York's magnificent cathedral (called the Minster) is the latest in a succession of churches that have occupied the Northwest corner of this walled town since Roman days. (The Roman basilica's foundation can still be seen in the present Minster's crypt/undercroft/cellar). Most of these churches burnt down; fire has destroyed many sections of the present building as well--but fortunately not all at once. The feisty Yorkists have restored the burnt areas each time, sometimes after long delays. Before the fires, much of the interior decorations and tombs were removed by Protestants trying to purge their churches (both literally and figuratively) of Catholic trappings.
York is England's second city: in government and finance to London, in religion to Canterbury. Eight hundred years ago, it tried to best its ecclesiastical rival (Canterbury), by building its cathedral in the latest "French" style which Renaissance architectural snobs later derided with the term Gothic. Over 250 years later, the Minster was more-or-less finished with the completion of the the Northwest Tower. What you had then was a 250-year-old new building, the largest Gothic church North of the Alps. (Ready for an aside? What's the largest Christian church in the world? If you said St. Peter's in Rome or any Baptist church in Texas, you're wrong. Click here for the surprisingly correct answer. )
Maybe not the biggest in the world, but York's Minster is very big with lots to see (and a lot not to see as the English Reformation purged many of the tombs and icons.) Click a picture below for more explanation or see all of the pictures in somewhat of a rational progression (not my strong suit) by clicking here:
If you'd like a 360 degree virtual tour, click
here. (Requires QuickTime)