HU gets grant to study European structures that mirror J'lem

Grant director: "EU communities would make structures that would convey the atmosphere of being in the Holy City.”

old city lit up 29888 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
old city lit up 29888
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Coinciding with Jerusalem Day, the European Forum at Hebrew University has received a €1.8 million grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to spearhead an extensive, unprecedented study of thousands of structures throughout Europe that are a reflection of similar sites in Jerusalem.
“Throughout 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,” Prof. Bianca Kuhnel, director of the European Forum, said in a statement released by the university last week.
“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,” she continued.
Kuhnel also noted that she was the only Israeli researcher to have been awarded an ERC advanced grant in the humanities this year.
The study, which is set to begin in June and will last for 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 Muslim worlds,” Kuhnel said. “These replicas were built in various styles and at various levels of identification with the original structures.”
The project will map the location of the various Jerusalem-inspired sites in numerous European countries, and will document who built them and for what purposes.
“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,” Kuhnel added.