The nave ( // ) is the central part of a church, stretching from the (normally western) main entrance or rear wall, to the transepts, or in a church without transepts, to the chancel. When a church contains side aisles, as in a basilica-type building, the strict definition of the term "nave" is restricted to the central aisle. In a broader, more colloquial sense, the nave includes all areas available for the lay worshippers, including the side-aisles and transepts. Either way, the nave is distinct from the area reserved for the choir and clergy.
The nave extends from the entry—which may have a separate vestibule (the narthex)—to the chancel and may be flanked by lower side-aislesseparated from the nave by an arcade. If the aisles are high and of a width comparable to the central nave, the structure is sometimes said to have three naves. It provides the central approach to the high altar.
The term nave is from navis, the Latin word for ship, an early Christian symbol of the Church as a whole, with a possible connection to the "Ship of St. Peter" or the Ark of Noah.The term may also have been suggested by the keel shape of the vaulting of a church. In many Scandinavian and Baltic countries a model ship is commonly found hanging in the nave of a church, and in some languages the same word means both 'nave' and 'ship', as for instance Danish skib , Swedish skepp or Spanish (nave).
The earliest churches were built when builders were familiar with the form of the Roman basilica, a public building for business transactions. It had a wide central area, with aisles separated by columns, and with windows near the ceiling. Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is an early church which had this form. It was built in the 4th century on the orders of Roman emperor Constantine I, and replaced in the 16th century.
The nave, the main body of the building, is the section set apart for the laity, while the chancel is reserved for the clergy. In medieval churches the nave was separated from the chancel by the rood screen; these, being elaborately decorated, were notable features in European churches from the 14th to the mid-16th century.
Medieval naves were divided into bays, the repetition of form giving an effect of great length; and the vertical element of the nave was emphasized. During the Renaissance, in place of dramatic effects there were more balanced proportions.
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 11th century, this later date being the most commonly held. In the 12th century it developed into the Gothic style, marked by pointed arches. Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman architecture. The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.
In Ancient Roman architecture, a basilica was a large public building with multiple functions, typically built alongside the town's forum. The basilica was in the Latin West equivalent to the Stoa in the Greek East. The building gave its name to the architectural form of the basilica.
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, or simply Saint Peter's Basilica, is a church built in the Renaissance style located in Vatican City, the papal enclave which is within the city of Rome.
The architecture of cathedrals, basilicas and abbey churches is characterised by the buildings' large scale and follows one of several branching traditions of form, function and style that all ultimately derive from the Early Christian architectural traditions established in the Constantinian period.
An aisle is, in general (common), a space for walking with rows of seats on both sides or with rows of seats on one side and a wall on the other. Aisles can be seen in airplanes, certain types of buildings, such as churches, cathedrals, synagogues, meeting halls, parliaments and legislatures, courtrooms, theatres, and in certain types of passenger vehicles. Their floors may be flat or, as in theatres, stepped upwards from a stage.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saints Vitus, Wenceslaus and Adalbert is a Roman Catholic metropolitan cathedral in Prague, the seat of the Archbishop of Prague. Until 1997, the cathedral was dedicated only to Saint Vitus, and is still commonly named only as St. Vitus Cathedral.
In architecture, an apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome, also known as an exedra. In Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic Christian church architecture, the term is applied to a semi-circular or polygonal termination of the main building at the liturgical east end, regardless of the shape of the roof, which may be flat, sloping, domed, or hemispherical. Smaller apses may also be in other locations, especially shrines.
A transept is a transverse part of any building, which lies across the main body of the edifice. In churches, a transept is an area set crosswise to the nave in a cruciform ("cross-shaped") building within the Romanesque and Gothic Christian church architectural traditions. Each half of a transept is known as a semitransept.
In church architecture, the chancel is the space around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary, at the liturgical east end of a traditional Christian church building. It may terminate in an apse. It is generally the area used by the clergy and choir during worship, while the congregation is in the nave. Direct access may be provided by a priest's door, usually on the south side of the church. This is one definition, sometimes called the "strict" one; in practice in churches where the eastern end contains other elements such as an ambulatory and side chapels, these are also often counted as part of the chancel, especially when discussing architecture. In smaller churches, where the altar is backed by the outside east wall and there is no distinct choir, the chancel and sanctuary may be the same area. In churches with a retroquire area behind the altar, this may only be included in the broader definition of chancel.
The rood screen is a common feature in late medieval church architecture. It is typically an ornate partition between the chancel and nave, of more or less open tracery constructed of wood, stone, or wrought iron. The rood screen would originally have been surmounted by a rood loft carrying the Great Rood, a sculptural representation of the Crucifixion. In English, Scottish, and Welsh cathedrals, monastic, and collegiate churches, there were commonly two transverse screens, with a rood screen or rood beam located one bay west of the pulpitum screen, but this double arrangement nowhere survives complete, and accordingly the preserved pulpitum in such churches is sometimes referred to as a rood screen. At Wells Cathedral the medieval arrangement was restored in the 20th century, with the medieval strainer arch supporting a rood, placed in front of the pulpitum and organ.
The larger medieval churches of France and England, the cathedrals and abbeys, have much in common architecturally, an east–west orientation, an external emphasis on the west front and its doors, long arcaded interiors, high vaulted roofs and windows filled with stained glass. The eastern end of the building contains the Sanctuary and the Altar.
A crossing, in ecclesiastical architecture, is the junction of the four arms of a cruciform (cross-shaped) church.
St Peter's Church is a parish church in the Church of England. It is located in St Albans, England, to the north of the town centre.
The Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica in Padua, Veneto, Northern Italy, dedicated to St. Anthony. Although the Basilica is visited as a place of pilgrimage by people from all over the world, it is not the titular cathedral of the city, a title belonging to the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Mary of Padua. The basilica is known locally as "il Santo". It is one of the eight international shrines recognized by the Holy See.
Nantes Cathedral, or the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul of Nantes, is a Roman Catholic church located in Nantes, Pays de la Loire, France. The cathedral is in the Gothic architectural tradition. Construction of the church began in 1434, on the site of a Romanesque cathedral, and took 457 years to finish, finally reaching completion in 1891. It has been listed since 1862 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
The medieval cathedrals of England, which date from between approximately 1040 and 1540, are a group of twenty-six buildings that constitute a major aspect of the country’s artistic heritage and are among the most significant material symbols of Christianity. Though diverse in style, they are united by a common function. As cathedrals, each of these buildings serves as central church for an administrative region and houses the throne of a bishop. Each cathedral also serves as a regional centre and a focus of regional pride and affection.
St Mary's Catholic Church is a heritage-listed Roman Catholic church at 20 Merivale Street, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by Simkin & Ibler and built from 1892 to 1929. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 3 December 2004.
St. Marien is a Lutheran parish and market church in Osnabrück, Germany. It is one of the most artistically and historically significant buildings in the North German city. A previous Romanesque church was mentioned in records as early as 1177. However, the history of the church's construction began some time before it was first mentioned in writing. Archaeological traces suggest the existence of a predecessor building in the 10th century. Construction of the Gothic hall church which exists today started in the 13th century and was completed between 1430 and 1440.
Gothic cathedrals and churches are religious buildings created in Europe between the mid-12th century and the beginning of the 16th century. The cathedrals are notable particularly for their great height, and their extensive use of stained glass to fill the interiors with light. They were the tallest and largest buildings of their time, and the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture. The appearance of the Gothic Cathedral was not only a revolution in architecture; it also introduced new forms in decoration, sculpture, and art.