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Schematical illustration of a plan view of a cathedral, with the colored area showing the nave
Romanesque nave of the abbey church of Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville, Normandy, France has a triforium passage above the aisle vaulting
Late Gothic Fan vaulting (1608, restored 1860s) over the nave at Bath Abbey, Bath, England Suppression of the triforium offers a great expanse of clerestory windows.

In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" (Medieval Latin navis, "ship") was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting.[1] The nave of a church, whether Romanesque, Gothic or Classical, extends from the entry — which may have a separate vestibule, the narthex — to the chancel and is flanked by lower aisles[2] separated 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.


See also


  1. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, s.v. "nave".
  2. ^ Nave (definition from Accessed 2010-01.20.)