Timeless Landscapes of the World



The combination of physical beauty and inherent spirituality of some landscapes has drawn like a magnet truth-seekers, from monks and hermits to pilgrims and explorers. The power of untouched environments is the most potent attraction for many: the novelist Joseph Conrad was particularly fascinated by the primeval vigour of the Congo rainforests. In Tanzania, the huge Ngorongoro Crater, the remnant of a collapsed extinct volcano, is an ecological time capsule, where great herds of herbivores survive virtually free from human disturbance, protected by the altitude and the high crater walls.

Some landscapes have drawn religious communities to settle, in the hope isolation and serenity might be conducive to meditation and spiritual growth. The slender rock pinnacles of Meteora in northern Greece have been the refuge of monks and hermits for more than 1000 years. In Cappadocia in central Turkey, early Christian monks made their homes in strange, rocky cones, formed through the erosion of volcanic tufa, hollowing them out over the centuries to create cells, churches, and even underground cities where religious minorities could take refuge from successive waves of conquerors.

But perhaps the most powerful spiritual landscapes are those, like the Himalayas, whose scale and intrinsic beauty make human visitors most aware of their own impermanence and vulnerability.


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