Holy city
Holy city is a synonym applied to many cities, all of them central to the history or faith of specific religions. Such cities may also contain at least one headquarters complex (often containing a religious edifice, seminary, shrine, residence of the leading cleric of the religion and/or chambers of the religious leadership's offices) which constitutes a major destination of human traffic, or pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

 to the city, especially for major ceremonies and observances. A holy city is a symbolic city, representing attributes beyond its natural characteristics. Marketing experts have suggested that holy cities may be the oldest brand
The American Marketing Association defines a brand as a "Name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers."...

s, and more specifically, place brand
Place Branding
Place branding is a new umbrella term encompassing nation branding, region branding and city branding. Place branding is the process of image communication to a target market...

s because they have value added via the perception of religious adherents.


  • Abydos
    Abydos, Egypt
    Abydos is one of the most ancient cities of Upper Egypt, and also of the eight Upper Nome, of which it was the capital city. It is located about 11 kilometres west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10' N, near the modern Egyptian towns of el-'Araba el Madfuna and al-Balyana...

     (Ancient Egyptian religion)
  • Heliopolis
    -Placenames:*Heliopolis , the ancient city in Egypt*Heliopolis , a suburb in modern Cairo, Egypt* Heliopolis of Phoenicia, modern Baalbek, Lebanon...

     (Ancient Egyptian religion)
  • Nkamba (Kimbanguism
    Kimbanguism is a branch of Christianity founded by Simon Kimbangu in what was then the Belgian Congo . The church's name is the Kimbanguist Church , and is a large, independent African Initiated...

  • Ife
    Ife is an ancient Yoruba city in south-western Nigeria. Evidence of inhabitation at the site has been discovered to date back to roughly 560 BC...

     (Yoruba religion)
  • Moulay Idriss
    Moulay Idriss
    Moulay Idriss or Moulay Idriss Zerhoun , a town in northern Morocco located at, is named after Moulay Idris I, the founder of the Idrisid Dynasty. Moulay is a term roughly equivalent to "Prince" or "Lord". Idris founded both Fez and the city that bears his name. His tomb, located in Moulay Idriss,...

    Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

  • Zion City Moria (Zion Christian Church
    Zion Christian Church
    The Zion Christian Church is one of the largest African initiated churches in southern Africa, with members belonging to ZCC star and members belonging to the saint Engenas ZCC...

  • Ewu
    Ewu is a Nigerian city situated in Esan Central Local Governnment area in Edo State of Nigeria. The city, an Esan tribe, lies on 200 feet in the plateau region of central Edo State, 100 kilometres north of Benin City, the capital of Edo State, Nigeria. Ewu city comprises the villages and towns of...

     (St. Benedict Monastery), (Assemblies of God Church),(Alu-Oshaeraen Shrine
    Alu-Oshaeraen Shrine
    Alu-Oshaeraen is a shrine in Nigeria.Alu is the Esan word that means shrine or temple. Araen is the Esan word that means blood. Alu-Oshaeraen or Alu_Okhaeraen literally means shrine of blood. It is a mysterious shrine at the borders of Idunwele and Eguare in Ewu...

    ), (Alu-Azido Shrine
    Alu-Azido Shrine
    The Alu-Azido shrine is located at the palace of Ewu.Alu is the Esan word for shrine or temple. Udo or Ido is the Esan word for stones hence Alu-Azido means the shrine of stones. The Alu-Azido is a collection of naturally occurring and, supposedly reoccurring stone at the palace of Ewu...

    ), the spiritual headquarters of Esan religion.
  • Touba, Senegal
    Touba, Senegal
    Touba is a city in central Senegal. It is the holy city of Mouridism and the burial place of its founder, Shaikh Aamadu Bàmba Mbàkke...

    The Mouride brotherhood is a large Islamic Sufi order most prominent in Senegal and The Gambia, with headquarters in the holy city of Touba, Senegal...



  • Cuzco (Ancient Incan religion)
  • Independence, Missouri
    Independence, Missouri
    Independence is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri, and is contained within the counties of Jackson and Clay. It is part of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area...

     - a Zion (Latter Day Saints)
    Zion (Latter Day Saints)
    Within the Latter Day Saint movement, Zion is often used to connote a utopian association of the righteous. This association would practice a form of communitarian economics called the United Order meant to ensure that all members maintained an acceptable quality of life, class distinctions were...

     and future location of the New Jerusalem
    New Jerusalem
    In the book of Ezekiel, the Prophecy of New Jerusalem is Ezekiel's prophetic vision of a city to be established to the south of the Temple Mount that will be inhabited by the twelve tribes of Israel in the...

     in the Latter Day Saint movement
    Latter Day Saint movement
    The Latter Day Saint movement is a group of independent churches tracing their origin to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 14 million members...

  • Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston, South Carolina
    Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

     (Religious Diversity)
  • Clearwater, Florida
    Clearwater, Florida
    Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. In the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and in the east lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787. It is the county seat of...

     (Church of Scientology
    Church of Scientology
    The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

  • Salt Lake City (Mormonism
    Mormonism is the religion practiced by Mormons, and is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement. This movement was founded by Joseph Smith, Jr. beginning in the 1820s as a form of Christian primitivism. During the 1830s and 1840s, Mormonism gradually distinguished itself...



  • Rome
    Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

     (Roman Catholicism)
  • Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

     (Medieval, Catholic Christianity)
  • Constantinople
    Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

     (Medieval, Orthodox Christianity
    Orthodox Christianity
    The term Orthodox Christianity may refer to:* the Eastern Orthodox Church and its various geographical subdivisions...

  • Bolghar
    Bolghar was intermittently capital of Volga Bulgaria from the 8th to the 15th centuries, along with Bilyar and Nur-Suvar. It was situated on the bank of the Volga River, about 30 km downstream from its confluence with the Kama River and some 130 km from modern Kazan...

     (Medieval, Islam)
  • Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela
    Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, Spain.The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James...

    Priscillianism is a Christian doctrine developed in the Iberian Peninsula in the 4th century by Priscillian, derived from the Gnostic-Manichaean doctrines taught by Marcus, an Egyptian from Memphis, and later considered a heresy by the Orthodox Church.-History:Priscillian was described as "a man...

    , Catholic Christianity)
  • Caravaca de la Cruz
    Caravaca de la Cruz
    Caravaca de la Cruz is a town and municipality of southeastern Spain in the province of Murcia, near the left bank of the River Argos, a tributary of the Segura. This city is the capital of the northwest Region of Murcia. It has a population of 26,449 as of 2010...

     (Catholic Christianity)
  • Santo Toribio de Liébana
    Santo Toribio de Liébana
    The Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana is a Roman Catholic monastery located in the district of Liébana, near Potes in Cantabria, Spain. Located in the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain, the monastery is one of the five places of Christianity that, together with Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de...

     (Catholic Christianity)

Middle East

  • Jerusalem (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
  • Mount Sinai
    Mount Sinai
    Mount Sinai , also known as Mount Horeb, Mount Musa, Gabal Musa , Jabal Musa meaning "Moses' Mountain", is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. A mountain called Mount Sinai is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah and the Bible as well as the Quran...

     (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
  • Hebron
    Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

     (Judaism, Islam)
  • Bethlehem
    Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

     (Judaism, Christianity, Islam)
  • Kairouan
    Kairouan , also known as Kirwan or al-Qayrawan , is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia. Referred to as the Islamic Cultural Capital, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was founded by the Arabs around 670...

     (Sufi Islam)
  • Karbala
    Karbala is a city in Iraq, located about southwest of Baghdad. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 572,300 people ....

     (Shia Islam)
  • Haifa
    Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

    Acre, Israel
    Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

  • Mashhad
    Mashhad , is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name. It is located east of Tehran, at the center of the Razavi Khorasan Province close to the borders of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Its...

     (Shia Islam)
  • Mecca
    Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

  • Medina
    Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

  • Najaf
    Najaf is a city in Iraq about 160 km south of Baghdad. Its estimated population in 2008 is 560,000 people. It is the capital of Najaf Governorate...

     (Shia Islam)
  • Nippur
    Nippur was one of the most ancient of all the Sumerian cities. It was the special seat of the worship of the Sumerian god Enlil, the "Lord Wind," ruler of the cosmos subject to An alone...

     (Ancient Mesopotamian religions)
  • Qom
    Qom is a city in Iran. It lies by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. At the 2006 census, its population was 957,496, in 241,827 families. It is situated on the banks of the Qom River....

     (Shia Islam)
  • Safed
    Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

  • Tiberias (Judaism)

South Asia

  • Mount Abu (Jainism)
  • Ranakpur
    Ranakpur is a village located in Desuri tehsil near Sadri town in the Pali district of Rajasthan in western India. It is located between Jodhpur and Udaipur, in a valley on the western side of the Aravalli Range...

  • Barmer
    Barmer, Rajasthan
    Barmer is the headquarters of the Barmer district in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is a city and a municipality.-Origin of name:...

  • Jaipur
    Jaipur , also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 3.1 million....

  • Falna
    Falna is a town in Pali District in Indian state of Rajasthan. It is an important railway station on Ahmedabad-Jaipur railway line. Falna is 75 km from the district headquarter of Pali....

  • Sri Amritsar
    Amritsar is a city in the northern part of India and is the administrative headquarters of Amritsar district in the state of Punjab, India. The 2001 Indian census reported the population of the city to be over 1,500,000, with that of the entire district numbering 3,695,077...

  • Anandpur Sahib
    Anandpur Sahib
    Anandpur Sahib is a city in Rupnagar district in the state of Punjab, India. Known as "the holy City of Bliss," it is a holy city of the Sikhs and is one of their most important sacred places, closely linked with their religious traditions and history...

  • Goindwal Sahib
    Sahib is an Urdu term which literally translates to "Owner" or "Proprietor". The primary Arabic meaning of Sahib is "associate, companion, comrade, friend" though it also includes "Sahib is an Urdu term which literally translates to "Owner" or "Proprietor". The primary Arabic meaning of Sahib...

  • Nankana Sahib
    Nankana Sahib
    Nankana Sahib , earlier known as Rai-Bhoi-Di-Talwandi, is a city in the Pakistani province of Punjab. It is named after the first Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Nanak Dev, the central figure in Sikhism who was born here, so it is a city of high historic and religious value and is a popular pilgrimage site...

  • Tarn Taran Sahib
    Tarn Taran Sahib
    Tarn Taran Sahib a city in the Indian state of Punjab. It is the district headquarters and hosts the municipal council of Taran Taran district.-History:Tarn Taran Sahib was founded by the fifth Sikh Guru Shri Guru Arjan Dev Ji...

  • Sultanpur Lodhi
    Sultanpur Lodhi
    Sultanpur Lodhi is a city and a municipal council in Kapurthala district in the Indian state of Punjab. The town is named after its founder, Sultan Khan Lodhi who was a general of Mahmud of Ghazni in AD 1103, which has been also mentioned in Ain-e-Akbari...

     (Nanak Nagri) (Sikhism)
  • Kiratpur Sahib
    Kiratpur Sahib
    Kiratpur also known as Kiratpur Sahib is a town in Rupnagar district, Punjab, India. The town is the location of the Gurdwara Patal Puri where Sikhs take ashes of their dead.-Kiratpur Sahib Town:...

  • Nanded
    Nanded is the second largest city in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra, India. It is also headquarters of Nanded district in the Marathwada Division of the state. It is an important holy place for the Sikh faith and is famous for the Hazur Sahib Gurudwara. It is the district headquarters once...

  • Kartarpur
    Kartarpur , was established by Guru Nanak in 1522. When Guru Nanak died, Hindus and Muslims disagreed on how to perform his last rites. A samadh lies in the Gurudwara and a grave lies on the premises as a reminder of this discord...

     Sahib (Sikhism)
  • Paonta Sahib
    Paonta Sahib
    Paonta Sahib पौंटा साहिब is a small beautiful town in the south of Sirmour district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is an important religious spot for Sikhs and a bustling industrial town...

  • Patna
    Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

     Sahib (Sikhism)
  • Damdama Sahib (Sikhism)
  • Fatehgarh Sahib
    Fatehgarh Sahib
    Fatehgarh Sahib is headquarters of Fatehgarh Sahib district, one of the twenty districts in the state of Punjab in North-West India.-History:The city is an historically important town north of Patiala, especially for the Sikh faith...

  • Sri Muktsar Sahib (Sikhism)
  • Chamkaur
    Chamkaur Sahib is a Sub Divisional town in the district of Rupnagar in the Indian State of Punjab. It is famous for the Battle of Chamkaur fought between the Mughals and Guru Gobind Singh....

     Sahib (Sikhism)
  • Ayodhya (Hinduism)
  • Nathdwara
    Nathdwara is a town in Rajasthan state of western India. It is located in the Aravalli hills, on the banks of the Banas River in Rajsamand District, 48 kilometers north-east of Udaipur. This town is famous for its temple of Krishna which houses the idol of Shrinathji, a 14th century, 7-year old...

  • Salasar
    Salasar is a village in India. Salasar is located on National Highway No. 65 of Sujangarh in the district of Churu, about 130 km from Jaipur and 350 km from Delhi famous, for Salasar Balaji temple...

  • Badrinath (Hinduism)
  • Kurukshetra
    Kurukshetra is a land of historical and religious importance. Historically the land belonged to Punjab now a district in Haryana state of India. It is a holy place and is also known as Dharmakshetra . According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and...

  • Dwarka
    Dwarka also spelled Dvarka, Dwaraka, and Dvaraka, is a city and a municipality of Jamnagar district in the Gujarat state in India. Dwarka , also known as Dwarawati in Sanskrit literature is rated as one of the seven most ancient cities in the country...

  • Udaipur
    Udaipur , also known as the City of Lakes, is a city, a Municipal Council and the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district in the state of Rajasthan in western India. It is located southwest of the state capital, Jaipur, west of Kota, and northeast from Ahmedabad...

  • Gaya
    Gaya, India
    Gaya is the second largest city of Bihar, India, and it is also the headquarters of Gaya District.Gaya is 100 kilometers south of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Situated on the banks of Falgu River , it is a place sanctified by both the Hindu and the Buddhist religions...

    /Bodh Gaya (Buddhism, Hinduism)
  • Kanchipuram
    Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

  • Lumbini
    Lumbinī is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the Rupandehi district of Nepal. It is the place where Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddhartha Gautama, who as the Buddha Gautama founded the Buddhist tradition. The Buddha lived between roughly 563 and 483 BCE...

  • Mathura (Hinduism)
  • Ajmer
    Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

  • Rajgir
    Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have...

     (Buddhism, Jainism)
  • Pushkar
    Pushkar is a town in the Ajmer district in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is situated at 14 km North West from Ajmer at an average elevation of 510 metres , and is one of the five sacred dhams...

  • Poo Pathi (Hinduism)
  • Puri
    Puri is district headquarter, a city situated about south of state capital Bhubaneswar, on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Indian state of Orissa. It is also known as Jagannath Puri after the Jagannath Temple . It is a holy city of the Hindus as a part of the Char Dham pilgrimages...

  • Rameswaram (Hinduism)
  • Tirupati (city) (Hinduism)
  • Ujjain
    Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

  • Varanasi
    -Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

    /Benares/Kashi (Hinduism, as well as Buddhism, Jainism)
  • Vrindavan
    Vrindavan also known as Vraj is a town in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, India...


Central and East Asia

  • Qufu
    Qufu is a city in southwestern Shandong province, People's Republic of China. It is located at 35° 36′ northern latitude and 117° 02′ east, about south of the provincial capital Jinan and northeast of the prefecture seat at Jining...

  • Lhasa
    Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

     (Tibetan Buddhism)
  • Ise
    Ise, Mie
    , formerly called Ujiyamada , is a city located in eastern Mie Prefecture, on the island of Honshū, Japan.Ise is home to Ise Grand Shrine, the most sacred Shintō Shrine in Japan, and is thus a very popular destination for tourists. The city has a long-standing nickname—Shinto —that roughly means...

    or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi, is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the Japanese people. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written...

  • Yawata
    Yawata, Kyoto
    is a city located in Kyoto, Japan.As of May 31, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 74,150, with 31,120 households and the density of 3,042.68 persons per km². The total area is 24.37 km²....

  • Mount Kōya
    Mount Koya
    is the name of mountains in Wakayama Prefecture to the south of Osaka. Also, Kōya-san is a modifying word for Kongōbuji . There is no one mountain officially called Kōya-san in Japan....

     (Shingon Buddhism)
  • Kyoto
    is a city in the central part of the island of Honshū, Japan. It has a population close to 1.5 million. Formerly the imperial capital of Japan, it is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture, as well as a major part of the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto metropolitan area.-History:...

     (Japanese Buddhism, Shinto)
  • Tay Ninh
    Tay Ninh
    Tây Ninh is a town in southwestern Vietnam. It is the capital of Tay Ninh province, which encompasses the town and much of the surrounding farmland....

     (Cao Dai
    Cao Dai
    Cao Đài is a syncretistic, monotheistic religion, officially established in the city of Tay Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926. Đạo Cao Đài is the religion's shortened name, the full name is Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ...

  • Tenri
    Tenri, Nara
    is a city located in Nara, Japan. Tenri is the only city in Japan to be named after a religious group, the new religious movement Tenrikyo which has its headquarters in the city and believes it to be one among other energy centers of the world. Tenrikyo had recommended the name Yamabe, which is the...

    Tenrikyo is a monotheistic religion originating in revelations to a 19th-century Japanese woman named Nakayama Miki, known as Oyasama by followers...

  • Turkestan (Islam)
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