"amenity=place_of_worship" question


I’m still facing a dilemma each time when I’m adding small chapels (building=chapel) that may be locked for general public (see attached photos). Is it fine to add amenity=place_of_worship in this case, or is this tag meant solely for the chapels/churches etc. where you can actually enter + there are services/ceremonies conducted inside?

Also, is it even correct to tag such building (as in the attached photos) as a chapel, or should it be tagged as a (bigger) wayside shrine?


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amenity=place_of_workship is appropiated for a chapel or for the feature shown in the images (it looks like a chapel for me).

This is not a chapel.
I think it should be a “wayside shrine”
Wiki says:
“Note: If the shrine has a roof and is large enough for a person to enter, the building can be mapped and tagged with building=* (e.g. building=chapel, building=shrine, or building=wayside_shrine).”


A chapel maybe relatively small but to my understanding it is at least a complete room, to be entered via a door, to do some worshipping there - have a look to the Wikipedia site for chapel for more details. The structure in your pic is more a large wayside shrine imho.

  1. that is wayside shrine for me

  2. I would add also amenity=place_of_worship is there are regular ceremonies at such location and not just once a year. I know about a few that have regular Holy Mass. In such case I would add also a note describing that this situation applies.

In general, I would not tag such objects as amenity=place_of_worship and I retag ones that I encounter and are mistagged (the same goes for abandoned/ruined churches or synagogues which are no longer place of worship, though building=church or building=synagogue will typically still apply)



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  1. that is wayside shrine for me


  1. I would add also amenity=place_of_worship is there are regular ceremonies at such location and not just once a year. I know about a few that have regular Holy Mass. In such case I would add also a note describing that this situation applies.

I do not think there is a requirement for place of worship to have frequent ceremonies, and could well imagine a place of worship with just one ceremony a year. For the christian religion and catholic denomination, there are clear rules what qualifies as a place of worship, and we should be consistent with these rules (must be officially recognized, consacred).

For a chapel (of the “freestanding” kind) I would expect it to be accessible, possibly offering room for several people, while these (I may be misguided here) seem to be shelters for a sculture.

Why wayside shrine and not simply shrine? How do we tell those two apart?

For non-christian buildings of this kind use the tag building=shrine.

Source: Tag:building=wayside_shrine

Hmm, it is hard to interpret the two wiki pages together. The wayside shrine page suggests the distinction is something to do with being Christian or not, which seems odd to me. The shrine page says nothing about that, ans suggests it is more related to size and possibly location on a thoroughfare.

Sometimes there are some inconsistencies between wiki pages. It is hard for me to interpret them as well.

My English is not native and I can’t figure out what is the semantic difference between “shrine” and “wayside shrine”. I tend to think of a wayside shrine as something located at crossroads or somewhere outside a human settlement, in the manner of wayside crosses (“cruces de término”, in Spanish). I don’t know if this difference between “shrine” and “wayside shrine” exists in English.

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That’s roughly how I think of it in English too. The photos of wayside shrines in Ireland on Commons match fairly closely what “wayside shrine” brings to mind for me:

Note that almost all are beside a road, and generally they are not really buildings that someone could step inside. Of course they are all Christian but that is because they are in Ireland, I would never have thought ot that as a basis for a tagging distinction.

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That is OSM wiki … :roll_eyes: …and again there is the page for historic=wayside_shrine which includes explicitely shrines of different religions and is the most common tag for wayside_shrines, notwithstanding if indeed historic or new.


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“wayside” seems to be defined as “The side or edge of a road, way, path, or highway.”

It ended in the tag as someone invented historic=wayside_shrine without inventing tagging for shrines that are not historic and/or not on the side of road/path.

It ended being used for all shrines.

Yes, it is irritating.

Thanks everyone for your input. So, it seems the general consensus is that the above chapel should in fact be tagged as a wayside shrine, rather than chapel?

Furthermore, I’m still not sure about amenity=place_of_worship tag, though. Can it be used on larger objects (shrines etc), even if no religious ceremonies as such are conducted inside? E.g. if the building is large enough for 1 or more persons to enter but there aren’t any services conducted there?

What about small chapels by graveyards, such as this one? Supposedly this also falls into the category of wayside shrine and not chapel?? Or what.

Screen Shot 2023-02-05 at 09.59.08

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Are there ceremonies conducted next to it? If also not, then it is not place of worship (at least for religions like Christianity - there are also religions with lower importance put on centralized ceremonies)

Some of them have regular holy masses and in such case qualify as PoW.

My translator makes it into German: Kriegsgefangene (prisoners of war)


Yeah, PoW=Place of worship is osmism. In similar way, English has no term such as “lift gate” in meaning used in barrier=lift_gate


In Ireland a number of mass rocks have also been mapped.

Going back to wayside shrines… are these below to be tagged as (mini) wayside shrines or as wayside crosses?

I tagged things like that as wayside shrines.