Durham Cathedral: The best on the planet

Amazing Europe | | January 24, 2011 at 3:33 am




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If architecture beauty is what on your list, the Durham Cathedral in the northeast England is a must to please your eyes. It has been over 1000 years for this cathedral to serve as the major Christian worship site. What you see today is the construction of the 12th century, which is extensively considered as the superb instance of Norman architecture in the continent. This feature along with the sacred shrine of St. Cuthbert of Lindisfarne as well as the grave of the Venerable Bede has rendered the Durham Cathedral as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Durham was the Europe’s first cathedral to be affixed to a stone rib vaulting along with the oldest pointed transverse arches. All those who come do always ascend 325 steps to reach atop the tower for having a great vista of the Durham city as well as the surrounding area.

The long list of attractions starts as soon as you reach the main entrance via the north door where a bronze sanctuary knocker of medieval times resides. It was this knocker that used to woke up the two watchmen sleeping above the door in a room. This one is a replica as the original one now is preserved in the cathedral treasury. The nave is conquered by the giant pillars adorned with the geometric designs, which are now 900 years old. The long slab of the floor’s Frosterly stone commemorates the point beyond which the women remained till the 16th century.

The nave also holds the Victorian stained glass windows. Look for the great West Window, brightly-colored one called the Daily Bread Window at the entrance, and the Rose Window in the east. The Daily Bread reveals the Last Supper scene. In the west end, the big Galilee Chapel of the 12th century is really among the most charming sections of the cathedral. On the north side within, the wall paintings show St. Cuthbert and St. Oswald. In addition, in this chapel, you can also spot the tomb of the Venerable Bede who was the monk as well as the English church historian in the 8th century. The finely carved wooden Quire (Choir) is where the daily services are held of which the most beloved is the Evensong. Now, look for the Bishop’s throne of the 14th century, which the Bishop of Durham uses when he enters the cathedral for the first time. Thereafter, he will use the place close to the chancel screen. This was once the highest one to be built! Below it, the Hatfield Chantry is worth a watch, which is a chapel housing the grave of Thomas Hatfield who was the Bishop (1345-81) as well as founder of the Oxford’s Trinity College. Just see the figure on his tomb, which was the sole one to bypass the damage due to the Reformation.

Regarded the focal point is the high altar separated by the stone Neville Screen from St. Cuthbert’s shrine. Behind this one is the Shrine of St. Cuthbert – a major pilgrimage center since the times of Middle Age. Cuthbert was a famous monk as well as bishop of Lindisfarne in the 7th century and was a very popular saint.

Explore the Chapel of Nine Altars of the 13th century, which was replicated the arrangement at Fountains Abbey. With the presence of the nine altars, several monastery priests used to say Mass here daily. Nestled in the south transept is the Prior Castell’s Clock that was the sole wooden tool to survive the Civil War. The face is quite strange with 48 minute markings and only one hand.

The Treasury Museum in the Durham Cathedral is good to explore, but is not that big. Within, you will come across the relics of St. Cuthbert, lighten manuscripts, and other artifacts. Yes, there is a special admission fee, but that will offer you a good booklet about these collections. Coming to the cloisters, look for them from the west door where they are adorned with the 12th century ironwork.

Admission Fee

Nil

Tours

May-Sep: 10:30 am only on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Facilities

Cafe entered from the Cloisters, information desk, gift shop, toilets (near the cafe), treasury museum, and pamphlets and booklets for sale.

Evensong timings

Sung by the cathedral choir every day except Monday at 5:15 pm; Sunday: 3:30 pm.

Best day to visit

March 20, as it marks the St. Cuthbert feast.

Tips

To enjoy a good view, stroll on the outer River Wear’s bank flanking the bend between the bridges of Elvet and Framwelgate. This will ensure great views from outside the cathedral. Alternatively, at the Elvet Bridge, you can rent a boat. From June to September, 60-minute cruises run along the river.

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3 Comments

  1. Regina says:

    Hi,

    I have been to this cathedral and believe me; each word here describes its worth! Thanks, I really appreciate the writer’s efforts here.

  2. Philip says:

    Hey,

    This is among my favorite cathedrals in the world. And I happy to see this post that is very well written here!

  3. alex says:

    I was lucky to visit durham cathederal a few years ago, and I have to say, it really is stunning, it has to be seen to be appreciated.
    .-= alex´s last blog ..Family Holiday Parks =-.

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