There are a lot of mysteries waiting to be discovered in England. Even if you have lived in England all of your life, you can’t possibly see all there is to see. One of the most impressive buildings in England is York Minster, home to incredible art as well as a breathtaking homage to God. Although England is blessed with many beautiful houses of worship, York Minster stands out from the rest because it is the largest cathedral in Europe, not just England.
You Don’t Have To Be Christian
Although York Minster was built to worship the Christian God, the cathedral gladly welcomes and respects visitors of all faiths and belief systems. If you are interested in history, art, architecture, music or in getting to know England and the English better, you would enjoy a visit to York Minster.
And because York Minster is not in London or Bath, the two most popular tourist destinations in England, you should have enough elbow room to look around and explore at your own pace. York Minster is located in Yorkshire, in the north of England (London and Bath are in the south.) Despite the teasing the Northerners get from other parts of the country, Yorkshire is NOT in the middle of nowhere. It has roads, public transportation and street signs, but usually not the traffic.
A Bit O’ History
The largest cathedral in Europe took over 250 years to build – just about the same time it takes for an American highway to be repaired. The original church went up in 627 CE (Common Era, which is replacing AD as a demarcation). It was originally a small affair made out of wood and called St. Peter’s. The original purpose of St. Peter’s was to make a spiffy site for the baptism of a new Anglo-Saxon kind, Edwin.
People liked the site and the area to worship and decided that efforts should be made to set up a permanent church of stone. However, the first incarnation of York Minster in stone was badly damaged by the invading Normons in 1069. Ironically, most of the invaders were also Christians. Repairs were scuttled and a new church on the same spot began in 1080.
Over the decades, bits of York Minster went up at a time, in stone. Remember, at that time, work would have to be stopped in order to harvest crops, fight other invaders or recover from various plagues. The cathedral you can visit today was more or less finished in 1472. Restoration work is an ongoing and eternal process in this house to remind all about eternity.
Yorkshire (pronounced YORK-sure, not York-SHY-er) is one of the best counties in England to poke your nose around in, because it represents more of normal England than hyperactive London or touristy Bath. The landscape is almost the entire country very compressed. It has woods, busy towns, beautiful coastlines and rolling green fields that helped inspire Shakespeare to call England “this green and pleasant land.”
However, in order to be a “green and pleasant land,” it has to rain a lot. Keep this in mind when visiting any part of England, let alone York Minster. You are best off packing for both rainy and sunny weather. Yorkshire is usually a lot cooler and breezier than London, so you are best off exploring in layers of clothes that can be peeled off and put back on when necessary.
Because York Minster does draw visitors, Christians and scholars around the world, you don’t have to worry about finding a place to stay in Yorkshire or in the city of York. Routes to places like the infamous cathedral are clearly marked. You often can even find bus routes stopping there and picking up passengers as part of their normal route.