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a decorative crowning piece on church buildings, which in Russian architecture has the shape of a helmet, an onion, a pear, or a similar object.
The cupola rests on a round or faceted drum; originally (in stone buildings) it was the external part of the domed top of the drum. The cupola lends to the upper part of the building its characteristic silhouette and picturesqueness, which is enhanced by the cupola’s gilding, coloring, pattern, and material covering (such as tile, lemekh —plowshare-shaped wooden tile—or wrought iron). Cupolas are also found in the architecture of the Caucasus (conical and umbellate cupolas), Middle Asia, India, and some European countries.