Friday, May 30, 2014

British Isles #4:
Wandering the Walls of York

The ancient and spectacular city of York in Northern England has no shortage of history and much of it can still be seen and certainly felt. Relics of York's historic past, the city walls encircle the town and are still mostly intact. Certainly they have been rebuilt and restored over the years but their integrity has not been lost. There have been walls around York since the first century when the Romans had set up fort and had need for a protective wall. The Danes (good ol' Vikings), who took over York in 866, built over what remained of the walls, added onto them, and extended them to encompass more of the city. And on through the years they were nearly demolished and the parts that were got restored. Four large "gates" were built into the wall. They look and act like small scale fortresses. It was only through these gates that one could enter the walled city. Today, cars drive under their arches into York city center and visitors can explore the interiors of these gates. You can read more about York's Walls here.
Now, most ancient architecture is to be viewed from afar, velvety-red-roped off, and walked around but the city walls of York are to be walked upon. That's right. The walls are open for walking from dusk 'til dawn and can be accessed at one of the gates (for free!). A short flight of stairs and there you find yourself walking on history accompanied by some grand views of York. There are 2.75 miles of wall in York and we nearly walked it all. We were there in late March and the daffodils were blooming. Thousands lined the earthen banks of the walls like sentry soldiers. 

Micklegate Bar

Bootham Bar (I think)

View of York Minster from the wall

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