German airport offers prayer booth in 65 languages

German airport offers prayer booth in 65 languages

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BERLIN — Feeling nervous before your flight? Travellers at one German airport can now receive spiritual solace by entering a booth and listening to a prayer of their choice before boarding the plane.

The prayer booth at Stuttgart Airport’s Terminal 3 features 300 prayers from various religions in 65 different languages, airport spokesman Johannes Schumm said Friday.

“Often, passengers still have a bit of time before their departure at the gate,” Schumm added. “The prayer booth is an offer by the airport’s chaplains to provide a moment of contemplation.”

Designed by Berlin artist Oliver Sturm, the former photo booth offers a vast variety of prayers, including the Christian Lord’s Prayer, the Jewish Shma Israel and the Islamic muezzin’s call to prayer. The Hindu Hare Krishna chant, Tibetan monk chants, Buddhist sutras, prayers of Shamans from New Guinea or Mali, even American TV preachers are also available on the touch-screen display.

In addition to the big monotheistic faiths, polytheistic religions and animist beliefs are also included.

The ‘Gebetomat,’ which roughly translates as ‘Pray-o-Matic,’ was first designed by Sturm in 2008. Its red cabin has a grey curtain and an adjustable swivel chair inside. The booth is free and will be available for three months at Stuttgart Airport’s boarding area next to Gate 310.

The artist, who could not immediately be reached for comment, writes on his home page that “all prayers are real prayers of believers, gathered in worship, prayer rooms, homes.”

Sturm has designed several prayer booths in recent years that have been installed at schools, universities and museums.

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Follow Kirsten Grieshaber on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/kugrieshaber

Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press

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