Religious heritages as spatial phenomena: Constructions, experiences, and selections

  • Anna Niedźwiedź Jagiellonian University in Kraków
  • Kamila Baraniecka-Olszewska Polish Academy of Sciences
Keywords: heritage, religions, space, religious heritages, Europe, heritagisation


This special issue explores the relationship between religious heritages and space. We will approach religious heritages as spatial phenomena to analyse how heritages are constructed, manifested, lived and experienced, celebrated and cherished but also neglected, disputed or contested through and in space(s). This introductory paper starts by untangling religious and heritage discourses triggered by the July 2020 Hagia Sophia transformation into a mosque. Furthermore, we refer to anthropological theorisations of religious and heritage and the ambiguity of sacralisation and heritagisation. Diverse theories of space and interconnectivity of time and spatial dimensions in the context of religious heritage sites are presented as inspiring tools for anthropologically oriented studies. While cases analysed in this special issue concern European societies (in England, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland), broader theoretical questions are instructive and could be applied to other geographical locations, especially when heritage discourses and processes of heritagisation interact with various conceptualisations of sacred and secular.