This cathedral situated in northern England, in the beautiful York, is one of the most widely known cathedrals outside London. The minster is the seat of the “Archbishop of York” and which is the second-highest office in Church of England. But why is this cathedral so important, why is it one of the biggest tourist attractions in the UK? These questions crossed my mind as I was exploring the city of York.
Let’s start with a little history of York. First, what does “minster” mean at all? It is an honorary title given to churches established in the Anglo-Saxon period who were exceptionally successful in their missionary activities. It’s not hard to see how York gained this title, with its long history of Christian activities in Britain. York is one of the earliest Christian settlements in British Isles. Records shows that missionaries arrived to York from Rome, as early as AD 180 and the first recorded church in this site was a quickly constructed wooden church for baptism of Edwin of Northumbria in 627. During the English reformation much of the treasures of the minster were destroyed but Thomas Fairfax protected the minster from further damage.
York Minster is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe (after Cologne Cathedral). Architecturally it is best-known for its “Decorated Gothic” nave and the “Perpendicular Gothic” choir. Although the minster took its current form in 1408 (more than 600 years old) it is very well-preserved and new looking. It is open to people from different cultures and faiths and is still a place of active worship. If you want to experience English Gothic architecture in all its glory and learn about Christianity in Britain throughout centuries this is definitely the place to be.
Entrance: Adults £14, Concessions £12
This cathedral has so much history and significance, it’s simply jaw dropping. On my way to Cornwall and Devon I decided to stop at Salisbury and I’m so glad that I did. The construction of the cathedral began as early as 1220 and it has been so wonderfully preserved it’s really hard to guess that this cathedral is almost 800 years old. This cathedral is being considered as one of the finest examples Early English Architecture, which was highly influenced by Gothic style.
Being featured in many books, movies and paintings, the cathedral has the tallest spire in the UK and it’s pretty much visible from anywhere in town. When we enter we see the beautiful interior design and are surprised to see the world’s oldest operating clock. The clock doesn’t even have a visual display, it just chimes at every hour. After seeing the beautiful chapels, modern art exhibitions and memorials inside, we were surprised again by one of the original (and the best preserved) Magna Carta copies inside. For those who don’t know, this is pretty much the first human-rights document and is considered to be a major influence in the start of democracy. Looking at this document, which shaped the way we live so much today, in easily one of the best cathedrals in the world is unmatchable.
If you get too tired and want to relax for a bit, you can sit down and have your high tea ritual in the beautiful garden looking at the cathedral. And it’s admission free, but I would highly recommend you to donate a little bit to preserve this magnificent piece of art.