A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a safe haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary. A religious sanctuary can be a sacred place (such as a church, temple, or mosque), or a consecrated area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar. In Europe, Christian churches were sometimes built on land considered as a particularly 'holy spot', perhaps where a miracle or martyrdom had allegedly taken place or where a holy person was buried. Examples are St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and St. Albans Cathedral in...'
Contributions by Lionni, Stbalbach, and Wetman.