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Sensoji, also in central Tokyo, was dedicated to Bodhisattva Kannon, the most compassionate Buddha, in 628.Its five-storied pagoda is dramatically lit at night.3), among casual tourists and others who’ve traveled here expressly to pay their respects to an image of the Virgin Mary.
The site’s two-and-a-half-acre Peony Garden is at its most vibrant from mid-April through May, but it also nurtures 500 peonies that actually bloom during January.Annual Visitors: 20 million The Old Basilica, begun in the 1500s and completed in 1709, stands in stark contrast to the massive new basilica that was built in the mid-1970s and looks like a sports arena.It is, in fact, designed to hold 50,000 people, who come for mass—celebrated several times daily—and to see an image of the Virgin Mary that is said to have appeared on an apron in 1531.We restricted our list to holy places associated with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Sikhism and other religions that are still commonly practiced, which ruled out ancient sites such as temples to pagan Greek gods, the Mayan pyramids of Central American pyramids, and Stonehenge.And we focused on actual, physical structures, which eliminated items like the Shroud of Turin—shown only every few years—and gatherings like the Kumbh Mela festival, which can draw more than 60 million Hindus when held every 12 years.
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Because most of these sacred sites are free and open to the public, it’s impossible to get a completely accurate count of visitors or their reasons for coming.