Temple of Minerva, Assisi, Italy


Assisi – Tempio di Minerva
Published: L. Vignati, c.1910

The Temple of Minerva is an ancient Roman building in Assisi, Umbria, central Italy. It currently houses a church, Santa Maria sopra Minerva, built in 1539 and renovated in Baroque style in the 17th century. The temple was built in the 1st century BC[1] by will of Gnaeus Caesius and Titus Caesius Priscus, who were two of the city’s quattuorviri and also financed the construction. The attribution to the goddess Minerva derives from the finding of a female statue, although a dedication stone to Hercules has been found, and the temple was likely dedicated to this male demi-god. In the Middle Ages the temple housed a tribunal with an annexed jail, as testified by one of Giotto’s frescoes in the St. Francis Basilica, which portrays the church windows with bars.

Of the ancient temple, the façade has been preserved, with six Corinthian columns supporting the architrave and a small pediment. The columns were originally covered by a very strong plaster, which was perhaps colored. The cella was completely demolished during the church’s construction, in the 16th century, while a small section of the temple was found in the 20th century near the altar.
Wikipedia.

The Temple of Minerva was built in the 1st century BC by the quatorvirates Gneus Cesius and Titus Cesius Priscus at their own expense. In Roman times, the piazza in front of the temple was the main city center, and some early Christian martyrs were likely executed here. By the late 4th and 5th centuries, paganism was basically outlawed and the Temple of Minerva was abandoned. Fortunately, however, it was not destroyed. Sometime in the late sixth century, Benedictine monks restored the temple and made use of it. The divided the interior into two floors, creating living rooms in the upper part and the church of San Donato in the lower part.

In the 13th century, the monks leased the temple to the newly-formed Comune of Assisi, which made the temple its headquarters from 1215 to 1270. The Temple of Minerva/San Donato was used as the municipal jail until the 15th century. In 1456, the temple returned to sacred use and the church of San Donato was reopened. In the meantime, the Italian Renaissance inspired a newfound appreciation for classical art and architecture. In the years 1527-1530, the magistrates of Assisi ordered restoration projects to be undertaken. Then, in 1539, Pope Paolo III, making a visit to Assisi, ordered the Temple of Minerva to be completely restored and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, queen of true wisdom. The temple then took the name of Santa Maria sopra Minerva (St. Mary over Minerva).
Sacred Destinations.

From the year 295 BC, Assisi became part of the comune of Rome, the latter having been victorious over the Italian confederacy. In the year 88 BC, the city became a “Municipium romanum” (Roman municipality), with all the rights and regulations afforded to Rome. During the reign of the emperor Augustus, the city of Assisi was transformed into a well organized residential and turistic centre (during the years 28-25 BC). The grand Forum (a rectangle measuring 44 x 88 meters inside) was constructed; various temples were built, the city walls were completed, the baths and the (healing) springs of mineral waters were opened, and the theatre was constructed alongside the amphitheatre. Among the many monuments constructed was the Temple of Minerva, which at that time dominated the Forum complex and even today, still dominates the “Piazza del Comune”, the heart of Assisi and a wonderful example of medieval architecture.
Franciscanum.it

Pantheon, Rome


ROMA – Pantheon

No date or publisher information, c.1910

Street view

Unofficial website
Webcam (Piazza della Rotonda)
Media Centre for Art History: panoramas & photos of details

The Pantheon, from Greek Πάνθειον Pantheion, “[temple] of all the gods”) is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD). It was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD. Its date of construction is uncertain, because Hadrian chose not to inscribe the new temple but rather to retain the inscription of Agrippa’s older temple, which had burned down. The building is cylindrical with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns (eight in the first rank and two groups of four behind) under a pediment. A rectangular vestibule links the porch to the rotunda, which is under a coffered concrete dome, with a central opening (oculus) to the sky. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. The height to the oculus and the diameter of the interior circle are the same, 43 metres (142 ft). It is one of the best-preserved of all Ancient Roman buildings, in large part because it has been in continuous use throughout its history and, since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been in use as a church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda”
Wikipedia.

The purpose of the building is not known for certain but the name, porch and pediment decoration suggest a temple of some sort. However, no cult is known to all of the gods and so the Pantheon may have been designed as a place where the emperor could make public appearances in a setting which reminded onlookers of his divine status, equal with the other gods of the Roman pantheon and his deified emperor predecessors. We are told, for example, by Pliny, the 1st century CE Roman author, that there were once statues of Venus (wearing a pearl once owned by Cleopatra), Mars, and Julius Caesar inside the Pantheon.
Ancient History

The Well, St Neot, Cornwall


St Neots, The Well

Publisher: F. Frith & CO Ltd, c.1910

There are many churches dedicated to St Neot and at least one holy well. Legend has it that the well contained three fish, and an angel told St Neot that as long as he ate no more than one fish a day, their number would never decrease. At a time St Neot fell ill, and his servant went and cooked two of the fish; upon finding this, St Neot prayed for forgiveness and ordered that the fish be returned to the well. As they entered the water, both were miraculously returned to life.
Wikipedia

St Neot’s Holy Well is situated on the right a couple of hundred yards down a small lane that starts in between “Cott” and “Carlyon House”. The lane is almost opposite the shop in the middle of the village.
St Neot Church

The Megalithic Portal

Blanchot Mosque, Dakar, Senegal


33.–Afrique Occidentale (Sénégal)
DAKAR. La Mosqueée

Published: Edmond Fortier, c.1920
Image is early 1910s (predating extention to building, see below) but card might be later. Possibly postmarked 1925.

Streetview

When it was built, in the 1880s, the Blanchot Mosque was in the heart of the African quarter. Europeans lived around the Place du Commerce/Kermel–what is now Place de l’Indépendance/Protet … Between the mid-to late 1880s and the 1930s–when it was encase in a new building–the mosque underwent major transformations. Of concern here is the first one that occurred somewhere between 1914 and 1917 and consisted of an extension on the main façade as well as two porches on the lateral facades. … Another incongruous element on both Saint-Louis and Blanchot is the presence of a clock on the left hand “minaret” tower. There must have been one on each tower because the one that subsists today is on the right hand minaret. One is hard pressed to asset that the towers in question bare any resemblance or remotely mimic the function of the minaret which is to amplify the call to prayer by means of the human voice as opposed to the Christian practice of employing bells to announce prayer times and also to mark the time. Thus the mere presence of clocks on these supposed minarets undermines their true purpose while ensuring that the coloniser’s preoccupation with time and punctuality.
“Making and Remaking Mosques in Senegal”, by Cleo Cantone, pp. 137-8

Also, A Mosque in a Mosque: Some Observations on the Rue Blanchot Mosque in Dakar & its Relation to Other Mosques in the Colonial Period, which has a view of the mosque after the 1910s extension (go down to paragraph 22).

The Rue Blanchot Mosque was Dakar’s only Friday Mosque in colonial times. It was built in the 1880s and was enlarged several times, in the 1910s, the 1930s and again in the 50s
Eric Ross, academic, which includes map saying location and site of original building within extensions.

St Kevin’s Church, Glendalough, Ireland


ST KEVIN’S KITCHEN AND ROUND TOWER, GLENDALOUGH
1932s

Street View

St. Kevin’s Church better known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen is a nave-and-chancel church of the 12th century. It is called St Kevin’s kitchen because people believed that the bell tower was a chimney to a kitchen but really no food was ever cooked there. This stone-roofed building originally had a nave only, with entrance at the west end and a small round-headed window in the east gable. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower.
Visit Wicklow

This stone-roofed building originally had a nave only, with entrance at the west end and a small round-headed window in the east gable. The upper part of the window can be seen above what became the chancel arch when the chancel (now missing) and the sacristy were added later. The steep roof, formed of overlapping stones, is supported internally by a semi-circular vault. Access to the croft or roof chamber was through a rectangular opening towards the western end of the vault. The church also had a timber first floor. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower. It is commonly known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen as the bell tower resembles a kitchen chimney. However, food was not cooked here.
Wikipedia.

Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madura, India

On back:
OUR GLORIOUS EMPIRE
Madura (South India)–Temple Entrance

Madura is a particularly interesting Hindu temple, as it is a centre of South Indian culture.
This is No. 12 of a series of 30 cards issued with the larger packets of the brands manufactured by Godfrey Phillips Ltd., and Associated Companies.
1930s.
Street View

Meenakshi Temple (also referred to as Meenakshi Amman or Meenakshi-Sundareshwara Temple), is a historic Hindu temple located on the southern bank of the Vaigai River in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareshwar, a form of Shiva. The temple is at the center of the ancient temple city of Madurai mentioned in the Tamil Sangam literature, with the goddess temple mentioned in 6th century CE texts.
Wikipedia

According to ancient Tamil literature, the Meenakshi Amman Temple was originally built 2,500 years ago by survivors of the lost continent Kumari Kandam, a mythological triangle-shaped continent that was said to span the Indian Ocean, touching Australia, Madagascar and India. Although this continent’s existence is currently disproven, members of the Tamil Renaissance Movement once believed it to be the hearth of Tamil culture.

But that’s all mythology. In fact, the temple was built by Tamil Hindus native to southeastern India, and it first appeared in recorded history in the 600s AD. In the 1300s, the sacred structure was ransacked and destroyed by the Muslim general Malik Kafur in a successful attempt to spread Islam to Madurai. It wasn’t until nearly 250 years later, in 1559, that the structure was rebuilt by the first Nayak king of Madurai.
Atlas Obscura

More information:
Website.
Cultural India
Just Fun Facts

St Mary’s Church, Pune, India

St Marys Church, Poona
Published: F.B. Stewart & Son, Poona. c.1910

Google Maps

St. Mary’s Church (CNI) located in the Cantonment-Camp area of Pune city is the oldest standing church structure in the mid-western region of India and was called ‘The Mother Church of the Deccan’ by the former Metropolitan of the then Anglican Communion in this part of the world, The Most Reverend Bishop Reginald Heber.

Built in the early 1820s and consecrated on the 3rd of July, 1825, this church building has since then been a place of worship for people from different walks of life even as it has served as a historical landmark. Initially it was built for the purpose of worship for British military officers who were from the Protestant denomination of the Church of England, i.e. the Anglican Church. Gradually, apart from military officers, civilians too who were Christians and subscribed to the faith and practice of the Anglican Church in India, began to worship here.
St Mary’s Church, Camp, Pune (official website)

The British originally came to India to trade. Gradually they worked themselves into power, and India became one of the countries of the British Empire. In Pune [Poonah, Poona] and its suburb Khadki [Kirkee] they had a large military set-up. It was therefore only natural that the British felt the need to have a church for their military personnel. Thus garrison churches came into existence. This is the oldest established Church in Poona or its neighbourhood. The Church was built by Lieut. Nash of the East India Company’s Engineers. The tower at the west end of the church is surmounted by a mixture of lath and plaster.

On the north and south of the tower are respectively vestry and lamp room on the ground floor, with a staircase on the south leading up to the gallery. The interior of the church is 97 feet long from the west door of the church step, and transept 88 feet long from north to south. The width of the naive is 15 feet and transept 35 feet. The top of the spire is 103 feet from the ground. The eight round pillars, four on each side of the nave, are remarkable for the excellency of the chuna plastering with which they are covered having a surface almost like marble.

The church accommodates over 1000 worshippers. The bell in the tower at present replaced the original one and was brought from Kaira Church. The Church foundation were laid by Bishop Reginald Heber in 1825. The Bishop has left an excellent account of his journey up to Poona from Bombay. He describes the Church as spacious, convenient building but in bad architectural taste.
St Mary’s Church, Camp, Pune

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain


Córdoba — La Mezquita. Laberinto de columnas.
The Mosque-Cathedral. Labyrinth of columns.
Published Agustin Fragero, Cordoba


Córdoba — La Mezquita. Una de las naves.
The Mosque-Cathedral. One of the naves.
Published Agustin Fragero, Cordoba

Google Maps (overhead view)
Google Maps, an internal view.

Cordoba’s period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendours of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, the Saint, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Fortaleza de la Calahorra, were erected.

Founded by the Romans in the 2nd century BC near the pre-existing Tartesic Corduba, capital of Baetica, Cordoba acquired great importance during the period of Augustus. It became the capital of the emirate depending on Damascus in the 8th century. In 929, Abderraman III established it as the headquarters of the independent Caliphate. Cordoba’s period of greatest glory began in the 8th century after the Moorish conquest, when some 300 mosques and innumerable palaces and public buildings were built to rival the splendors of Constantinople, Damascus and Baghdad. In the 13th century, under Ferdinand III, Cordoba’s Great Mosque was turned into a cathedral and new defensive structures, particularly the Alcazar de los Reyes Cristianos and the Torre Foraleza de la Calahorra, were erected.
From UNESCO Word Heritage Listing.

The building itself was expanded over two hundred years. It is comprised of a large hypostyle prayer hall (hypostyle means, filled with columns), a courtyard with a fountain in the middle, an orange grove, a covered walkway circling the courtyard, and a minaret (a tower used to call the faithful to prayer) that is now encased in a squared, tapered bell tower. The expansive prayer hall seems magnified by its repeated geometry. It is built with recycled ancient Roman columns from which sprout a striking combination of two-tiered, symmetrical arches, formed of stone and red brick.
Khan Academy

Official Website

Sacred Destinations.
Islamic Arts and Architecture
Wikipedia.

Zotokuin Temple, Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan


YOKOHAMA Obsèques Japonaises (montant au Temple).
(Japanese funeral rites (climbing to the Temple))

Zôtoku-in is a Kôya-san Shingon Buddhist temple in the Heiraku neighborhood of Yokohama; originally located in the Motomachi neighborhood and directly associated with the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery, it was moved to Heiraku, up on the Bluff, after the 1923 Great Kantô Earthquake. The chief objects of worship are Kôbô Daishi and Fudô Myôô. The temple’s Yakushi Hall, most recently rebuilt in 1972, remains in Motomachi. It is said to date, originally, to the 9th century, though there is no surviving documentation of this. The temple’s 20th century stone and metal main gate was replaced in 2008 with a new wooden gate in the traditional style.
The Samurai Archives (has links to Google Maps).

Motomachi, located at the foot of the Yamate area, was established when the residents of Yokohama Village moved here at the time of the opening of the port. Zotokuin Temple was located at the end of the main street (present day Motomachi-Dori). The building in this photograph is the Yakushi-do next to the main hall. The Yakushi-do was later moved to the Horikawa Waterway from its original location and still stands there today.
Naosite

In 1859, soon after the opening of the port of Yokohama, extreme nationalists killed Russian marines Roman Mophet and Ivan Sokoloff. The bakufu bought farmland-adjoining Zotokuin for their tomb. This grave is the oldest known in the Foreign Cemetery. … The former Zotokuin Cemetery area defined at that time is now the area near the Meyer M.Lury Memorial Gate (Motomachi Gate), where the oldest tombs can be found. [Approximately here.] After the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Zotokuin Temple was relocated to Heiraku (Yokohama).
Brief History of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery

Temple of Heaven, Beijing


Temple of Heaven, Pekin
c.1910

Street View.

UNESCO World Heritage listing

The Temple of Heaven, or more literally the Altar of Heaven is a temple of Chinese religion used for imperial ceremonies for five centuries. Its buildings are situated in their own large and tranquil park in southeast Beijing.

Construction of the Temple of Heaven began during the reign of Emperor Yongle was completed in 1420. It was used by all subsequent Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In imperial China, the emperor was regarded as the Son of Heaven, the intermediary between Earth and Heaven. To be seen to be showing respect to the source of his authority, in the form of sacrifices to heaven, was extremely important. The Temple of Heaven was built for these ceremonies.
Sacred Destinations

The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperor in the 16th century. Jiajing also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of the Sun (日壇) in the east, the Temple of Earth (地壇) in the north, and the Temple of Moon (月壇) in the west. The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor. By then, the state budget was insufficient, so this was the last large-scale renovation of the temple complex in imperial times.

The temple was occupied by the Anglo-French Alliance during the Second Opium War. In 1900, during the Boxer Rebellion, the Eight Nation Alliance occupied the temple complex and turned it into the force’s temporary command in Beijing, which lasted for one year. The occupation desecrated the temple and resulted in serious damage to the building complex and the garden. Robberies of temple artifacts by the Alliance were also reported. With the downfall of the Qing, the temple complex was left un-managed. The neglect of the temple complex led to the collapse of several halls in the following years. In 1914, Yuan Shikai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China. In 1918 the temple was turned into a park and for the first time open to the public.
Wikipedia

Qinian Hall (Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests) is most magnificent building in the Temple of Heaven. It is a wooden triple-gable circular pavilion which is 38 meters high with a three-level marble stone base. The ancient emperors prayed for good harvests here. There are 28 pillars propping up the hall. The inner 4 pillars are large, and stand for four seasons. The middle 12 pillars represent the twelve months. The outer 12 pillars indicate 12 periods of a day.

Huangqiongyu Hall (The Imperial Vault of Heaven) is smaller with only one circular gable and one level of marble stone base compared with Qinian Hall. It is the place to enshrine the worshiping tablets of Gods. Inside the hall are pillars and vault decorated by beautiful paintings and carvings. Outside is a circular wall – Echo Wall which can transmit sounds over long distances.

Huanqiu Altar (The Circular Mound Altar) is an empty circular platform with three levels of marble stones. Vivid dragons were carved on the stones to stand for the emperors. The number nine stands for power as well as the emperors in ancient China. You will surprisedly find the balusters and steps are either the sacred number nine or its multiples. In the ancient time, the emperors burn the offerings for Heaven in a stove on the platform.
China Discovery