Culture as a drive for art and architecture: Ugarit’s religious architecture as cultural and societal manifestations

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Abstract

Religious buildings are representatives of cultural and ritual dimensions of ancient civilisation; they contribute to the city morphology and systems and their architecture provides interpretations and information of past societies experience of place and space and everyday social and cultural practices. Therefore, this paper focuses on the City of Ugarit, the capital city of a Bronze Age Civilisation that occupied the northwest part of present day Syria, and explores the relationship between Ugaritic people’s ritual and cultural dimensions and the architecture of their central and local religious building (temples and sanctuaries). Using in-depth investigation of archaeological reports and text excavated in the city, as well as onsite architectural analysis and observation, the article investigates how the architectural forms and planning of large and small religious buildings in Ugarit were informed by Ugaritic people's religious practices and cults. The work points out that Ugaritic people carefully planned their religious buildings on architectural and urban scales. In order to fulfil their rituals, Ugaritic people planned the architecture, the structure and the form of their religious buildings based on the religious practices and beliefs rather than being influenced by temples’ design principles shared in the region. This resulted in building forms and architectural/interior arrangements that are distinctive from the surrounding civilisations and regions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArts & Communication
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 17 May 2024

Keywords

  • Religious Architecture
  • Ugarit
  • Bronze Age
  • Architecture and Rituals
  • Meaning of Architecture
  • Ancient temples
  • Sanctuaries

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