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Peristyle surrounding the Roman Baths in Bath, Somerset
Wikimedia Commons

A peristyle is a range of columns surrounding a building, courtyard or other architectural feature.[1] The term is a borrowing from the French péristyle, itself derived from the Latin peristylum, referring to the colonnade surrounding the interior court of a building;[2] the court itself is known as the peristylium.[3]

The peristyle was an important feature of Greek and Roman architecture.[4] In the Christian ecclesiastical architecture that developed from the Roman basilica, a courtyard peristyle and its central space came to be known as a cloisterCovered walkway usually set out in the form of a square..[5]