Relationship of Religious Rites with Urban View


By Dr. Solmaz Rezaei
Head of research and consulting department

In today’s modern world, the city is a space that should create the spirit of life for its inhabitants, and any urban development should be accompanied by the preservation of the historical and cultural identity of the city. In this regard, the urban landscape as a symbol of the collective spirit of every urban society is the result of the decisions and imaginations of the people in that city. The urban landscape is divided into two objective and subjective parts from a psychological point of view. In a more precise definition, the objective urban landscape is all that is perceived in the first stage of the urban environment and its various levels, and the mental picture of the image plays a role in the minds of the people of the urban environment that comes into existence in relation to their emotions. In other words, the urban landscape is a combination of an intangible mentality and a tangible objective body that can be examined and analyzed from a variety of dimensions. Meanwhile, community beliefs and values play a key role in shaping urban landscapes. The physical characteristics of cities are the outcome of the needs, behaviors and beliefs of their inhabitants, and therefore the nature and landscape of each city are different from other cities according to the variety of these components.
“Rites” have long had an undeniable effect on the formation of human settlements. As diverse environments can be effective on the beliefs of the community, national and religious ceremonies also have a reciprocal impact on their surroundings. “Rites” are a set of human behaviors that, based on common beliefs, make society socially more coherent. Meanwhile, religious rituals are behaviors derived from religious teachings that have a special place in the traditions and culture of peoples of a religious geography and are used to express religious feelings. It is evident that these rituals alone do not have a transformative effect on individuals, but these internal institutional beliefs and the crystallization of such social behaviors leads to the transcendence of human soul. Such rituals, as social activities with a symbolic nature, have the ability to repeat in a certain place and time, connecting individuals in time and space, and leading a regular movement. In historical analysis of urban space, in addition to having a revealing role in the historical aging of a society, rites create collective memories. Rites also specify a clear orientation for urban designers to take into account physical considerations to create spaces that are suitable for ritualization. Rites, in addition to having a fundamental role in the formation of the characteristics of urban spaces, because of their spiritual and historical features, have given a special identity to spaces that lack physical characteristics and give them a distinctive place in terms of memorable features they create in the minds of citizens. According to Mircea Eliade, of Romanian scholars and mythologists, rites make space and places superior to each other and create sacred times. That is how such events form the urban scene with the ability to create or strengthen the sense of place and belonging and link the present and the past.
The holding of cultural and religious ceremonies as a rooted movement has always been a serious consideration among the Iranian people and has been steadily increasing over the course of history. In the meantime, religious places such as Husseiniyehs, Takaya, Mosques and public spaces embraced by such ceremonies have significant signs that make space meaningful for the establishment of positive social interactions and the promotion of collective identity. Such places now have a plentiful place in the culture and beliefs of the community and, by creating collective memories, bring about the revival of urban life.