Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury Cathedral Ceiling

What is it about this riot of color, light, and depth that is so captivating?

One of my favorite travel photos comes from a short winter’s trip to England. Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest Christian structures in England. The cathedral’s long and mysterious history begins in the year 597 CE, a time considered by many historians to be at the height of dark age England. The structure you see today dates from 1070-1077, not nearly as old as Canterbury’s beginnings, but a fascinating history nonetheless.

Remains of a Roman road have been found at the site and an abbey founded by St. Augustine can be found just outside the cathedral walls. Remains of Roman and Anglo-Saxon churches have also been found at Canterbury. The site has been torn down and rebuilt several times in the past 1,400 years. The stone steps leading up to site where Thomas Becket was murdered in 1170 have been worn smooth by tens of thousands of pilgrims. The cathedral was expanded at one point just to accommodate the influx of pilgrims.

The “Bell Harry” Tower that you see in the photo above is a rather late addition to the cathedral and dates from 1490-1510. The tower soars to 236 feet. If you get a chance to visit Canterbury, take a minute to pause at the magnificence of this architectural wonder of England.

More History on Canterbury Cathedral



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