© 1998 (text only) Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe

An exploration of how and why places become invested with SACREDNESS and how the SACRED is embodied or made manifest through ART and ARCHITECTURE


Sacred Places

  • Paul Devereux, Secrets of Ancient and Sacred Places: The World's Mysterious Heritage, London: Blandford, 1992.

  • James Harpur, The Atlas of Sacred Places: Meeting Points of Heaven and Earth, New York: Henry Holt, 1994.

  • Colin Wilson, Atlas of Holy Places & Sacred Sites, New York: DK Publishing, 1996.

  • Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion: The Significance of Religious Myth, Symbolism, and Ritual within Life and Culture, translated from the French by William R. Trask, New York: Harper & Row, 1961 (first published in 1957 in German as Das Heilige und das Profane).

  • Rudolph Otto, The Idea of the Holy: An Inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational, translated by John W. Harvey, 2nd edition, London, New York, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1950 (first edition 1923).

Stones (sources cited)
  • Jean-Pierre Mohen, The World of Megaliths, New York: Facts on File, 1990 (first published in French, 1989).

Water (sources cited)
  • Titus Burckhardt, The Symbolism of Water. in Mirror of the Intellect: Essays on Traditional Science and Sacred Art, translated and edited by William Stoddart, Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987, pp. 124-131.

  • Alev Lytle Croutier, Taking the Waters: Spirir, Art, Sensuality, New York: Abbeville, 1992.

Trees (sources cited)
  • William Anderson, The Green Man, London: HarperCollins, 1990.

  • Karl Bötticher, Der Baumkultus der Hellenen, nach den gottesdienstlichen gebräuchen und den überlieferten bildwerken dargestellt, Berlin: Weidmann, 1856.

  • Jacques Brosse, Mythologie des arbres, Paris, 1989.

  • Valerie Flint, The Rise of Magic in Medieval Europe, Princeton, 1991.

  • John Irwin, Asokan Pillars: A Reassessment of the Evidence, Burlington Magazine, CXVIII, November 1976, pp. 734-753.

  • F. Kampers, Mittelalterliche Sagen vom Paradies und vom Holze des Kreuzes Christi, Cologne, 1897.

  • P. R. S. Moorey, Ur of the Chaldees: A Revised and Updated Edition of Sir Leonard Woolley's Excavations at Ur, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1982.

  • H. W. Parke, The Oracles of Zeus: Dodona, Olympia, Ammon, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1967.

  • Jan Pieper, Arboreal Art and Architecture in India, in Concepts of Space Ancient and Modern, ed. Kapila Vatsyayan, New Delhi: Abhinav, 1991, pp. 333-341.

  • J. H. Philpot, The Sacred Tree, London: Macmillan, 1897.

  • M. Vannucci, Sacred Groves or Holy Forests, in Concepts of Space Ancient and Modern, ed. Kapila Vatsyayan, New Delhi: Abhinav, 1991, pp. 323-331.

  • Richard Buxton, Imaginary Greece: The Contexts of Mythology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

  • Brian Cunliffe, The Celtic World, New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990.

  • Sir James Frazer, The New Golden Bough, A New Abridgment, edited, with notes and forward by Theodor H. Gaster, New York: Criterion Books, 1959. First published in England in 1890 as The Golden Bough.

  • Miranda Green, Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, New York: Thames & Hudson, 1992.

  • Ronald Hutton, The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, Oxford: Blackwell, 1991.

  • W. R. Letherby, Architecture, Mysticism, and Myth, New York: Braziller, 1975 (first published London, 1891).

  • Pausanias's Description of Greece, translated with a commentary by J. G. Frazer, 6 vols., London: Macmillan, 1913.

  • Pliny, Natural History, with an English translation by H. Rackham, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1938-63.

  • Joseph Rykwert, On Adam's House in Paradise: The Idea of the Primitive Hut in Architectural History, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1981.

  • Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.

  • Earl Baldwin Smith, Egyptian Architecture as Cultural Expression, New York: Appleton-Century, 1938.

  • Vitruvius, De architectura, edited from the Harleian manuscript 2767 and translated into English by Frank Granger, London, New York: W. Heinemann; G.P. Putnam's sons, 1931-34.

1. Sacredness

2. The Sacred Cave

3. Stones and the Sacred

4. Mountains and the Sacred

5. Trees and the Sacred

6. Water and the Sacred

SACRED PLACES is written and produced by Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe, Professor, Department of Art History, Sweet Briar College, Virginia, 24595 USA





Abu Simbel


Athenian Acropolis

Holy Sepulchre

Dome of the Rock



Shrine at Ise

Bodh Gaya


St. Peter's Basilica

Saudi Arabia

Mosque of Córdoba

Kata Tjuta