Among architectural types, the religious and sacred express most visibly humankind’s eternal efforts to represent, reveal and reach the transcendent and eternal.
Religious buildings or sites are sacred places where the presence of God is manifest and the boundaries between the sacred and the profane connect; they are also where the worldly and the transcendent meet in terms of the donor, who hopes that the offering will attract God’s favour.
Traditional societies saw their fundaments in the presence and power of God in the universe, thus religious buildings were the focal point of the city both physically and symbolically. A significant number of religious buildings in Arab and Ottoman lands have left evidence that different faiths coexisted among cultures and societies. A wide range of religious buildings pertain to Christian worship, including burial sites and other types of mausoleums, churches, monasteries and other religious monuments. Mosques and minarets are the most apparent and significant sites of the Islamic faith, which remained identifying and determining elements of the Islamic urban structure even during the colonial era. Temples, mosques, churches, tombs and mausoleums all betray layers of civilisations past and present.