About the project

Welcome statement

Logo - squareWelcome to the Shared Sacred Sites website.
On April 23 every year, more than 10,000 pilgrims of all religions come together in Büyükada, Istanbul where a Greek Orthodox monastery welcomes them from the top of the hill. They make their way up often in silence, unraveling spools of thread, making wishes and reach the monastery to be blessed by the monks and pray for health, happiness and livelihood. This website explores pilgrimages like this one and the numerous churches, mosques, temples, shrines, and caves across the Mediterranean Basin, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa where these interactions occur.
The information we provide on these numerous sites of coexistence in the world is the result of many years of collaboration and research on the part of scholars who have studied and visited, documented and filmed the places, practices and patterns of pilgrims and devout members of religious communities. Their work is displayed here for anyone to browse and learn, to use the material and gain some understanding on the existence of tolerance and peaceful coexistence around the world.
The examples of peaceful sharing provide both opportunities for education, and also for the promotion of tolerance and coexistence. We hope that your visit to the website will be impactful and that you return many times to follow the work we do.

Karen Barkey

Site introduction

The sharing of spaces, sites, and symbolism by multiple religious communities demonstrates the practical choreographies and social possibilities of cooperation between potentially antagonistic communities, and the study of such sharing provides key insights into characteristics and features crucial to the cultivation of tolerance and understanding. Shared Sacred Sites is a collaborative project that seeks to develop a rubric for the description, classification, analysis, and publication of work relating to spaces and locations used by multiple, disparate communities for religious purposes. The project is composed of several sub-projects that individually address different and particular difficulties in the study of shared sacred sites and that combine to form an important and updated survey of the unique features, mechanisms, and adaptations of coexistence found in the communities involved with shared sacred sites.

The summaries below describe the available tools and the subjects involved in each section of the website. First time users are encouraged to read the General suggestions below, and you may want to read Why Shared Sacred Sites for more information.

Sections and Tools

To visit the relevant section, click the image below. Each section also appears in the menu atop every page of the site.

Button - Repository brighter-scaledThe primary tool shared by most of the projects on website is the repository, a catalog of references to bibliographic and multimedia publications on the subject of shared sacred sites. The catalog providing references and links to a large collection of relevant materials used in the study of shared sacred sites. While this typically means references to traditional (offline) books and articles, increasingly this material is appearing online, and wherever possible a hyperlink to the publication is provided. The repository is continually enhanced through the addition of new publications.

Button - Fieldwork & ArchiveEthnographic fieldwork plays a crucial role in the study of shared sacred sites. In the Fieldwork Archive, you will find a catalog of ethnographic materials on shared sacred sites, including images, audios, videos, and field-notes, that are organized by specific site, country, and community. In addition, the Shared Sacred Sites team has conducted fieldwork in Turkey, Greece, and India that you can read in Our Fieldwork.

Button - Visual HasluckVisual Hasluck is a digital humanities project developing an interactive version of Christianity and Islam under the Sultans, a milestone work by antiquarian and archaeologist F.W. Hasluck (edited and published in 1929 by his wife Margaret). The project aims to publish this seminal work as an open and expandable online resource for the spatial history of sacred sites and religious monuments in the late Ottoman world. The project features many interesting text visualizations and maps, providing new insights into a foundational text on the study of shared sacred sites.

Button - Museum ExhibitThe Shared Sacred Sites team has begun talks to facilitate the bringing of the Shared Holy Places (lieux saints partagés) exhibit, originally designed by The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations, to the United States.  The exhibition is an affecting, multimedia exhibit featuring a variety of digital and traditional works of art and artifacts connected to modern shared sacred sites. You can find an introduction and summary of the proposed exhibit in this section of the website.

Button - Publications-scaledThe Shared Sacred Sites project involves the participation of multiple scholars whose personal and professional interests are concerned with interreligious sites. The Publications section features work by scholars that are directly involved with the Shared Sacred Sites project. Many are currently undertaking research that directly or indirectly contributes to the study of shared sacred sites, and associates of the project contribute intellectually to content that is published every year.

Button - Scholarly NetworkMany scholars from all over the world are involved in the study of shared sacred sites. The Shared Sacred Sites website provides a centralized resource to connect with scholars involved in such research. The Directory of Scholars provides a profile for dozens of scholars in the network, including their areas of interest, associated sites, and links to their publications and fieldwork materials.

General Suggestions

The website is primarily designed to provide tools for scholars and academics studying the phenomenon of shared sacred sites, but anyone interested in the subject should easily be able to find a wealth of information. The general reader is encouraged to first consult Why Shared Sacred Sites for an introductory essay on what they are and why they matter. From there, the general reader could consult the essays and images in Our Fieldwork, which provides a number of representative case studies in Greece, Turkey, and India. Further explorations can continue in the Repository, where one can find an extensive reading list on any topic of specific interest. For best results, search the catalog with a keyword, but you can also browse the bibliographies if you want to see a representative list.

Journalists and scholars looking for images or materials on specific sites or communities may want to visit the Fieldwork Archive first. The ever-expanding database provides links and downloadable files on the relevant subjects, and the catalog’s organization makes it easy to locate specific materials if they are available.