Canterbury - a look at a wonderful city.

cwilko2011 By cwilko2011, 13th Jun 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/vokd6651/
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>England>Surrey, Kent & Sussex

Canterbury - a city steeped in history, intrigue and wonder. A place where, for centuries, people have come to meet.

The City

As you enter the city, there is an air of instant history. The ring road that you drive round to the inner sanctum of the city is fenced by the old city walls. You cannot enter the centre of the city without entering a gate be it Northgate or Westgate. Canterbury is an intriguing place that, by all accounts, shouldn't be classed as a city. It is though to the status it has amassed with the Cathedral. It is also the historic home of the Arch Bishop of Canterbury, the principal leader of the Church of England.

A beautiful mix of architectures from centuries of wars and rebuilding efforts. The city is ensconced in history and the beautiful buildings reflect this.

The Cathedral

The original parts of the Cathedral were built in 602, with subsequent additions added in every single century to the present day. The Cathedral sits in the centre of the city, encapsulated with old brick walls and imposing gates that would have been closed in times past to fend off invasions.

As you walk through the main gate off the market square, you are greeted with the best view of the Cathedral. The front two towers of the Cathedral are not as imposing as some but are as equally steeped in history. As a student I would sit on a bench overlooking this view of the cathedral in my lunch breaks, never really appreciating the free entry my university card granted me.

The stone carvings on the front of the Cathedral beginning to wear away with the usual wear and tear of any building of its age. It is however interesting to note that there is one carving that stands belligerent against all others. This is the carving of King Henry VIII , a belligerent man to the end! As you walk through the grounds you can't help but sense the history that this Cathedral is steeped in.

The City proper.

The city itself is dominated by one long high street. The mile long high street hosts a multitude of shops, some new some old. During World War 2 a large majority of the city centre was wiped out by German bombing. It is testament to the city however the resilience it showed, a resilience that has been seen through the ages. Though most of the city was wiped out, there are snippets of history to be found. There are old rickety buildings dotted around, Tudor houses with learning frames and sturdy Victorian buildings that could probably withstand a nuclear blast.

One of the charms of the city however, is not the high street itself, but the many little side roads. Each down side road there is something different, mostly shops but there are little nuggets of history to be found. Having spent three years in Canterbury I can safely say that I still managed to find things that I hadn't seen before on the day of my graduation.

The Charm

One of the charms of the city however, is not the high street itself, but the many little side roads. Each down side road there is something different; mostly shops but there are little nuggets of history to be found. Having spent three years in Canterbury I can safely say that I still managed to find things that I hadn't seen before on the day of my graduation. The best way however to see the intricacies of the city is to take a river tour down the River Stour. This is the only aspect of the city that has remained unchanged for centuries, this way you are able to see all the inner most parts of the city.

In closing

If ever I were to advise someone to visit Canterbury, I wouldn’t advise them to take a day, I would ask them to take their time and to spend a week! There is so much to see and do that it is impossible to see everything the city has to offer in just one day. Canterbury, moreover any other city in Kent, is by far the most interesting and historical. It is definitely worth a visit, even without any religious connotations. Are you going to be the next pilgrim to visit? If you do, let me know what you thought!

Tags

Canterbury, Cathedral, Crusades, History, Religion, World War Ii

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author avatar cwilko2011
English Post-grad guy who loves to read.

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