Religion Holy Sites Ryan Feddersen - 3b


In Early Christian architecture a distinct emphasis was placed on the centralized plan, which was of round, polygonal, or cruciform shape. Baptisteries and memorial shrines (martyria) were based on the traditionally centralized Roman funerary monument. Elaborate mosaic narrative cycles cover the upper walls, triumphal arch, and apse of basilican churches. The sculptures of stones sarcophagus are extensively practiced in Roman art and are continued into the Christian era. In some cases subjects similar to that of the catacombs are used.

Vatican City

I went to the Vatican in search of the history of Christianity. The Vatican In history is the head of the Catholic Church, it began with the construction of a basilica over St. Peter’s grave in Rome in the 4th century A.D. The area that I visited developed into a popular pilgrimage site and commercial district, although it was abandoned following the move of the papal court to France in 1309. After the Church returned in 1377 I learned, famous landmarks such as the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel and the fairly new St. Peter’s Basilica( which I visited)were sprouted within the city limits. The Vatican City was established in its current form as a sovereign country with the singing of the Lateran Pacts in 1929. St. Peters Basilica an Italian renaissance church created by the minds of Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and Donato Bramante.


The typical Hindu temple in northern India, on plan, consists of a square garbhagriha preceded by one or more adjoining pillared mandapas (porches or halls), which are connected to the sanctum by an open or closed vestibule (antarala). The entrance doorway of the sanctum is usually richly decorated with figures of river goddesses and bands of floral, figural, and geometric ornamentation. An ambulatory is sometimes provided around the sanctum. The shikhara is usually curvilinear in outline, and smaller rectilinear shikharas frequently top the mandapas as well. The whole may be raised on a terrace (jagati) with attendant shrines at the corners. If a temple is dedicated to the god Shiva, the figure of the bull Nandi, the god’s mount, invariably faces the sanctum, and, if dedicated to the god Vishnu, standards (dhvaja-stambha) may be set up in front of the temple.


I went to perhaps the most famous of all holy places, Varanasi, situated on the banks of the Ganges some 450 miles south of Delhi. It is also called Benares and Kashi. Many Hindus retire to Varanasi in the hope of achieving liberation. I visited the city famous for its cremation ghats. Corpses are transported hundreds of miles for burning here. Relatives often bring the ashes of their loved ones and scatter them in the Ganges in the belief that this will benefit the departed soul. The site famous for its water-front entry and protected walls.


Islamic architecture Is taken today to mean the architecture built by or for Muslims, or that built in Islamic lands or under Islamic government, a large corpus indeed. Some types of architecture are Mihrab, Minbar, Minaret and ablution fountain. A mihrab is a wall recess, mostly in the form of arched niche which indicates the position of the prayer-leader. A minbar is a pulpit, mostly made of wood, put in a mosque near its mihrab, which the prayer leader stands upon giving the sermon. A minaret is a tall slender tower, circular or square in section, built next or in a mosque in which the Muslims are called to pray. Finally the ablution fountain is a feature frequently but not always encountered in mosques. It is usually put in the center of the mosque's courtyard for the worshipers to perform their ritual washing before prayer.

Ka'ba Mecca

I went to the most sacred place in all of Islam, the Ka'ba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Ka'ba is a shrine, built by Abraham according to Muslim tradition, around a black stone. The Prophet Muhammad specifically designated Mecca as the holy city of Islam and the direction (qibla) in which all Muslims should offer their prayers. It's Black stone stands as the center of the religion and its outer arched walls make for a special area in which all Muslims come to pray at least once in their lifetime.


The Buddhist architecture has its root deeply implanted in the Indian soil- the birthplace of the Buddha's teachings. The Buddhist architecture began with the development of various symbols, representing aspects of the Buddha's life (563 BCE - 483 BCE). For the first time, it was the Indian emperor Ashoka, who not only established Buddhism as the state religion of his large Magadh empire, but also opted for the architectural monuments to spread Buddhism in different places. Distinctive Buddhist architectural structures and sculptures such as Stupas, Pagodas, monasteries and Caves, which have been mere spectators of different eras quietly speaks about the phases of the Buddhist stages.


I went to Lumbini situated in Nepal, east of Kapilavastu and southwest Devedaha. The Buddhism religion is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life. There are 376 million followers worldwide. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC. There is no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible. The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.


Tabernacle: A Tabernacle was a portable place of worship (a two room tent) as the people were traveling in the Wilderness. Synagogue: A Synagogue can be formed if a town has 10 or more families - it is a place of worship on the Sabbath, and it also serves as a school and a meeting place. The Temple-Jewish Temple: The Temple was a permanent place of worship, and the place where people could atone for their sins. There was only one Temple, and that was in Jerusalem. The Wailing Wall: The Wailing Wall has some of the old foundational stones of the old Temple Mount - the Jewish people pray at the wall for the restoration of the Temple. This was the home of the Ark of the Covenant.

The Wailing Wall

I went to the Wailing wall in Jerusalem in search of the most sacred site in Judaism; and I had learned that when Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E., only one outer wall remained standing. The Romans probably would have destroyed that wall also, but it must have seemed too insignificant for them; it was not even part of the Temple itself, just an outer wall around the Temple Mount. For the Jewish people, however, this fragment of what was the most sacred building in the Jewish world quickly became the holiest spot in Jewish life. Throughout the centuries Jews from throughout the world made the difficult pilgrimage to Palestine, and immediately headed for the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi (the Western Wall) to thank God. The prayers offered at the Kotel were so meaningful that non-Jewish people began calling the site the “Wailing Wall.” This underminded name never had a wide following among traditional Jews.


Created with images by Arian Zwegers - "Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia, nativity facade" • MikeBird - "church building architecture" • martineci999 - "vatican city italy cathedral" • Peggy_Marco - "india figures hinduism" • Pedro Nuno Caetano - "A cruise through the ghats II" • hoyasmeg - "Dome of the Rock_1883" • Camera Eye - "Holly Ka'ba" • Simon - "thailand bangkok temple" • taylorandayumi - "Lumbini" • paularps - "Al-Aqsa mosque (Jerusalem, Israël 2013)" • Chadica - "Looking out over the Western Wall"

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