Illustrated Dictionary of British Churches - Apse Definition

History and Architecture

Apse

The polygonal or semi-circular end of a church, usually roofed with a vaulted ceiling or a dome. In ancient Rome the basilica had an apse at both ends and this style became the norm in early Christian churches. Medieval churches, particularly on the European continent, had one or more apses at the eastern end of the church. These were generally rounded in Eurpe, but a square termination was more common in Britain.




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