Mount St. Michel, Normandy, France
Built as a church in the year of 709, St. Michel’s has continuously expanded in size as well as undergoing changes in style from Romanesque to Gothic under rule of several monarchs and shifting political climates. A huge wall was bit to fortify church during the Hundred Year War and during the French Revolution it was used to house prisoners. Since 2001, the Friars and sisters from “Les Fraternités Monastiques de Jerusalem” have been residing. In 1979, it was made a world UESCO site. You can visit the St. Michel’s all year round.
Monastery of the Holy Trinity, Greece
This Eastern Orthodox monastery is one of the Meteora monasteries in Greece. Meteora means ‘suspended in the air’ and there are six functioning remaining monasteries in Greece all built on prominent sandstone pillars. Holy Trinity is one of the most important and is situated in the Peneas Valley. Climb the 400metres and you will be rewarded with an incredible view and an informative history of the building and religion.
Mount Popa Monastery, Burma
This monastery is perched on the top of an extinct volcano. It is an important pilgrimage site where tourist and pilgrims visit the Nat shrines (spirits) at the base of the volcano, before climbing the 777 steps to the monastery accompanied by local, cheeky monkeys. On a clear day, the monastery can be seen up to 60km away.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
This Buddhist temple teeters on the edge the cliffs of the Paro Valley in Bhutan. An incredible feat of architecture, it houses a maze of connected temples, rooms, and pathways all carved into the cliffs. It has eight interior temple caves decorated with lavish gold statues. Its name derives from a legend where the tigress chose the location and carried on her back Bhutan’s Buddhist Guru.
Ostrog Serbian Orthodox Church, Montenegro
Founded in the 17th Century, the Ostrog Monastery has two cave churches with façades satisfyingly flush with the cliff face. Within these churches, original frescos still remain. The actual monastery is below the church and is dedicated to St. Basil of Ostrog.
Thikse Monastery, India
Thikse Monastery is home to the Gelug monks, Tibetan Buddhism. It’s the largest monastery in the region with a collection of buildings situated in order of importance, with the highest being the main temple with an incredible 12 floors. Buildings include a variety of temples, assembly halls, a monastery and a nunnery. The Maitreya Temple, houses a huge 15m high statue of Buddha to celebrate the visit of the 14th Dali Lama in 1970.