Place Of Worship

place of worship is a specially designed structure or consecrated space where individuals or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration, or religious study. A building constructed or used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worshipTempleschurchessynagogues and mosques are examples of structures created for worship. A monastery, particularly for Buddhists, may serve both to house those belonging to religious orders and as a place of worship for visitors. Natural or topographical features may also serve as places of worship, and are considered holy or sacrosanct in some religions; the rituals associated with the Ganges river are an example in Hinduism.

Under International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva Conventions, religious buildings are offered special protection, similar to the protection guaranteed hospitals displaying the Red Cross or Red Crescent. These international laws of war bar firing upon or from a religious building.

Religious architecture expresses the religious beliefs, aesthetic choices, and economic and technological capacity of those who create or adapt it, and thus places of worship show great variety depending on time and place.

Building Columns Architecture Pillar Structure

Greek Temple


Main article: Buddhist temple and List of Buddhist temples

Buddhist temple or Buddhist monastery is the place of worship for Buddhists, the followers of Buddhism. They include the structures called viharachaityastupawat, and pagoda in different regions and languages. Temples in Buddhism represent the pure land or pure environment of a Buddha. Traditional Buddhist temples are designed to inspire inner and outer peace.

  • Candi, Buddhist sanctuaries mostly built during the 1st to 21st centuries in the Malay Archipelago
  • Chaitya, a Buddhist shrine that includes a stupa
  • Jingū-ji, a religious complex in pre-Meiji Japan comprising a Buddhist temple and a local kami Shinto shrine
  • Vihara, a Buddhist monastery found abundantly in Bihar
  • Wat, the name for a monastery temple in Cambodia and Thailand


Main article: Church Building and List of churches

The word church derives from the Greek ekklesia, meaning the called-out ones. Its original meaning is to refer to the body of believers, or the body of Christ. The word church is used to refer to a Christian place of worship by some Christian denominations, including Anglicans and Catholics. Other Christian denominations, including the Religious Society of Friends, Mennonites, Christadelphians, and some unitarians, object to the use of the word “church” to refer to a building, as they argue that this word should be reserved for the body of believers who worship there. Instead, these groups use words such as “Hall” to identify their places of worship or any building in use by them for the purpose of assembly.

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

  • Basilica (Roman Catholic)
  • Cathedral or minster (seat of a diocesan bishop within the Catholic, Orthodox and Anglican churches)
  • Chapel (“Capel” in Welsh) – Presbyterian Church of Wales (Calvinistic Methodism), and some other denominations, especially non-conformist denominations. English law once reserved the term “church” to the Church of England. In Catholicism and Anglicanism, some smaller and “private” places of worship are called chapels.
  • Church – Iglesia ni Cristo, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant denominations
  • Kirk (Scottish–cognate with church)
  • Meeting House – Religious Society of Friends
  • Meeting House – Christadelphians
  • Meeting House and Temple – Mormons
    Latter-day Saints use meeting house and temple to denote two different types of buildings. Normal worship services are held in ward meeting houses (or chapels) while Mormon temples are reserved for special ordinances.
  • Temple – French Protestants
    Protestant denominations installed in France in the early modern era use the word temple (as opposed to church, supposed to be Roman Catholic); some more recently built temples are called church.
  • Orthodox temple – Orthodox Christianity (both Eastern and Oriental)
    an Orthodox temple is a place of worship with base shaped like Greek cross.
  • Kingdom Hall – Jehovah’s Witnesses may apply the term in a general way to any meeting place used for their formal meetings for worship, but apply the term formally to those places established by and for local congregations of up to 200 adherents. Their multi-congregation events are typically held at a meeting place termed Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses (or Christian Convention Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses).

Classical antiquity

Ancient Greece

Greek temples (ναός, naóslit. ‘dwelling’, semantically distinct from Latin templum, “temple”) were structures built to house deity statues within Greek sanctuaries in ancient Greek religion. The temple interiors did not serve as meeting places, since the sacrifices and rituals dedicated to the respective deity took place outside them, within the wider precinct of the sanctuary, which might be large. Temples were frequently used to store votive offerings. They are the most important and most widespread building type in Greek architecture. In the Hellenistic kingdoms of Southwest Asia and of North Africa, buildings erected to fulfil the functions of a temple often continued to follow the local traditions. Even where a Greek influence is visible, such structures are not normally considered as Greek temples. This applies, for example, to the Graeco-Parthian and Bactrian temples, or to the Ptolemaic examples, which follow Egyptian tradition. Most Greek temples were oriented astronomically.

Ancient Rome

Ancient Roman temples were among the most important buildings in Roman culture, and some of the richest buildings in Roman architecture, though only a few survive in any sort of complete state. Today they remain “the most obvious symbol of Roman architecture”. Their construction and maintenance was a major part of ancient Roman religion, and all towns of any importance had at least one main temple, as well as smaller shrines. The main room (cella) housed the cult image of the deity to whom the temple was dedicated, and often a table for supplementary offerings or libations and a small altar for incense. Behind the cella was a room or rooms used by temple attendants for storage of equipment and offerings. The ordinary worshiper rarely entered the cella, and most public ceremonies were performed outside where the sacrificial altar was located, on the portico, with a crowd gathered in the temple precinct.


Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of god. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and squares. A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmos—presenting the good, the evil and the human, as well as the elements of Hindu sense of cyclic time and the essence of life—symbolically presenting dharma, kama, artha, moksa, and karma.



A 1907 image of the Great Mosque of Mecca with people praying therein

Mosque (المسجد Al-masjid‎) is a place of worship for followers of Islam. There are strict and detailed requirements in Sunni jurisprudence (fiqh) for a place of worship to be considered a masjid, with places that do not meet these requirements regarded as musallas. There are stringent restrictions on the uses of the area formally demarcated as the mosque (which is often a small portion of the larger complex), and, in the Islamic Sharia law, after an area is formally designated as a mosque, it remains so until the Last Day.

Many mosques have elaborate domes, minarets, and prayer halls, in varying styles of architecture. Mosques originated on the Arabian Peninsula, but are now found in all inhabited continents. The mosque serves as a place where Muslims can come together for salat (صلاة ṣalāt, meaning “prayer”) as well as a center for information, education, social welfare, and dispute settlement. The imam leads the congregation in prayer.


Derasar is a word used for a Jain temple in Gujarat and southern Rajasthan. Basadi is a Jain shrine or temple in Karnataka. There are some guidelines to follow when one is visiting a Jain temple:

  • Before entering the temple, one should bathe and wear fresh washed clothes
  • One should not be chewing any edibles
  • One should try to keep as silent as possible inside the temple.
  • Mobile phones should not be used in the temple.


  • Synagogue – Judaism
    • Some synagogues, especially Reform synagogues, are called temples, but Orthodox and Conservative Judaism consider this inappropriate as they do not consider synagogues a replacement for the Temple in Jerusalem. Some Jewish congregations use the Yiddish term ‘shul’ to describe their place of worship or Beyt Knesset ( Hebrew בית כנסת ) meaning house of assembly.

Norse Paganism

heathen hof or Germanic pagan temple was a temple building of Germanic religion; a few have also been built for use in modern heathenry. The term hof is taken from Old Norse.


Shinto shrine (神社jinja, archaic: shinsha, meaning: “place of the god(s)”) is a structure whose main purpose is to house (“enshrine”) one or more kami. Its most important building is used for the safekeeping of sacred objects, and not for worship. Although only one word (“shrine”) is used in English, in Japanese, Shinto shrines may carry any one of many different, non-equivalent names like gongen-gūjinjajingūmorimyōjin-shataishaubusuna, or yashiro.


gurdwara (gurdwārā; meaning “door to the guru”) is a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs. Sikhs also refer to gurdwaras as Gurdwara Sahib. People from all faiths are welcomed in Sikh gurdwaras. Each gurdwara has a Darbar Sahib where the current and everlasting guru of the Sikhs, the scripture Guru Granth Sahib, is placed on a takhat (an elevated throne) in a prominent central position. The raagis (who sing Ragas) recite, sing, and explain the verses from the Guru Granth Sahib, in the presence of the congregation.


Taoist temple (traditional Chinese: ; simplified Chinese: ; pinyin: guān, also 道观 dàoguān, literally “[place] where the Tao is observed/cultivated”) is a place of worship in Taoism.


fire temple in Zoroastrianism is the place of worship for Zoroastrians, often called dar-e mehr (Persian) or agiyari (Gujarati). In the Zoroastrian religion, fire (see atar), together with clean water, are agents of ritual purity. Clean, white “ash for the purification ceremonies [is] regarded as the basis of ritual life”, which “are essentially the rites proper to the tending of a domestic fire, for the temple [fire] is that of the hearth fire raised to a new solemnity”. For, one “who sacrifices unto fire with fuel in his hand …, is given happiness”.

Vietnamese ancestral worship

  • Nhà thờ họ. Historically speaking Vietnamese people venerate their ancestors, as they somehow still exist among them. However, there is a large diversity of religions in Vietnam, Christianity, Buddhism and Cao Dai religion.

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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