Mapping of the Holy Land: Contemporary religious mapping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One hundred and one current maps of Israel were analysed for their modern mapping religious elements in respect of the Holy Land. The main issues of the study are which religious elements appear and their form of representation in the range of maps; the impressions that can be derived from the different maps; and the narratives that can be construed from this representation. The research methods applied were hermeneutics and semiotics. Narratives identified on the various maps were the 'holy' vs the 'secular' narrative, the 'holy Christian' narrative, the Jewish narrative, and the Muslim narrative. The Christian narrative proved the most dominant, while the Muslim narrative was rarely found in the maps, even in those with a 'Palestinian' narrative. Religious maps evinced a special cartographic status because of their subjective nature and their attempt to combine contemporary reality with the tradition of maps of the ancient Holy Land. Aubiquitous finding was disregard for political issues, although the maps' messages allow the map user to draw conclusions about ideology, images and conflicts. The semiotic method was found appropriate and suitable for reading the maps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-120
Number of pages16
JournalTijdschrift Voor Economische en Sociale Geografie
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Image
  • Israel
  • Maps
  • Narrative
  • Religions
  • Semiotics
  • The Holy Land

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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