Any guidebook or website regarding York will most likely present you with a city skyline which, of course, must include the three towers of York Minster boasting a height of 61 metres. The Minster was built on one of Christianity’s most significant sites in Europe: Constantine I was proclaimed Roman Emperor in 306 AD after his father’s death whilst visiting Eboracum. There have been at least three other minsters or cathedrals either on or near the site of the one existing today, with the first reference to a cathedral occurring in 627 AD. The present church, designed to be the greatest in the kingdom, took 250 years to complete and is speculated to have begun construction in 1220. Today preservation is continuously ongoing to maintain the ancient structure for future generations. York Minster is one of only seven cathedrals in the world to hold its own police force that protect both the building and its visitors.
In addition to one of York’s most famous and popular tourist attractions, the Minster is a working place of worship to those belonging to the Church of England. Weddings are offered (as long as the couple obtains a Special Marriage Licence) as well as baptisms for those belonging to the Minster community. Other services such as Matins, Holy Communion and Evensong occur throughout the day between 7.30am and 5pm daily. While anyone is invited to join these services, tourists are permitted to simply marvel at the wondrous architecture. For an extra price, you are also able to explore the two towers and the crypt, where remains of the Roman Basilica have been discovered. The central tower once collapsed in 1407 due to the foundations having been built in soft soil. History almost repeated itself in the 1970s before the foundations were reinforced. The 56 bells, hanging within the western towers, have been unfortunately rendered silent until 2017.