If I would choose to write about the places full of history and spirituality throughout the world, my editorial space wouldn’t be enough. I will probably need dozens of pages to describe in words the architectural beauty and the fascinating stories of Canterbury Cathedral. Surely you will not regret to leave behind the commercial and modern attractions for history, because the time does not know how to leave a mark on it. At least not here. Not in Cantebury.
The city is located at 90 kilometers southeast from London in the kingdom of Kent and became known in the 12 th century, when thousands of pilgrims gathered in the center to see the relics of Archbishop Thomas Becket, who was murdered here. His death turned Cantebury into one of the most visited places in England. I still remember with much love my first hours of English literature and the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, from my secondary school. As soon as I walked into town, I remembered the stories of medieval pilgrims written by Chaucer.
The narrow streets, the medieval and bohemian old inns, the houses architecture of inestimable value, all these turn Cantebury in a small fairy-tale town.
Most of the tourists and pilgrims who come today in Canterbury are seeking the historical values of the city, the unique beauty of the place and less the spiritual value. The city walls with many pitched buildings have a great historical and architectural value.
Once you arrive to the main entrance of Canterbury Cathedral, a Gothic air and mystery mix together. The building is one of the most famous Christian religious buildings in the UK, registered since 1988 on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Cathedral is the seat of Archbishop of Canterbury, the highest hierarch of the Church of England.
Represented by an impressive modern sculpture, Jesus Christ, accompanied by angels dominates the gate Christ Church, which facilitates the access in the cathedral through the south.
The tower, the nave, the choir gallery and the chapels associate the Norman style with the Gothic and are built on old Saxon foundations.
The cathedral was extended in 1096 and in the following years were built inside three chapels. The columnist William Malmesbury said that: “Nowhere in England can be seen so many bright glass windows, marble brighter sidewalks or more colorful paintings as in Canterbury. “ When you enter the cathedral, you will receive a free map and an overview of the history of the building. The audio guide has most of the details, and once you take a tour of the interior you will feel totally different.
Canterbury Cathedral’s interior is fascinating and takes you through stories full of history and magic. The precious Gothic building speaks illustrated stories through the unrivaled beauty of the stained glass. The whole architectural assembly is fascinating, and the stained-glass windows describe the miracles made by Thomas Becket.
The cathedral contains over 1,200 square meters of stained glass with inspirational stories of some men and women. Canterbury has the largest collection of medieval stained glass windows in the medieval England. Also, the cathedral has a total of twenty-one bells divided in three towers. You will certainly be charmed by their beauty from within.
A huge building scaffolding surrounds the interior and exterior of Canterbury Cathedral at present, to facilitate the conservation of architecture and to restore the pieces that were destroyed by time. The platform of 33 tonnes has the size of three tennis courts and is 16 meters above the floor of the nave, being supported by beams of aluminum.
The calm and the grandeur of the interior will surround you outside also, when you will walk around the building to admire the exterior architecture.
The restoration was made possible thanks to a total grant of 13.8 million pounds and also thanks to the generosity of some trusts and people in the UK and USA, who donated more than £ 10.9 million through Canterbury Cathedral Trust . The west end of the cathedral will be restored and improved with repairs to the western tower, nave, roof and Christ Church Gate will also be restored, all the facilities being designed to significantly improve the access to the building.
For any tourist fascinated by architecture, I advise you to check on your fairy-tale another attraction and that is Canterbury. If you are in London, this is a day trip.
The official website of the Cathedral (www.canterbury-cathedral.org) informs you about various events planned in advance and online you will be informed about the visiting hours also.
I invite you to be a fairytale traveller for a day!
Canterbury awaits you with unforgettable stories!