Religion's Reflection in Architecture

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How have architectural styles reflected the philosophies, religions, and politics of various cultures throughout history?

I would like to focus my discussion on religion's reflection in architecture and hope it will not be too lengthy.

Religion forms the foundation of cultural identity and has decisively shaped world civilizations based on differing, but not exclusive, views of ultimate value: mercy and benevolence in Buddhism, morality and ethics in Confucianism, respect in Shintoism, devotion and mystical unity of divine Self in Hinduism, obedience and perseverance in Judaism, love for the Creator and one's fellowman in Christianity, and submission to the will of Allah in Islam.

Shrine-like buildings found at Catal Huyuk in
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The product of two streams of development, one in the Mediterranean and the other in south-central Asia, Muslim architecture is fundamentally centered upon worship. At its heart is the mosque, whose characteristic domes, minarets, and stylized decorative art encouraged contemplation and prayer.

After the destruction of the Temple and dispersal of Jews from Israel in 70 C.E., Judaism focused on family ritual and synagogues that housed prayer sanctuaries which faced Jerusalem. By the fifth and sixth centuries, many Arabs respected the non-sexualized symbols of Judaism, its ascetic monotheism, and the Jewish devotion to family life and education. The Arabs called the Jews "People of the Book," and Jews and Arabs lived side by side in peace.


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