Human civilization in the 21st century can be defined by diversity and duality. One-fifth of the world’s population is Chinese, another fifth Muslim. A hundred million of us are homeless children living in extreme poverty. More than two percent of the human population is mentally retarded. There are over 10,000 spoken languages. Yet, a perception of some form of God pervades 95 percent of our religious belief. In essence, all religions of the world are valid, as each one shares insight into the divine. This communing of humans with the “oneness” of the universe has led to the building of countless places of worship around the world. In this modern age, some of the sacred places described in this book are especially relevant to certain religions but not to others. Some are forbidden to enter while others are open to all. Some are museums, World Heritage sites, national parks or tourist destinations on private land. Some are completely inaccessible or forbidden to enter. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, I feel as we collectively ascend from polarity consciousness into unity consciousness the relevance of these spiritual sites become even more profound.
World travelers and armchair tourists who want to explore the mythology and archaeology of the ruins, sanctuaries, mountains, lost cities, and temples of ancient civilizations will find this guide ideal. Detailed here are the monuments and sites where ancient peoples once gathered to perform sacred rituals and ceremonies to worship various gods and to achieve spiritual enlightenment. Important archaeological, historical, and geological destinations worldwide are profiled, from the Great Pyramid in Egypt and the Forbidden City in China to the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia and Mount Shasta in California. Sites are described in historical and cultural context, and practical contemporary travel information is provided, including detailed maps, drawings, photographs, and travel directions.