Born in a dark cave in Palestine, Christianity was a religion originally practiced in secret. After three centuries, it was allowed out into the open, and the various styles of churches that have emerged are symbols of the faith of men and their tireless quest to reach height and light in the name of the glory of God. Monasteries, churches, and cathedrals demonstrate a variety of styles. From Jerusalem to Mont Saint-Michel, Florence to Moscow, these styles demonstrate a division of eastern and western churches, as well as the influences of Muslim conquest, the Gothic, and the Renaissance.
Witness to the faith of men and markers of the power of great Muslim rulers, mosques tell us the whole history of Islam in its diversity. Spirituality is incarnated in monuments that reach great heights of ingenuity and beauty through their architecture and their decor. The refinement of the art and the immensity of the spaces are the main principles that guide these edifices from Cordoba, to Istanbul, Cairo to Isfahan.
The story of Jewish synagogues is a story of absence and presence. Similarly to its people, synagogues are examples of survival despite conflict and persecution, such as the synagogues of Cordoba, Toledo, and Budapest. Others are symbols of the strength and pride, such as the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam or the Beth Sholom Synagogue in the United States, the only synagogue ever designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
In Asia, the horizontal lines of temples and sanctuaries represent a geographic proximity to nature and to living things. Complex and geometric, these structures are inspired by the cosmos, natural elements, and even the human body. They are mythical bridges that connect the human with the divine.