From Mount Olympus in Greece to Peru's Machu Picchu, some of the world's most sacred places still draw thousands of visitors each year. Here is a selection of some of the world's most sacred sites.
The Men-An-Tol Stones in Cornwall are famous in local folklore for their supposed healing properties. Located near Penzance, pilgrims should crawl through the centre stone in the direction of the sun to cure such ailments as rheumatism and spinal problems. Many people who have made the trip tell of feelings of euphoria after passing through the stone.
Mount Olympus is the traditional home of the Greek gods. The spiritual powers that are said to emanate from Greece's tallest mountain have, for hundreds of years, drawn hermits and hippies to live in the nearby caves and forests.
The remote Greek Orthodox Monastery of Roussanou sits perched atop spires of ancient sandstone rock. Paleolithic remains suggest the presence of settlements as far back as 100,000 BC, though the 24 monastries - only six remain today - were not built until the 16th century.
The mysterious mountaintop shrine of Nemrut Dagi, in south-central Turkey, was known only to local herders until it was 'discovered' in 1881. Believed to be the burial site of Antiochus, a king from the first century BC, it is a mixture of temples, sculptures and terraces built at an altitude of over 7,000 feet.
The Holy City in Jerusalem has existed as a place of spirituality for thousands of years, and remains one of the world's most important holy sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
The mountain of Nantai-San in Japan is a favoured site for Buddhist meditation and has been a place of pilgrimage since the fourth century.
At 22,000 feet Mount Kailash is one of the world's most venerated, but also least visited sacred sites. The few thousand pilgrims each year who do make the trek include Hindus, who believe Kailash to be the home of Shiva.
The hundreds of carved heads that adorn Rapa Nui (Easter Island) were in use as early as 500 BC. They are said to represent an ideology of male, lineage-based authority.
In a remarkable setting in the Andean mountains, Machu Picchu is undoubtably one of the world's most beautiful sacred sites. The Inca retreat, rediscovered in 1911, is believed to have existed as both a ceremonial and astronomical site.
The Swayambhunath Stupa in Nepal is the oldest holy shrine in the Kathmandu Valley, existing as a pilgrimage destination for Buddhists since the fifth century. The large eyes on each side of the temple are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective. Also called Monkey Temple, the site is crowded with simians after dark.