York, the Eternal City

Thursday, 7 April 2011 - 05:07 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Davygate © Jan Kronsell

Davygate © Jan Kronsell

York is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence.

York’s location on the River Ouse, in the centre of the Vale of York and half way between the capitals of London and Edinburgh means that it has long had a significant position in the nation’s transport system. The 19th century saw York, under the influence of George Hudson, become an important hub of the railway network and a manufacturing centre. In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that provides services. The University of York and health services have become major employers. Tourism also boosts the local economy because the city offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural activities. In 2009 it was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors. York Racecourse and Bootham Crescent, the home of York City FC, are the most prominent sporting venues in the city and the River Ouse provides opportunities for both sporting and leisure pursuits.

George Hudson was responsible for bringing the railway to York in 1839. Although Hudson’s career as a railway entrepreneur eventually ended in disgrace, by this time, York was a major railway centre. At the turn of the 20th century, the railway accommodated the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway, which employed over 5,500 people in York. The railway was also instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree’s Cocoa Works. Rowntree’s was founded in York in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in 1869 by his brother the philanthropist Joseph Rowntree. Terry’s Confectionery Works was also a major employer in the city.

With the emergence of tourism as a major industry, the historic core of York became one of the city’s major assets, and in 1968 it was designated a conservation area. The existing tourist attractions were supplemented by the establishment of the National Railway Museum in York in 1975. The opening of the University of York in 1963 added to the prosperity of the city. The fast and frequent railway service, which brings York within two hours journey time of London, has resulted in a number of companies opening offices in the city. York was voted as European Tourism City of the Year by European Cities Marketing in June 2007. York beat 130 other European cities to gain first place, surpassing Gothenburg in Sweden (second) and Valencia in Spain (third).

Davygate © Jan Kronsell York © geograph.co.uk Cliffords Tower, part of York Castle © Robert Kilpin Guildhall York City Council - River Ouse © Kaly99 Roman Fortifications in Museum Gardens © Kaly99 Theatre Royal © Thomas Gun York City Court © Kilnburn York at night © Wjh31 York railway station and Royal York Hotel © Tagishsimon The Shambles © Daveahern York University - Central Hall © Johnteslade City Walls © Charlesdrakew
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York railway station and Royal York Hotel © Tagishsimon
York’s economy is based on the service industry, which in 2000 was responsible for 88.7% of employment in the city. The service industries in York include public sector employment, health, education, finance, information technology (IT) and tourism that accounts for 10.7% of employment. Unemployment in York is low at 4.2% in 2008 compared to the United Kingdom national average of 5.3%.

York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, stands at the city’s centre. York Castle, a complex of buildings ranging from the medieval Clifford’s Tower to the 20th century entrance to the York Castle Museum (formerly a prison) has had a chequered history.

York’s centre is enclosed by the city’s medieval walls, which are a popular walk. The entire circuit is about 3 miles (5 km), including a part where walls never existed, because the Norman moat of York Castle, formed by damming the River Foss, also created a lake which acted as a city defence. This lake was later called the King’s Fishpond, as the rights to fish belonged to the Crown.

A feature of central York is the Snickelways, narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement and St Sampson’s Square. The Shambles is a narrow medieval street, lined with shops, boutiques and tea rooms. Most of these premises were once butchers’ shops, and the hooks from which carcasses were hung and the shelves on which meat was laid out can still be seen outside some of them. The street also contains the Shrine of Margaret Clitherow, although it is not located in the house where she lived. Goodramgate has many medieval houses including the early 14th century Lady Row built to finance a Chantry, at the edge of the churchyard of Holy Trinity church.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of York, Visit York, York Minster and Wikipedia York. Learn more about the use of photos.




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