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York Minster, The Largest Cathedral in Northern Europe

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