Sacred places: spaces for a dialogue among cultures


  • Olimpia Niglio Universidad de Ibagué, International School, Colombia,; AIRC International Research Center, Vienna, Austria
  • Luigi Guerriero



Sacred places, Intercultural dialogue, Human Values, Cultural syncretism


Background. The construction of a sacred space identifies a place where men realize a direct relationship with their God, qualifying this space as the absolute center of the existence, regardless of its location and its definition.

In the sacred places, the geometric-dimensional relations, that define each space, are enriched with the temporal connotation, making more explicit the inseparable relationship between the architecture and the historical process (to stay erected in front of the history, following the more convincing anthropological meaning of the building action) with the material changes of the same architecture.

Results. Then, each sacred place is the center (from which an axis is inevitably outlined) of a spatial dimension that is emancipated from pure physical conditions and it forces to involve tools of unusual analysis that fit the specificity of the use (in other words, the symbolic character).

The sacred place assumes the role of an instrument of synthesis (of manifesto) that allows a vision of the world ables to build the dialogue among the cultures, overcoming the limits of the individual perspectives and fitting a community program based on the sharing of the Human Values.

Conclusion. Given these premises, the paper reconsiders some studies of the history of the architecture that has given specific attention to the issue of the sacred place that is also seen as material and intangible space, where men meet their God, their self and the community. The contribution also analyzes experiences of realization of sacred spaces, between the second half of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth, examining religious architecture in different geographic areas and with multiple cultures. These sacred spaces have often allowed overcoming the fracture caused by colonial politics, favoring the regeneration of the meaning of the sacred places.


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