Patheos Ranks the 100 Most Holy Places on Earth

New initiative celebrates sacred sites from diverse cultures throughout the world

Virginia Beach, VA, On June 13, Patheos, the leading online platform for exploring and understanding religion and spirituality, announced the launch of a multifaith initiative titled “Sacred Spaces: The 100 Most Holy Places on Earth.” As part of the initiative, a selection of 10 locations across the world will be unveiled each week over 10 weeks – culminating in the reveal of the top 10 holy places on August 15, 2023. By providing this comprehensive guide to the world’s most sacred sites, Patheos aims to help readers of all backgrounds deepen their understanding and respect for religious locations of various faiths and cultures. Each site on the list was chosen by combining a unique algorithm that analyzed multiple data points and rankings from religious scholars and writers from diverse faiths.  

“We feel that this initiative will redefine how people explore and appreciate the most faith-cherished locations in the world,” said Travis Henry, senior director of content at Patheos. “Everyone, no matter their personal beliefs of religion and spirituality, is invited to join us on this journey to discover the diversity and profound significance of these sacred sites. We hope that in doing so, we can unite faith communities in this inspiring movement.” 

This first selection of sacred spaces includes a collection of sites around the world that are each open to all visitors and tell distinct histories from a variety of faith communities: 

  • Kirtland Temple: Located in Kirtland, Ohio and serving as a place of pilgrimage for members of the Community of Christ and other Restoration traditions such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Shri Amarnath Cave Temple: Located in India in the Anantnag District of Jammu and Kashmir, this temple is a cave that functions as a Hindu shrine. 
  • Mariazell Basilica: Located in Mariazell, Austria, the current structure is one of the most visited Roman Catholic shrines in Europe. 
  • Gergeti Trinity Church: Located in Kazbegi, Georgia and frequented primarily by members of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. 
  • Newgrange: Located in Newgrange, Ireland, this ancient Neolithic burial mound and astrological temple attract visitors from many faiths and non-religious tourists alike. 
  • Sulayman Mountain: Located in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, the peaks and slopes of this mountain contain various Islamic sites, including mosques, sacred caves and stone shrines that were once places of worship.
  • Bahá’i House of Worship: Located in Wilmette, Illinois, this is the second Bahá’i house of worship ever built and the oldest of their buildings still standing.
  • Paro Taktsang: Located in Paro, Bhutan, this Buddhist monastery is tucked in the cliffs of the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. 
  • Hanging Gardens of Haifa: Located in Haifa, Israel on the side of Mount Carmel, this is one of the most popular Bahá’i attractions in the country.
  • El Ghriba Synagogue: Located on the Tunisian island of Djerba, this house of worship is central to an Orthodox Jewish village where Jews have lived for 2,500 years.

To ensure an unbiased and holistic approach to the ranking, Patheos enlisted the expertise of Alonzo L. Gaskill, Ph.D., and renowned world religion expert who provided research and content for “Sacred Spaces.” Dr. Gaskill’s expertise and understanding of religious traditions ensure an authentic and insightful exploration of each sacred location.

“I think this collection of ‘Sacred Spaces’ will delight everyone from the agnostic to the Orthodox. You really can’t understand another human being without understanding their religious views. And there really is ‘something for everyone’ when it comes to studying religion, which I see firsthand when I teach World Religions, but also when I visit these sacred sites,” said Dr. Gaskill. “It’s wonderful for people to learn about the sacred places that are important to their tradition, but it’s valuable as well to see what’s sacred to others. There’s something awe-inspiring about visiting a majestic and often ancient place, considered hallowed by millions, and it’s nearly impossible not to feel connected to a higher power.”


Patheos is the premier online destination to engage in meaningful and respectful dialogue about religion and spirituality. As a platform for diverse religious perspectives, Patheos hosts an expansive library of articles, blogs, podcasts, and videos to foster understanding and promote interfaith dialogue. Patheos’ mission is to provide a reliable and accessible resource for individuals seeking to explore and deepen their understanding of faith. 

Media Contact:  

Colton Stock