A plan view of a cathedral: the coloured area is the nave
Nave with substantial aisles: a 'three-nave' church, St Helen Witton in Northwich, Cheshire
The nave is where the congregation sits in a church. It usually has long benches, called 'pews', or separate chairs.
Naves are found in humble Saxon churches, and in grand Romanesque and Gothic Christian Abbeys, Cathedrals, and Basilicas.
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 shape of its vaulting resembling an upside-down hull (bottom of a ship).
The nave of a church goes from the entry to the chancel. It is flanked by aisles 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.
Images for kids
The nave of the Saint-Sulpice Church in Paris, France
The Romanesque nave of the abbey church of Saint-Georges-de-Boscherville, Normandy, France, has a triforium passage above the aisle vaulting.
A fresco showing Old St Peter's Basilica, built in the 4th century: the central area, illuminated by high windows, is flanked by aisles.
Late Gothic fan vaulting (1608, restored 1860s) over the nave at Bath Abbey, Bath, England. Suppression of the triforium offers a greater expanse of clerestory windows.