In the developing chicken cerebellar cortex, three cadherins (Cad6B, Cad7, and R-cadherin) are expressed in distinct parasagittal segments that are separated from each other by ribbons of migrating interneurons and granule cells which express R-cadherin and Cad7, respectively. The segment/ribbon pattern is respected by the expression of other types of molecules, such as engrailed-2 and SC1/BEN/DM-GRASP. The cadherin-defined segments contain young Purkinje cells which are connected to underlying nuclear zones expressing the same cadherin, thereby forming parasagittal cortico-nuclear zones of topographically organized connections. In addition, R-cadherin-positive mossy fiber terminals display a periodic pattern in the internal granular layer. In this layer, Cad7 and R-cadherin are associated with synaptic complexes. These results suggest that cadherins play a pivotal role in the formation of functional cerebellar architecture by providing a three-dimensional scaffold of adhesive information.