Canterbury Cathedral is an impressive medieval cathedral located in Canterbury, Kent. It is one of the most famous and oldest Christian cathedrals in England. It is also the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the leader of the Church of England. It is also considered as a part of a World Heritage site.
Canterbury Cathedral History
The current building was a rebuilding of a previous church that stands on the same site. There were earlier churches built on the site as early as 597 AD, when St Augustine established the first cathedral on the site. The first cathedral was destroyed by fire in 1067. Archbishop Lanfranc conducted the first rebuilding between 1070 and 1077. Following a fire to the cathedral in 1174, it was again rebuilt primarily based on the Gothic style. It underwent a turbulent history of damage and rebuilding over the centuries that made it into its impressive and striking features now. The cathedral was eventually completed as it is seen today sometime in 1498. There are different portions of the cathedral that survived throughout the centuries. They added to the mystique and appeal of this medieval cathedral that has stood mightily all these years.
Canterbury Cathedral Features
The Canterbury Cathedral stands at 236 feet or 72 meters tall as measured from its tower. It has an overall length of 525 feet or 160 meters. It is also 154 feet or 47 meters in width. It is distinctly built with influences of Romanesque and Gothic architectural styles. The cathedral also has a total of 21 bells fixed in its three towers. The cathedral also has a library that houses a collection of 30,000 books and pamphlets that were printed way back before the 20th century. There are also another 20,000 books in the collection that were printed later than the 20th century.
The Canterbury Cathedral is also known for its Norman crypt with sculptured capitals. Other notable features include its beautiful stained glass artwork that dates back to the 12th and 13th century. It is also the site where the Black Prince’s tomb is located. The cathedral also features a pilgrimage shrine for Thomas Becket, the archbishop who was murdered in the north-west transept of the cathedral by the knights of the King Henry II.