Carlos Fernández, an intern from Spain at the United Nations in New York, shares photos of religious sites and anecdotes from his various travels over the years.

Cristo Rey is a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in Almada, Portugal, inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The monument overlooks the city of Lisbon, and the views from the top are breathtaking. The Lusitanian city became a long time ago my personal den, and I often visit this spot as it helps me find peace of mind whenever I need to put my thoughts in order.

Santa Maria del Mar is a church in the Ribera district of Barcelona, Spain, built between 1329 and 1383 at the height of the Principality of Catalonia’s maritime and mercantile preeminence. It is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic art and is also my mother’s favorite church. We visited it together in 2005, and fourteen years later, I got to revisit it, and I took these photographs to capture its beauty and magnificence.

Igreja de Santo Ildefonso is an eighteenth-century church in Porto, Portugal. Completed in 1739, the church was built in a proto-Baroque style and features a retable by the Italian artist Nicolau Nasoni and a façade of 1932 azulejo tilework. Baroque style in Portugal might not be the most ostentatious, but these temples play a vital role in the city’s religious communities. I took this photograph in 2019 during a trip that became an introspective experience. I enjoyed spending a moment inside the church, where I was able to close my eyes for a few minutes, meditate, and reflect on the decisions that I wanted to make in my life.

Igreja do Carmo and Igreja dos Carmelitas  are two churches in Porto that stand almost side by side. They are separated by a very narrow house that was built so that the two churches would not share a common wall and to prevent any relations between the nuns and the monks. I took this picture during my last visit to the city in 2019, and I was amazed by the tiled façade, the rarity of finding two churches so close to each other, and the fun anecdote about them.

The Metropolitan Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is a Roman Catholic cathedral church in my hometown, Badajoz, Extremadura, in western Spain. Due to its position outside the citadel, the church has a fortress-like appearance, strong walls and bastions, and a sturdy square tower. The decorations have a strong Portuguese influence, making it the only one with these characteristics in Spain and reflecting the cultural connection between the two countries throughout the years. Having a passion for Portuguese culture, reminiscences like these come in handy to show my neighbors and friends the importance of intercultural dialogue and celebrating the beauty of our cultural and religious heritage.

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