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Sacred places are locations that give religious meaning and identity to communities and individuals. While some have been constructed as ritual arenas, others have been selected from nature and are associated with the history and myths of a religion. Indeed, the great religious traditions display a wide variety of sacred places, varying in shape, location, and purpose. A sacred place can be an entire land, such as India, or a city such as Jerusalem; or it can be a sanctified structure such as the Kaabah in Mecca; or it can be a natural site such as a mountain, lake, or river, such as the Ganges, that is believed to have special qualities. Sacred places concretize a religion, giving it a material and earthbound feature. Although ...

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