A word for non-Christian equivalent of “chapel”?

Specifically, the part of a temple in which the equivalent of an altar is situated, also where the religious services are performed.

I need this word for a fantasy novel I’m writing in which no real-life religions exist. I intend for the word to be as general as is possible. Here is the context:

With the remaining renegades scouting the settlement, sometimes literally shaking information out of the inhabitants, they found the imperial guards to be stationed at a large temple-like structure erected with stone pillars and enclosed with emblazoned curtains and banners.

It was dusk, and no watchmen of any sort was set for the garrison, which the renegades confirmed to be a normal occurrence with corroborations from several near-broken mouths. Also gathered was the fact that the leader of the imperial guards lived in the basement of the garrison, under a raised part of the structure that was once a ____ of some kind.

The goal here to show that the people don’t really know what organized religion is anymore after imperial occupation, and any specific terms for the structure was forgotten.


  • Altar: has specifically Christian association, and is an item to be
    found in the room in question, rather than the room itself


The part of a church or synagogue where the alter or bimah is found is called the sanctuary.

In many Western Christian traditions including Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, and Anglican churches, the area around the altar is called the sanctuary…

In many churches the architectural term chancel covers the same area as the sanctuary, and either term may be used. In some Protestant churches, the term sanctuary denotes the entire worship area while the term chancel is used to refer to the area around the altar-table…

The terminology that applies the word "sanctuary" to the area around the altar does not apply to Christian churches alone: King Solomon’s temple, built in about 950 BC, had a sanctuary ("Holy of Holies") where the Ark of the Covenant was, and the term applies to the corresponding part of any house of worship. In most modern synagogues, the main room for prayer is known as the sanctuary, to contrast it with smaller rooms dedicated to various other services and functions.


Source : Link , Question Author : user289661 , Answer Author : Juhasz

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