Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry.

Sectarianism and reconciliation

Just as buildings can be caught up in the cycles of destruction that often accompany sectarian violence, so they can also come to symbolise a spirit of reconciliation. For both sides in a divided society, some categories of building have obvious symbolic significance. In the Middle East, Coptic churches are not only destroyed, but once flattened their previous existence can be denied. Across Europe, synagogues have been expunged. And in Northern Ireland, both Catholic and Protestant churches have been vandalised and torched. Restoring such buildings can be the beginning ...

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