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Travel with a purpose: 5 meaningful locales to consider this summer

By Steve Jermanok
Special to Crux
Published on June 3,2014

Constructed of red volcanic rock from the top down, these exquisite structures in Lalibela, Ethiopia, are no mere caves, but an incredible architectural accomplishment now protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The churches are built in a variety of styles from a series of blocks, chiseled out to create walls, doors, roofs, and windows. The iconic Church of St. George was built in a shape of a cross. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)

The Vatican and the Holy Land might be the first two destinations that come to mind when you consider faith-based travel. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find memorable pilgrimages to all corners of Europe — and even Ethiopia.

It’s hard not to gain inspiration from St. Paul, who traveled thousands of miles throughout Turkey spreading the Gospel on an often arduous and rambling route.

On the Greek isle of Patmos, you can still visit the cave where St. John was exiled in 95 AD and where he wrote the Book of Revelation.

The Tuscan town of Assisi, Italy, is home to two beloved saints, including St. Francis, founder of the Franciscans.

More than 100,000 travelers each year trek across the Pyrenees headed toward Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of St. James.

Last but certainly not least are the magnificent rock churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia, carved out of a rock some 900 years ago.

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