Most people in the world are religious or spiritual in some way. According to a Pew Research report from 2012, 5.8 billion people around the world are religiously affiliated, representing about 84% of the global population as it existed in 2010. Of those who are spiritual, 31.5% identify as Christians, 23.2% as Muslims, 15% as Hindus, 7.1% as Buddhists, and the remaining as unaffiliated, folk religionists, or other. 
So it should come as no surprise that there are many places in the world that are considered by humans to be highly spiritual or gifted with uncanny supernatural influences. These places are scattered around the world and appear in many different types of natural environments, from forests to deserts, grasslands to jungles.
These are 10 of the most interesting and incredible spiritual places in the world.
Mahabodhi tree, Bodh Gaya, India
In the year 500 BC, an Indian prince named Siddartha, who was seaching for his purpose in life, is said to have meditated under the Bodhi tree for three nights. When his meditation came to an end, he had answers for his questions and from there set about teaching others the things he had learned in meditation. This is the origin story of the Buddha.
In 1881, what is believed to have been a descendent of the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha became enlightened was planted in its current spot by Alexander Cunningham, a British archaeologist. Since then, it has been cared for by monks. The Mahabodhi tree is visited by around 400,000 visitors each year.
The Bosnian Pyramids, Bosnia
The Bosnian pyramid complex are a series of naturally-forming hills that are pyramidal in shape. Some pseudoarchaeologists have claimed that the hills are indeed man-made pyramids but scientists have overwhelmingly refuted these claims. Sam Osmanagić, a Bosnian-American businessman, has popularized the site and turned it into a tourist attraction and has grown to possess spiritual significance for some. Osmanagić claims that 200,000 visited the site in its first year of operation and has put a great deal of effort into promoting the notion that the site is spiritual.
Spirituality is a man-made belief, so really, it is up to mankind to determine which sites hold spiritual significance and which do not. There is no evidence that these pyramids are anything more than vaguely pointed hills, but if they mean something to people, that can’t be taken away from them.
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Lake Atitlan is a lake found in the highlands of Guatemala in the Sierra Madre mountain range. It is Central America’s deepest lake. Lake Atitlan is considered to be an important spiritual site for Mayans for over 2,000 years and has in recent years begun attracting tourists for its spiritual significance. It was, in the 1960s, a popular destination for hippies. The Guatemalan civil war interrupted the ability of foreigners to visit, but when hostilities ended in 1996, the area began seeing a spike in visitors again.
Stonehenge is an incredibly popular and well known prehistoric monument located two miles west of Amesbury in England, consisting of large monoliths, some stacked on top of each other in what appears to be an impossible feat. Archaeologists believe that it was likely constructed sometime between 3,000 and 2,000 BC. Deposits containing human remains suggests that Stonehenge was likely a burial site, but the culture which constructed it left no written records of its purpose or intent.
Almost nothing is known about how the monument was constructed. There is a great deal of mystery around how it was made possible. The culture that constructed it had no pulleys or wheel systems, which makes moving stones of this nature a real mystery.
Today, Stonehenge is closely associated with neopaganism and various new age beliefs.
Mount Parnassus, Greece
Mount Parnassus is a limestone mountain found in central Greece, a place well known for its mythology throughout the ages. It was home to a mountain city which is said to have been destroyed by floods. Today, the mountain has been established as a national park due to its biodiversity. It’s also host to a ski resort.
Glastonbury, England is a legendary village. It has been considered a spiritual site since the megalithic era and is the home of the first Christian church in the British Isles. It is said to have been used by the Druids as an initiation center for priests and priestesses and was a sort of “Mecca” for the Druidic religion. Stories abound of faeries, rituals, and even UFOs.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu is a city atop a mountain, built by the Inca empire during the 15th century. The Inca Empire lasted only about 100 years, but Machu Picchu was an incredible feat of construction for such a short-lived civilization. Visitors from around the world flock to this place for its physical beauty and its spiritual significance. It was constructed near to mountains and a river that were spiritually significant to the Incas.
The Golden Temple, Amritsar
The Golden Temple is located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is the most significant spiritual site for the Sikh faith. Its construction was completed under the supervision of Guru Ram Das in 1577. The temple is open and available for all people from all walks of life, regardless of their religion or faith.
Crater Lake, Oregon, United States
Crater Lake is a beautiful natural formation located in south central Oregon. It is a lake formed inside of a volcanic crater that collapsed during an eruption. The lake held significance for local first nations. It was a popular, though dangerous, site for Klamath tribe spirit quests. Many tried to gain the supernatural vision of the beings that resided inside the lake, although they were considered dangerous. Today, it continues to be a place of spiritual importance for visitors.
Mount Kailash, Tibet
Tibet is the home of many spiritual places. Among those places is Mount Kailash, a 21,778 foot peak in the Kailash Range. It holds religious significance for Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainism. Today, thousands of people make the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, a tradition dating back thousands of years.
All places are spiritual, if you want them to be
We have seen on this list 10 of the most spiritually significant places in the world, but spiritual significance is up for you to decide. The world is a beautiful place and every inch of it could be considered spiritual if it means something spiritual to you. So don’t be afraid to create a little spiritual significance wherever you are.
- “The Global Religious Landscape.” Pew Research Forum. Retrieved November 23, 2020.