Ambulatory

Floor plan of a cathedral. The ambulatory is the shaded area enclosing the apse.

Floor plan of a cathedral. The ambulatory is the shaded area enclosing the apse.

An ambulatory is a  semicircular or polygonal aisle enclosing an apse or a straight-ended sanctuary. In the above illustration the ambulatory is represented by the shaded area. A feature of many churchs of Early Christian and Byzantine architecture, the ambulatory was originally used for processions.

An apse is a vaulted semicircular or polygonal termination, usually enclosing a chancel or chapel.  A sanctuary is the area around the main altar of a church.

The above discussion is based on descriptions in the Penguin Dictionary of Architecture, Fourth Edition.

Illustration Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This entry was posted in Architecture, Byzantine Architecture, Churches, Early Christian Architecture and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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