Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

Also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion – for obvious reasons.  The present pavilion is a modern one, dating from the 1950s, after the previous structure was burned down by a crazed monk.  However, there has been a temple on the site since the 14th century AD.

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St Peter’s Basilica, Rome

The baldacchino and immense dome of the largest church in the world.  St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Palace remain the ultimate symbols of the incredible heights of opulence, wealth and waste that the Roman Catholic Church reached during the 16th century.

St_Peters_Basilica

Monasteries of Meteora, Greece

Built between five hundred to a thousand years ago, the monks and hermits of the Greek Orthodox Church sought ever more remote and difficult-to-reach places from where to pray and contemplate.

Hence their position amongst these spectacular sandstone rock formations in central Greece.

Meteora_monastery

Meteora_monastery

Meteora_monastery

Meteora_monastery

Nowadays a sealed road links all the monasteries and they are as much tourist museums as they are living monasteries.