Monday, May 17, 2010
1.8 million euro grant to fund Hebrew University study of Jerusalem-inspired structures throughout Europe.
The interior of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem (Photo: Flash 90)
In connection with Jerusalem Day (May 12), the European Forum at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announced today the receipt of a grant of 1.8 million euros from the European Research Council (ERC) to conduct an extensive, unprecedented study of the many thousands of structures throughout Europe that are a reflection of sites in Jerusalem.
Through the ages, communities in Europe sought to bring to their inhabitants a feeling of being in Jerusalem through the building of local structures that would convey the atmosphere of being in the holy city.
Despite the widespread nature of this phenomenon, it has not until now been investigated and documented in the comprehensive manner that will mark the unique Hebrew University project, said Prof. Bianca Kuehnel, director of the European Forum and recipient of the ERC grant. Prof. Kuehnel noted that she is the only Israeli researcher who has been awarded an ERC advanced grant in the humanities this year.
The study, to begin in June and to last five years, will focus primarily on architectural features found in churches, monasteries and other monumental buildings that are meant to recall the style and atmosphere of Jerusalem.
“The building of replicas of Jerusalem sites, such as the Temple, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock, is a recognized phenomenon in the Jewish, Christian and Moslem worlds,” said Prof. Kuehnel. These replicas, were built in various styles and at various levels of identification with the original structures, she said.
The Hebrew University project will map the location of the various Jerusalem-inspired sites in numerous European countries, will document who built them and for what purpose, and will compare them and seek common elements that can be found in them.
This identification with Israel through so many sites throughout Europe serves to strengthen Jerusalem’s image there and adds to Israel's ties with Europe, said Prof. Kuehnel.