Holy Land

Jerusalem: the Old City and the Dome of the Rock

The Holy Land (Hebrew: ארץ הקודש Eretz HaKodesh; Latin: Terra Sancta, Arabic: الأرض المقدسة al-Arḍ ul-Muqaddasah;) or Holy Lands (plural) is a generic term that usually refers to one or more countries in the Middle East region of the world that witnessed the origins and early history of three of the world's great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

As such, the Holy Land(s) has/have been the focus of travel and - indeed - pilgrimage - for centuries (and continue to attract visitors on the same basis even today...) Owing to their economic, religious and cultural importance - and an ironic ability to create division and hostility - the Holy Land(s) also represent(s) the landscape in which the Roman Empire's expansion, the Jewish Diaspora, the medieval Crusades and (most recently) the modern Arab-Israeli Conflict have been played out, making their own contribution to the strategic and military interest of the region.

In order of size (and probable importance) to the traveller / pilgrim, countries associated with the term "Holy Land" are as follows:

Jewish Holy Land

Christian Holy Land

Entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

Islamic Holy Land

The holiest place in Islam is in Mecca

See also our article on the Hajj pilgrimage.

Also, shrines particularly holy to Shia Muslims are in:

Bahá'í Holy Land

See also

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