FriFotos: Holy Places

Mr. Epstein of @EpsteinTravels never fails to pick an interesting topic for his #FriFotos Twitter game, and this week is no exception: HOLY PLACES. We were pretty excited – to say the least – because we’ve got a whole stock of gorgeous photos of churches, mosques and temples from our archive of Hg2 cities. We’ve chosen a few of the best and, quite frankly, most obscure places we could find (okay, we had to include the Segrada Familia, but who wouldn’t?) for your viewing pleasure. And don’t forget to follow @Hg2 on Twitter for more hedonistic fun than you can shake a very large stick at.

Basilica Ambrogio Milan Italy

Everyone knows the Duomo is the most famous (and probably the most beautiful) church in Milan, but what about the Basilica di Sant’ Ambrogio? They say it’s the city’s true church and, given that it was founded in 386, who can argue?

The Bibi Heybat Mosque was a sad casualty of the destructive Soviet regime in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. It has now been entirely rebuilt. A stunning and absolutely huge mosque, it is worth a visit and best viewed when lit up by night.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour Moscow Russia

The gorgeously golden domed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is not Moscow’s most famous church, but it has arguably seen the most history. Originally built by Tsar Alexsander I, the church was completed in 1812, and Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ was played at the opening.

Central Mosque Almaty Azerbaijan

The stunning blue domes of the Central Mosque are nestled serenely below the snow-capped peaks of the Zailiyski Alatau Mountains in Almaty (the former capital of Kazakhstan).

De Oude Kerk Ceiling Amsterdam Cathedral

You wouldn’t expect a church to be so comfy in Amsterdam’s red light district, but De Oude Kerk nestles in easily amongst the hash shops and plastic brothels. It was there first, after all.

Fraumunster Church Zurich Switzerland

The 9th century Fraumunster Church is a must visit in Zurich – even for the irreligious – for Marc Chagall’s five jewel-like stained glass windows depicting a Christian story in an explosion of colour.

Great Mosque Aleppo Syria

The Great Mosque is Aleppo’s oldest and one of the most renowned in Syria. The main structure is from the 13th century but the minaret was built in 1090.

Jumeira Mosque Dubai UAE

Make sure you cover up to visit the Jumeira Mosque, one of the most iconic buildings in Dubai and a popular sight for visitors.

Koutoubia Mosque Marrakech Morocco

Towering over the whole of the Medina, Koutoubia Mosque is the highest point in Marrakech and the big pink landmark with which visitors become most acquainted.

Lama Temple Beijing China

A former residence for high-ranking imperial eunuchs, the Lama Temple is now one of the only working Buddhist temples in Beijing. Check out the 18-meter-high Buddha carved from a single piece of sandalwood in the far building.

Little Church West Chapel Las Vegas

Okay, so maybe it’s not the holiest of places on this list, but hey, it’s Las Vegas! The Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel has seen many drunken nuptials exchanged…and that’s about as spiritual as Vegas gets.

Mosteiro Dos Jeronimos Lisbon Portugal

Built for monks of the Order of St. Jerome, the ornate cloisters inside the Mosteiro dos Jeronimos in Lisbon are arguably among the most beautiful in the world.

Sagrada Familia Barcelona Unfinished Church

Though there are a number of lovely holy places in Barcelona, we couldn’t leave out La Segrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s famous unfinished cathedral. Work began in 1882 and continues to this day.

Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira Bogota Vault Sculpture

The idea of a salt cathedral like the Catedral de Sal de Zipaquira dates back to 1932 when Bogota miners carved a space in the rock for daily prayers to ask for protection whilst they worked.

Suleymaniye Mosque Istanbul Turkey

This crowning achievement of Ottoman architecture – the Suleymaniye Mosque – is a showpiece of Istanbul designed by Mimar Sinan, who is buried on its grounds.

Sensoji Temple Tokyo Japan

Sensoji – also known as Asakusa Kannon – the oldest temple in Tokyo and houses a unique market inside. Pay for an omikuji fortune stick to gain a glimpse into your future.

St Patrick's cathedral, New York - photo by Charley Lhasa

St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York is the largest Gothic cathedral in the US, big enough to fit up to 2,200 worshippers. Built in 1858, it stands in dramatic contrast with the surrounding skyscrapers.

Al-Omari mosque Beirut, Photo by Nicholas Babaian

Try not to get neck ache- this breathtakingly ornate ceiling inside the Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut is a colourful example of Islamic art, built in the Ottoman style.

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