For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Ambulatory.


The placement of the ambulatory within a standard cathedral.
Horton Court ambulatory, c.1527
Ambulatory of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice.

The ambulatory (Latin: ambulatorium, ‘walking place’) is the covered passage around a cloister or the processional way around the east end of a cathedral or large church and behind the high altar.[1][2] The first ambulatory was in France in the 11th century but by the 13th century ambulatories had been introduced in England and many English cathedrals were extended to provide an ambulatory.[3]

The same feature is often found in Indian architecture and Buddhist architecture generally, especially in older periods. Ritual circumambulation or parikrama around a stupa or cult image is important in Buddhism and Hinduism. Often the whole building was circumambulated, often many times. The Buddhist chaitya hall always allowed a path for this, and the Durga temple, Aihole (7th or 8th century) is a famous Hindu example.

The term is also used to describe a garden feature in the grounds of a country house. A typical example is the one shown, which stands in the grounds of Horton Court in Gloucestershire, England.[4]

Medical term

Ambulatory is also an adjective used to describe

  • patients who can walk despite their illness or injury.[5]
  • outpatients generally including those needing a wheelchair.
  • medical staff providing outpatient care (see Ambulatory care nursing, Ambulatist).
  • medical procedures that do not ordinarily require an overnight stay in hospital (see Ambulatory care).
  • Canes or other walking aids can be called ambulatory assistive devices.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Francis D. K. Ching (2011). A Visual Dictionary of Architecture. John Wiley & Sons. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-118-16049-7.
  2. ^ Ariane Archambault (2002). The Visual Dictionary of Art & Architecture. Québec Amerique. p. 152. ISBN 978-2-7644-0877-3.
  3. ^ Ambulatory
  4. ^ Historic England. "AMBULATORY 20 YARDS SOUTH WEST OF HORTON COURT (1321166)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  5. ^ ambulatory
  6. ^ ambulatory

{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?