The many sacred landmarks all over the world attract millions of tourists just like you. However, they’re often special to the locals for spiritual or religious reasons. So you must be respectful.
Be Aware of Ceremonial Areas
Whenever you visit a sacred site, there may be locals performing rituals dear to them. So you need to be aware of the ceremonial areas that are prohibited or in use. Expert tour guides like Emu Run Uluru tours will inform you of the correct behavior and where you cannot go. However, it’s so helpful to stay aware that others visiting the site might also require the use of ceremonial areas or perform ceremonies around the site. Additionally, you must observe the rules of religion, such as women not being allowed in certain areas or performing external rituals.
Remember the Cultural Importance
Some sacred sites are revered for religious purposes, and some are culturally sensitive. It helps to learn a little about a site you plan to visit so you can observe appropriate behavior while there. However, for cultural reasons, it’s even possible that you will be prevented from entering a site by a cultural leader. Even if you have permission from a government agency. This can happen for many reasons. Some of the most common include how you are dressed, when you visit, or not being initiated. Some indigenous people can become offended by these.
Stay Respectful of Other Visitors at Sacred Landmarks
There are many sacred sites of religious and cultural importance. And this doesn’t only include locals but extends to visitors too. For example, during the month of Tishrei, over 2.5 million people of the Jewish faith visit the Western Wall. So you need to stay respectful of others:
- Don’t interrupt private communion.
- Never ask someone to move so you can get a photograph.
- Keep your voice to an absolute minimum.
Ancient and religious sites are pilgrimages for followers of religions. Therefore, you must remember that they could be in silent prayer. Additionally, certain parts of the site aren’t accessible but can be viewed. So try not to get in the way or move others for a photograph.
Never Remove or Leave Something
A massive concern at ancient sites and landmarks is people removing items. For instance, you can no longer get close to Stonehenge because inconsiderate and hugely disrespectful people either chiseled away pieces for themselves or left graffiti. This led to a massive restoration project of the site. Not only is this detrimental to the site itself, but it is also heretical for a religious site. It could even compromise the safety of others in a fragile area. And the same goes for things like litter. A good rule of thumb is to try not to leave any trace you were there.
Ask Before Taking Photos or Recording
Further to photographs, many ancient heritage or cultural sites prohibit taking photos. There are various reasons why photography is banned or discouraged. Some common reasons include economic dependence on souvenirs, damage to fragile items, and keeping visitor traffic flowing for safety reasons. If photography is banned in a specific site or area, there will likely be signs saying so. However, there may not be. But a simple solution is to simply ask before whipping out your camera. A friendly tour guide will be happy to let you know their policies.
Sacred landmarks are littered all over the world. However, for cultural and religious reasons, you must remember to stay away from ceremonial areas, respect other visitors and leave no trace.