A crypt (from the Greek ‘krypto’, which means hidden or concealed) is a vaulted room frequently made of stone and located beneath a building, usually a church or cathedral. Crypts can also be found in cemeteries, mausolea and chapels, as well as public buildings.
When under a church, crypts are usually contained within the limits of the choir or chancel and its aisles, but may be smaller in their subterranean extent, typically confined to just under the altar or the main apse.
The decoration and majesty that is often observed in churches and cathedrals is not usually carried through to the crypt, which is often executed in a much plainer style but nevertheless still well constructed.
In the UK, crypts were often used as chapels and contained an altar and other necessary accessories required for the celebration of feasts. Sometimes, a crypt might be used to allow pilgrims a glimpse of a saint’s tomb or other holy remains and relics. Later, crypts were used more to contain the coffins of the deceased.
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