Europe is home to several hundred thousand churches, chapels, mosques, synagogues, abbeys and other religious sites. For visitors, they are places of cultural, artistic and historical wonder. For local people, they are places of community heritage, shared space and local history. Many contain hidden artistic gems.
Religiana, a project created by Future for Religious Heritage, is a comprehensive resource to promote and protect European religious heritage. Featuring information on buildings from across Europe, Religiana serves two purposes: it promotes these buildings as beautiful and unique places to visit and facilitates visits by sharing practical information with users; whilst also helping preserve European heritage through highlighting restoration and financial needs.
75% of Europeans believe that religious heritage buildings occupy an essential place in their cultural heritance. Religiana not only allows greater numbers of people to experience and appreciate these sites, it helps promote the maintenance and restoration work that these buildings may require in order to stay open.
Europe’s Religious Heritage – the 500,000 buildings themselves, churches, chapels, synagogues, mosques, cathedral, monasteries, convents: their furnishings, monuments, sculptures, paintings, frescos, silver, vestments, libraries: the architects, artists and musicians they have inspired over the centuries: their record of national, local and individual history dating back well over 1000 years – which represent a unique and essential part of Europe’s cultural identity is largely ignored.
The potential for religious heritage buildings to attract visitors and for visits to be enjoyable and worthwhile is huge. Religious buildings provide a window into the past, giving visitors the chance to learn more about their ancestors and the world they lived in, as well as showcasing the work of some of histories most talented craftsman.
Through Religiana, Future for Religious Heritage has created a platform that aims to enable visitors to access information on Europe’s Grandest Museum from the comfort of their home, or while on the move, supporting visitors to these beautiful buildings.
European Route of Brick Gothic brings together members who are aware of the value, significance and cultural tourism potential of their Brick Gothic buildings, and who are keen to pool their resources and raise awareness of their heritage among the European public. The European Route of Brick Gothic today encompasses cities, regions and buildings, mainly from the southern Baltic Sea region.
The Fortified Churches Foundation is an expert institution dedicated to preserving and maintaining the religious heritage of the Evangelic Church of Augustan Confession in Romania (ECR). To do so, a large number of activities that go beyond the fields of construction and preservation are intended. Fortified Churches Foundation is a member of FRH.
The Foundation for Jewish Heritage is dedicated to the preservation of Jewish architectural sites, working internationally to ensure a future for historic synagogues, Jewish monuments and places of cultural significance. The Foundation commissioned research, undertaken by the Center for Jewish Art of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, to create an inventory of the historic synagogues across the whole of Europe. Foundation of Jewish Heritage is a member of FRH.
Kirkesok is a website that contains all churches belonging to the Norwegian Church. It is operated by KA, an organisation that aims to ensure a professional and long-term management of the church buildings. On behalf of the Ministry of Church Affairs of Norway, KA is responsible for the development of the Church Building Database, which is a management tool for local, regional and central administrative units.
The work of the National Churches Trust is dedicated to supporting places of worship of historic, architectural and communal value used by Christian denotations throughout the UK. They do this by providing grants for urgent repairs and community facilities, helping places of worship keep their buildings in good repair through their “MaintenanceBooker” service, and on their Explore Churches website making it easy for everyone to discover the wonder of the UK’s sacred heritage. National Churches Trust is a member of FRH.
Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux (OPR) is a French association which works for the preservation and enhancement of French religious heritage, all cults and periods combined. The Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux also advises France's elected officials, who are in charge of nearly 42,000 religious buildings. Observatoire du Patrimoine Religieux is a member of FRH.
Founded in 2016, Open Churches is a network of more than 425 churches located in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. The members of Open Churches are committed to ensuring churches remain welcoming places for visitors, and that they do not close their doors. They also share in-depth information on the churches on the Open Churches website. The association is distinguished by the individual relationship it builds with each of the churches in the network, as well as the promotion and support for volunteer groups that act as custodians for the churches. Open Churches is a member of FRH
The Route of the Romanesque has been emerging as a national reference project, being recognised as a paradigm of regional development, in various areas of intervention: from heritage conservation to tourist promotion, from scientific research to the dissemination of knowledge, from cultural promotion to heritage education.