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Christian sites and events

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Christian sites and events

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Christianity is the world's most prolific religion, with churches and other dedicated buildings on literally every continent, including Antarctica. Several sites built in the name of Christianity are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

As Christian congregations have had a significant role in most communities where they are present, a traveler will learn much from visiting a local church, whether a believing Christian or not. Christian buildings and gatherings can have beautiful artwork, elaborate speculate, and silent holy spaces for reflection. Most Christian celebrations will be open to the public but travelers should be aware of dress codes and expected behavior in some settings.


Some main types of Christian buildings and sites are:

  • Cathedral: A prominent church, and the seat of a bishop.
  • Church: A building dedicated to Christian prayer and ceremony, inaugurated by a bishop.
  • Chapel: A similar, non-inaugurated building.
  • Monastery: A self-contained community of monks. Usually, these will be off-limits to outsiders or only available on a limited basis. If you are interested in viewing a monastery, please check beforehand what their policies are about being open to the public.
  • Cemetery: Can be tied to a Christian congregation, or multi-religious


       See also: Holy Land


When attending a service or ceremony at a Christian place of worship, it is appropriate to dress conservatively and show respect; details vary by place. It is a very good idea to learn a bit about the local rules before visiting a place of worship. In most Christian churches, a man should remove his hat, and in some, a woman is expected to cover her head. Generally, voices should be kept down, and mobile phones and similar devices should be set to silent mode or better switched off completely. During the service, you should behave reverently, and not eat, drink, take photographs, check your mobile phone, and so on. Rules regarding dress or noise are often not as strictly enforced for young children. You should avoid leaving the church while the service is in progress unless necessary.

If you are visiting a place of worship that is a destination for travelers and are not interested in worship, it is better to wait for a service or ceremony to conclude before visiting.


Latin used to be the dominant language of the Roman Catholic Church, but today it is replaced by the vernacular language. Some churches retain liturgical languages, especially in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Although the service may be partially or entirely unintelligible to you (and even some practitioners!), you can still find some value in being a spectator to hundreds or thousands of years of history unfolding before you.

Most churches amplify sounds.

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Wall and glass art of Christian cathedrals.

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Contemplation and prayer.


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Churches usually have a money box where visitors can pay for candles and booklets. There're small bookshops near bigger churches where you can buy religious literature or press, souvenirs or parish magazines.


Many Christian services include a portion of Mass or Eucharist where congregants will have a small piece of bread and wine or grape juice to drink. This is a religious custom and it is expected that outsiders do not participate. Many Christian communal gatherings will have food afterward, which will be open to the public. It's also possible that if you are traveling and are in dire need of food, you can visit a church for a food pantry.

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Monasteries might offer accommodation to travelers. The Salvation Army is a British-based Protestant sect who are known for providing shelters for the homeless and travelers who are in need can inquire about getting a bed.

See also[edit]

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