The Seat of the Faith Community
The physical structures of all faiths, whether they are cathedrals, mosques, synagogues or temples, function as community centers as well as places to pray. Whatever the religion or the style of architecture or decoration, all of these structures are meant to convey divine meaning in an earthly setting: from Buddha statues in temples meant to enlighten, mosque minarets to call the faithful to prayer, to delicately crafted entryway friezes and stained glass windows of cathedrals meant to teach.
Bridgeman represents the collection of author and photographer Painton Cowen, which holds over one thousand images of the most beautiful stained glass windows in the world. Bridgeman is also proud to represent The World Religions Photo Library, an archive of stunning images of architecture and details from just about every faith, covering every corner of the globe.
Mecca and Medina
For Muslims, Medina as the location of the Tomb of the Prophet Muhammad, is second only to Mecca, the home of the Kaaba and site of the Hajj pilgrimage, in holiness. Whenever a Muslim prays, they must do so facing Mecca. All mosques have an altar-like structure, the mihrab, which denotes the direction of Mecca, so Muslims are spiritually connected to the physical location while they pray. The Kaaba, the black stone structure around which Muslims walk clockwise seven time around, is believed to be the first structure built by Abraham.
Jerusalem is unique in that all the Abrahamic religions consider the city a central location for their respective faiths. For Jews, it is the spiritual and cultural center, being home to the First Temple of Solomon. The Western Wall, a portion of the Temple wall that once stood, is a site for Jews to pray and mourn its destruction. Within the Temple complex, known as Temple Mount, sits the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, two structures which make this city the third holiest in Islam. The Dome of the Rock, and its Foundation Stone, is highly contested between Jews and Muslims as both regard the site to be seminal to their faiths. For Christians, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is said to be the site of Jesus' crucifixion and burial.