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nave(nāv), in general, all that part of a church that extends from the atrium to the altar and is intended exclusively for the laity. In a strictly architectural sense, however, the term indicates only the central aisle, excluding side aisles. The floor plan of a wide central portion with narrower aisles on either side existed in the typical hypostylehypostyle
, the chamber in Egyptian temples in which a number of columns supported a flat stone roof. Forming the chief and largest inner space of the temple, it was entered from the outer courtyard and, in turn, gave access to the holy of holies and the small inner sanctuaries
..... Click the link for more information. hall of Egyptian temples and later in the Roman civic basilicas. From the latter it passed into the churches of the early Middle Ages and gradually to Gothic cathedrals. The nave, in the developed Gothic style, became the main body of the structure. Internally the piers, rising the full height of the nave walls to carry the ribs of the four-part vault or sexpartite vault, divided the walls into a series of bays in which three features, ground floor arcade, triforiumtriforium
, in church architecture, an arcaded gallery above the arches of the nave. In the interiors of medieval churches each bay of the nave wall customarily had three divisions in its height—arcade, triforium, and clerestory.
..... Click the link for more information. , and clerestoryclerestory
, a part of a building whose walls rise higher than the roofs of adjoining parts of the structure. Pierced by windows, it is chiefly a device for obtaining extra light.
..... Click the link for more information. , were evident, one above another.
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The principal or central part of a church; by extension, both middle and side aisles of a church, from the entrance to the crossing of the chancel; that part of the church intended for the general public.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
1. The middle aisle of a church.
2. By extension, both middle and side aisles of a church from the entrance to the crossing or chancel.
3. That part of the church intended primarily for the laity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
the central space in a church, extending from the narthex to the chancel and often flanked by aisles
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005