domed or vaulted section on the east end of a church beyond the
Church recess; Semicircular recess; Vaulted recess; Abbey area;
area; Basilica section; Cathedral nook; Church wing; Recess at
St. Peter's; View from a pew; Ecclesiastical setback?
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Romanesque, Byzantine and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral and
church architecture, the apse
sometimes written apsis;
is the semi-circular or polygonal section of the sanctuary at the
liturgical east end beyond the altar (plan,
The semicircular projection (which may be polygonal on the
exterior, or reveal the radiating projections of chapels) may be
roofed with a half-dome or with radiating vaulting. A simple apse
may be merely embedded within the wall of the east end. Eastern
orthodox churches may have a triple apse, which is usually a mark
of Byzantine influence when it is seen in Western churches.
Smaller subsidiary apses may be found around the choir or even at
the ends of transepts.
interior of the apse is traditionally a focus of iconography,
bearing the richest concentration of mosaics, or painting and
sculpture, towards which all other decoration may tend.
simple apse set into the east end of an English parish church, at
Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. The photograph was taken by John
Hall, a resident of Poulton until 1966.
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