a former monastery.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Pilgrim’s Way

By Linda Tancs

Arguably one of the best known of England’s pilgrimage routes, Pilgrim’s Way is a journey from Winchester (or alternatively, Southwark) to Canterbury. It’s a well-trodden route, having been walked since 1172 to a shrine of Saint Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered there two years earlier. A typical journey from Winchester Cathedral lasts about 12 days; the Southwark route is shorter. Medieval pilgrims would’ve borne a rough tunic, heavy cloak and a wooden staff along with safe-conduct, written permission from their local priest in an effort to secure safe travel. These days, modern pilgrims can avail themselves of a pilgrim passport from cathedrals on the way as well as from Canterbury Cathedral on receipt of a self-addressed, stamped envelope. As you progress along the route, get at least one stamp in each place you stay. Some churches also have special pilgrim stamps and post a notice telling you who in the locality will stamp your passport.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Exploring a Dome

By Linda Tancs

At 364 feet high, the dome of St Paul’s is the second largest cathedral dome in the world, an iconic part of the skyline of the City of London. At that height, you’ll find the dome’s Golden Gallery, a mere 528 steps from the cathedral floor. The smallest of three galleries in the dome, what it lacks in size it makes up for in sights. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of London that take in the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Gateway to the Amazon

By Linda Tancs

Known as the Gateway to the Amazon, Belém is the capital of the Brazilian state of Pará. Founded by the Portuguese in the 1600s, the city boasts well-preserved, Portuguese-colonial architecture along the riverfront district. The docklands also feature South America’s largest outdoor market, Mercado Ver-o-Peso, a site offering not only foods and vegetables but also crafts and antiques. A big highlight this time of year is the city’s religious festival known as Círio de Nazaré (The Taper of Our Lady of Nazareth), inscribed by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The event culminates in a procession on Sunday, when a wooden image of Our Lady of Nazareth is carried from Sé Cathedral to Sanctuary Square, accompanied by hordes of pilgrims from around the country.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

A Pilgrimage in the Balkans

By Linda Tancs

Medjugorje is a town located in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia & Herzegovina, not far from the border of Croatia. It’s best known as a site of Catholic pilgrimage thanks to the apparitions of the Virgin Mary that have been reported since 1981. The area has attracted some 15 million people since then, despite the Pope’s lack of authentication of the events that have taken place there. In addition to Apparition Hill, St. James Church is noted for the many apparitions seen inside its walls in the early years. While you’re in the region, you’ll want to visit some other popular attractions, like the Herzegovina Wine Route, Kravica waterfall and the Ottoman-style bridge in Mostar.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Orlando’s Holy Land

By Linda Tancs

Time traveler wannabees, take note.  The Holy Land Experience will take you back over 2000 years to ancient Jerusalem.  This theatrical and historical experience on Vineland Road in Orlando, Florida features the Via Dolorosa, the road on which Christ carried the cross.  Atop the hill stand the crosses of Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified.   Other featured exhibits include the Dead Sea Qumran Caves, the Great Temple that once stood on hallowed Mount Moriah in first century Jerusalem and the traveling tabernacle that was the heart of worship for the children of Israel as they wandered in the desert following their exodus from Egypt.

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Something Old, Something New

By Linda Tancs

There’s nothing borrowed or blue about St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, but there is something old and new about it. What’s new is the 60-plus million dollar renovation, timed to conclude (in substantial part) with the church’s 300-year anniversary. Today’s cathedral, built over three decades, was completed in 1710. Among the many recent improvements, the diocesan seat has been cleaned, repaired and restored both inside and out, the lighting and sound systems have been upgraded and the Grand Organ has had a facelift. What’s old is the battered slab of stone left untouched at the west entrance, a memorial of sorts to a storied past begun three cathedrals ago in A.D. 604 that has since triumphed over the ravages of fire and war and celebrated weddings, funerals, birthdays, jubilees and a number of other remembrances, both imperial and ordinary.

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DISCLOSURE OF NO MATERIAL CONNECTION

 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

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