Chocolate, Romans, and Cathedrals

Posted by piphunt on August 27, 2010 in Where in the World is Pip? |

History gets me excited. The musky smell of century old mold and dirt reminds me of findings frogs in my grandparent’s basement, Neidpath Castle and exploring National Trust homes. The sort of excitement where you wonder what it was like to live there, or who was murdered where, or if that coat of armor is actually going to rattle to life.
York is the kind of place where I found myself imagining 15th century life again. From Vikings, to Romans, to 15th century Monks and 21st century tourists, York has a little bit of history for everyone. Wander through the the tiny streets of the city centre, the ruins of a medieval abby in the Museum Garden , visit the Minster , enjoy a cream tea at the famous Betty’s Tea Room , or enjoy a craft brew at a local free house; there’s plenty to find.
We got lost in the streets of old town following the towers towards the Minster. The first stone construction of the cathedral in York was in 633; however, Romans settled in York in AD 71, building their Basilica in the same place the Minster sits now. Ground level during AD 71 is now the Crypt. When walking through the Crypt, ancient Roman murals, pillars, and plumbing can be still be seen. After the first stone church was built on top of the Basilica, multiple additions and renovations have been added throughout the years. The last addition to the Cathedral (the rebuilding of the Great Tower) was completed in 1465. Can you imagine what it was like to attend mass in York Minister in the 15th century? I bet it smelt awful.

If history isn’t your thing, chocolate probably is. The chocolate industry has been a major employer in York for the past century, with the likes of Nestle and Rowntree both creating sweet sensations in the city. I didn’t actually nip in for a fresh pack of Smarties, but I highly recommend it.

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