In most parts of the world, religious activity is linked to specific places that have ritual, mythical, or historical significance. These "sacred spaces" become the focus of ritual activity, pilgrimage, and symbolism, and are usually endowed with buildings and art that celebrate the sanctity of the place, create a sense of awe, and accommodate the activities and people who travel to visit them. This course offers an introduction to a selection of significant sacred sites and shrines throughout the world. The holy places discussed in the course are associated with ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman religions, as well as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Through these sacred places, we explore why certain artworks and sites became holy to certain peoples and civilizations, how they convey a sense of transcendence, and in what ways structures are planned to accommodate assembled groups of persons and attendant festivals and rituals.
HISTART category for concentration distributions: A. The Middle East (includes Western and Central Asia, and North Africa), D. Europe and the U.S., 1. Ancient, 2. Medieval.