Cupola – Temple – Minaret

The Cupola – Temple – Minaret project is researching and documenting religious buildings of nonindigenous religions in Switzerland post 1945.

(Click here to go directly to the documentation)

Public spaces represent a sensitive and far from ‹neutral› realm. This is clearly demonstrated wherever nonindigenous religions establish themselves. Examples can be found in current controversies as regards the construction of mosques, even without minarets, of orthodox churches or buildings of other religious communities. Things which were once taken for granted are now no longer so. Previous standards of participation in public spaces must be renegotiated and modified. Through distinctive, visible symbols such buildings, statues, processions, clothing and many others, immigrant religions are demanding their place in the public space.

This is the context for the project undertaken by the Centre for Research on Religion (ZRF). The project is limited to buildings. But which buildings does this involve? What ‹foreign› religious buildings are in existence today? How did they come about? Who built them, and who uses them?

These and other questions form the focus of the project. It surveys and documents any buildings across Switzerland which are externally recognisable as religious buildings and which have sprung up in the period following the Second World War as a consequence of migration.

During the two-year, externally funded development phase, the project documented the approximately 20 buildings already in existence. It has since been expanded to include new building additions (1-2 per year). This documentation provides the foundations for intensive academic analyses. Internet documentation is supplemented with a folding map (aimed at schools and continuing education) and a touring exhibition. This establishes a relationship between the documentation and the successful Lucerne projects Religious diversity in the Canton of Lucerne and Religions in Switzerland. 

In response to the «Cupola – Temple – Minaret» project, the ZRF is also cultivating academic contacts outside Switzerland through the series of international colloquia on the permanent topic «Geography of Religion of the Changing Religious Landscape of Europe». This provides an opportunity to look in greater depth at issues of the relationship between religion, public space and the general public.