The concept of the sanctity of architecture is studied through an examination of the historical development of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, focusing on the reconstruction undertaken by the crusaders in about 1114 and dedicated in 1149. The result of three major periods of construction, the present church is replete with disquieting disjunctions that defy easy explanation. Although the crusaders added elements that reflected their own cultural milieu, such as the monumental entrance and the pilgrimage choir, many of their architectural decisions were guided by the religious associations of the venerable older building. The desire to preserve and display as much as possible of the existing fabric, including both standing walls and spolia, resulted in significant aesthetic and structural compromises in their final design.

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