Architecture of worship Background: St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

The church is built on Vatican Hill, across the Tiber river from the historic center of Rome. Construction of the basilica started between 319 and 322. It was consecrated in 326 AD and finally completed around 349 AD. The basilica had an eighty-five meter (279 ft) long nave with four aisles and a spacious atrium with a central cantharus (fountain), enclosed by a colonnade. A bell tower stood at the front of the atrium. In the middle of the fifteenth century, the basilica was falling into ruin and pope Nicolas V ordered the restoration and enlargement of the church after plans by Bernardo Rossellino.

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, India. Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The Taj is at the furthest end of this complex, with the river Jamuna behind it. The large garden contains four reflecting pools dividing it at the center. Each of these four sections is further subdivided into four sections and then each into yet another four sections.

The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

The Western Wall measures about 160 feet (50 metres) long and about 60 feet (20 metres) high; the wall, however, extends much deeper into the earth. Jewish devotions there date from the early Byzantine period and reaffirm the rabbinic belief that “the divine Presence never departs from the Western Wall.” Jews lament the destruction of the Temple and pray for its restoration. Such terms as Wailing Wall were coined by European travelers who witnessed the mournful vigils of pious Jews before the relic of the sacred Temple.

Temple Complex, Kanchipuram, India

The low-slung sandstone compound contains a large number of carvings, including many half-animal deities which were popular during the early Dravidian architectural period. The structure contains 58 small shrines which are dedicated to various forms of Shiva. These are built into niches on the inner face of the high compound wall of the circumambulatory passage.

The Potala, Lhasa, Tibet

The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m.

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