Turin, the capital city of the Piedmont region of Italy is an important business and cultural center of northern Italy. The city is located on the western bank of the Po River and surrounded by western Alpine Arch. In India Turin is well known for being the headquarters of the automobile manufacturer FIAT which was a favorite brand in India in the last decades. Above all Turin is well known for the Holy Shroud of Turin believed to be the burial shroud of Jesus.
The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin. The shroud is respected by many Christians of several traditions, including Catholics and Protestants. The Catholic Church has neither formally endorsed nor rejected the shroud, but in 1958 Pope Pius XII approved of the image in association with the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. More recently, Pope Francis and his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI have both described the shroud of Turin as “an icon”, and Pope John Paul II called the shroud “a mirror of the Gospel”.
The shroud is rectangular, measuring approximately 4.4 by 4.4 meters. Its most distinctive characteristic is faint, brownish image of a front and back view of a naked man with his hand folded across his groin. The two views are aligned along the mid plane of the body and point in opposite directions. The image of the “Man of the Shroud” has beard, moustache and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle. He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 2 in). Reddish brown stains are found on the cloth, showing various wounds that according to proponents, correlate with the yellowish image the pathophysiology of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus. The details of the image on the shroud are not easily seen with the naked eyes, but they can be more clearly revealed through photography.
The origin of the shroud and its images are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians and researchers. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to “prove” that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus.
Irrespective of all these controversies millions of visitors flocked to Turin when the Shroud was kept on public display from 10 April to 23 May 2010 at the chapel of Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. Pope Benedict XVI came to Turin to visit the Shroud on May 2, 2010 and delivered a touching Meditation of the Holy Shroud. I was lucky enough to be in Turin on 20th May 2010 and view this rare display of the Holy Shroud. As authorized by Pope Francis the Shroud was put on public display from April 19 to June 24, 2015 and more than two million visitors came to Turin from around the world. On June 21, 2015 Pope Francis visited Turin to see the shroud and made headlines around the world. The next public exhibition of the shroud is scheduled to occur in 2025.
Other than the Holy Shroud, there are more to explore in Turin including its buildings from the Roman times. In the 1st century BC, probably 28 BC, the Romans created a military camp later dedicated to Augustus. The typical Roman street grid can still be seen in the modern city, especially in the neighbourhood known as the Quadrilatero Romano (Roman Quadrilateral). The Palatine Gate represents the primary archaeological evidence of the city’s Roman phase, and is one of the best preserved 1st Century BC Roman gateways in the world. Together with the ancient theatre’s remains, located a short distance away, it is part of the so called Archaeological Park opened in 2006.