Encyclopedia of Sacred Places, 2nd Edition

by Norbert C. Brockman


The cultural power of sacred places seems to have diminished little, and perhaps even grown, in the modern era. Participation in pilgrimages has increased immensely in recent decades as greater numbers of people are able to travel the world to visit holy sites, partake in ceremonies and rituals, and add another dimension to the expression of their faith.

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Cover image for Encyclopedia of Sacred Places

September 2011


Pages 681
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Religion/History

Now thoroughly revised and updated, this encyclopedia documents the diversity of shrines, temples, holy places, and pilgrimage sites sacred to the world's major religious traditions, and illustrates their elemental place in human culture.

As interest increases in the role of world religions in history and international affairs, the new edition of Encyclopedia of Sacred Places—which arrives 15 years after the publication of the original edition—provides new and updated information on site-specific religious practice and spiritually significant locations around the globe.

While many of the entries describe specific places, like the Erawan Shrine and the Rock of Cashel, others examine types of sacred sites, pilgrimages, and practices. With articles that describe both the places and their associated traditions and history, this reference book reveals the enormous diversity and cultural significance of religious practice worldwide. For students and teachers of classes ranging from high school geography to university-level courses in religious studies, geography, anthropology, and sociology, this book provides essential reference on places of great significance to the world's various faith traditions.


  • Over 300 A–Z entries covering sites and pilgrimages sacred to the world's major religious traditions
  • Illustrative photographs and maps
  • A glossary of relevant terms
  • Appendices listing sites by country, faith tradition, and placement in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites


  • Covers a wide variety of faith traditions
  • Provides updated information regarding recent events and developments
  • Written to present the material in each entry with respect for the traditions of the associated religion
  • Introduces sites sacred to new religious movements that are rarely presented in other encyclopedias
Author Info

Norbert C. Brockman, SM, PhD, is professor emeritus of international relations at St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX. He has taught African studies and world religions at several universities in Canada, the United States, and Kenya. His published works include An African Biographical Dictionary and a number of articles in Political Science and religious journals.



"All in all, this collection provides an inspiring entry point for readers new to this subject. Summing Up: Recommended."Choice

"At Kakadu in Australia, I learnt the Ubir escarpment rock faces were first decorated over 40,000 years ago. Whilst today most of the decoration is 2,000 years old it is still used to tell stories to children warning them of the dangers they could face in the wild. Entries such as this, which may appear to be more light-hearted and less scholarly, give a good balance to the encyclopedia. This balance indicates how well-researched the material is whilst also ensuring that it is accessible, relevant and interesting to a wide variety of possible readers. It is a volume that I would highly recommend to anyone with an academic or casual interest in the subject."Reference Reviews

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