The Oldest Religious Sites You Can Visit With Culture Trip

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Gethin Morgan

Content and CRM Executive

Whether you have faith or not, there is something inherently spiritual about a truly ancient place of worship. Maybe it’s the power of time, or perhaps it’s just the wonder of humankind’s most extravagant creations, either way we challenge you not to get tingles all over when you visit these ancient religious sites with Culture Trip.

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The ancient Luxor temple, Luxor, Egypt

Luxor Temple – Ultimate Egypt

The Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza might take the headlines when it comes to tourism in Egypt, but you could argue that the ancient city of Luxor is the most historically significant part of the whole country. The temples of Luxor and Karnak were seen as two of the holiest sites in all of Egypt, where priests and pharaohs would worship the gods. Luxor Temple saw several famous Pharaohs come and go, adding their own Nubian sandstone structures to the complex. The original temple is thought to be a remarkable 3,443 years old (approx.), making what remains today surprisingly well-preserved. The site is best visited at night, under the glow of candlelight, with the atmospheric Avenue of Sphinxes leading you to the temple entrance. That’s exactly how you’ll experience Luxor Temple on day four of our comprehensive Egypt tour. That very same morning you’ll also check out Karnak Temple, Luxor’s baby brother at a mere 2,000+ years old.

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Next available from 26th Sep 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Cairo, Egypt

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ENDS AT

Aswan, Egypt

DURATION

9

GROUP SIZE

16

PHYSICAL RATING

Light

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STYLE

Discovery

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Relief of the Twelve Gods in Yazilikaya, a holy site near Hattusa, the ancient capital of the Hittite Civilization in Turkey

Yazilikaya – Majestic Turkey

Turkey is not short of ancient wonders, as our 12-day trip highlights. We kick off the trip by visiting two of Istanbul most famous religious sites, the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia – the latter being around 1,486 years old, spending time as a Greek Orthodox church, a Roman-Catholic cathedral and, eventually, a mosque. That has nothing on the remains of Hattusa, capital of the Hittite Empire, dating back to the Bronze Age. We’ll visit this ancient site on day five, most notably exploring the remains of Yazilikaya, a holy site found just a short walk from the city. This place is estimated to be around 3,200 years old, and the deities you can still see carved in limestone today offer an extraordinary glimpse into truly ancient religious practices.

From US$2798

Next available from 16th Aug 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Istanbul, Turkey

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ENDS AT

Antalya, Turkey

DURATION

12

GROUP SIZE

18

PHYSICAL RATING

Moderate

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STYLE

Discovery

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Golgulsa Temple in Gyeongju-si, South Korea.

Golgulsa Temple – Soulful South Korea

This ancient Buddhist temple, thought to date back to the sixth century, is one of the only cave temples in all of South Korea. The idea of grotto temples was more common in India, and it is said that the monk who built Golgulsa was inspired by those in South Asia. On our 10-day Korean epic you’ll even get the chance to stay here. Korean temple stays have become a popular tourist experience, as travellers are given the opportunity to learn about Buddhist monk culture first hand. You’ll take archery lessons, work on meditation chants and try out the martial art of Sunmudo during your time here.

From US$3223

Next available from 1st Sep 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Seoul, South Korea

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ENDS AT

Seoul, South Korea

DURATION

10

GROUP SIZE

16

PHYSICAL RATING

Moderate

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STYLE

Discovery

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Angkor Wat at sunrise

Angkor Wat – Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

This iconic temple complex is relatively young for this list, clocking in at around 900 years old (what a baby!) but we simply had to mention the world’s largest religious structure which, if anything, feels older than it is. That’s partly due to the magical powers of Mother Nature, who continues to slowly reclaim the land, grasping old stone structures with its thick tree roots and sprawling vines. It was originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, during the Khmer Empire, before later being converted to a Buddhist site. The sheer majesty of the structure, both in scale and intricacy, combined with its visual representation of the slow passing of time, makes it a serious spiritual place to visit, even for those who aren’t that way inclined. The best way to embrace this spirituality is at sunrise, when the whole complex glows in a warm orange hue. It’s a sight you’ll never ever forget, and one that you can experience on day four of our Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam trip. This one’s worth the early start, trust us.

From US$2374

Next available from 10th Aug 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Bangkok, Thailand

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ENDS AT

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

DURATION

11

GROUP SIZE

16

PHYSICAL RATING

Moderate

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STYLE

Discovery

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Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

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