House of Worship


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

House of Worship

 

a building intended for the performance of divine services and religious rituals. Types of houses of worship and the history of their development are determined not only by religious requirements but also by the general development of architecture and building techniques among different peoples in various countries. The architecture of all types of houses of worship (ancient sanctuary, Christian church, Muslim mosque, Jewish synagogue, Buddhist temple) has been influenced by the development of architecture in various countries and has, thus, acquired a vivid national distinctiveness. The importance of a house of worship often goes beyond the cult functions carried out and the religious ideas embodied. Conceptions of the universe are reflected in the symbolism of the architecture and ornament.

In many eras, particularly during the Middle Ages in Europe, houses of worship were also used for public meetings and secular ceremonies and served as memorials to individuals or events. Monumental houses of worship stood out among ordinary buildings and were located in the focal points of cities, having a great effect on urban planning. In the age of capitalism the design of houses of worship became eclectic. Only in the second half of the 20th century has the design of houses of worship become, in comparison with other branches of construction, less subject to practical and economic demands, attracting architects interested in new forms and lighting effects and in new emotionally expressive spatial solutions based on the use of new combinations of old designs. In the USSR those houses of worship that are outstanding monuments of national architecture are protected by the state.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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