• Analogous Jerusalem
    Gili Merin
    Humboldt Books, 2024
    Gili Merin

Gili Merin‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬, "Tomb of Absalom‭, ‬son of King Solomon‭, Valley of Kidron‭, Jerusalem," 2018. Digital photograph. Courtesy the artist

Jerusalem was never just a place, but an idea. Throughout the Middle Ages, the city exerted a gravitational pull, attracting bodies of power and making sacred places increasingly inaccessible to people of faith. As the Jerusalem of the East became unattainable, the Jerusalem of the mind became prominent. It was during that time that Medieval Europeans replicated the city in the form of chapels, churches, and religious complexes. These structures offered Medieval pilgrims spiritual rewards—without the physical or financial hardships of pilgrimage—and, over time, transformed into holy destinations in their own right, becoming more “real” than Jerusalem itself. Within the field of sacred architecture, Jerusalem’s contentious holy sites are meticulously documented, yet these replicas’ significance has yet to be meaningfully explored. This book, a photographic guide to these alternative Jerusalems and the rituals performed in them, does just that—and shows how architecture has the power to translate sanctity.

Gili Merin is an architect and photographer based in Vienna. Her research explores pilgrimage, the politics of collective memory, and photography as an architectural tool. Formerly the head of history and theory at the Royal College of Art (RCA) and a diploma unit master at the Architectural Association (AA) in London, she is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Vienna University of Technology and a faculty member at the SCE School of Architecture. Her photo essays include Odyssea Palestina (MIT Press, 2018); Eretz (AA Publications, 2019); The Image and the Caption (Plat Journal, 2021); Photography as a Critical Tool (Stoa, 2022); and Six Stones and a Plinth (Sophia Journal, 2023). Merin is the author of Analogous Jerusalem (Humboldt Books, 2024), which is based on her doctoral dissertation “Towards Jerusalem: The Architecture of Pilgrimage” (supervised by Pier Vittorio Aureli and Maria S. Giudici, 2021).