Canterbury Cathedral (Kent - England)

The major spot in Canterbury that took up most of my time was the Canterbury Cathedral. As I said in the last post, the main Church to Christ built by St.Augustine in 7th C CE. However the beginnings of the current structure was in 1070 CE by the Normans. A major fire broke out in 1174 CE and the Cathedral was vastly expanded soon after that and improvisations continued till 1871 CE.

To begin with, the church is humongous! To get past the entrance was very difficult for me. No, it wasn’t crowded or narrow, but I was too mystified by the sculptural marvel at the entrance itself! It reminded me of Milan Duomo! Soooo many sculptures! Finally when I did manage to get in, the view of the nave and ceiling was just breathtaking!  


At the end of the nave was a set of staircases which was the beginning of the quire. Again I stopped to catch my breath after I was rendered breathless by the sculptural beauty there! First, I sat down on the staircase, admiring the nave and the huge stained glass window at the beginning of the nave, then I literally laid down on the floor facing the ceiling. 



The branched out pillars led to the circular opening above. Just the central circle has a diameter of 2m, so you can imagine the sheer magnanimous size of the structure! This tower was built in 1494 CE. Then I turned around to see the elaborately sculpted screen which is carved out of stone here!!!
Some of the steps of the staircase are literally worn out and have a dent at the centre – this is coz many a times, ardent devotees who come here on pilgrimage, used to climb these stairs on their knees - a practice still prevalent in India!!!
On either sides of the quire, are passages that led to the North & South Transept. Beside those passages are staircases that led to the crypt beneath! The crypt is one stunner altogether! This is the oldest part of the church, surviving since Norman times (1100s CE)! Photography wasn’t allowed there, but here were some incredible pillars and frescoes! This was perhaps the largest crypt that I’ve seen anywhere!
Very similar to Basel and Pisa, the capitals of the pillars here have the same grotesque, mythical creatures and humans (I’m yet to get any detailed explanation about what they represent)!!! The central chapel is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Undercroft which has 8 pillars. They have some swirling and geometrical patterns, each different from the other. Also there are 3 major black large stone pillars. Somehow I just hugged one and it felt so good! Again, I spotted the fossilized sea shells on them (and also on some staircases), proving again that they were quarried very close to the sea (remember spotting similar at St.Augustine’s Abbey and Dholavira?)!
There is St.Gabriel’s Chapel here which has the incredible frescoes surviving since 12th C CE! The ones in the altar are in an excellent condition, as they were discovered only recently. There are a couple of pillars in front of the altar which had a wall closure (to support the ceiling) that inadvertently protected the paintings all these years! The rest of the ceiling of the entire crypt is also painted, but are in various levels of deterioration. 
In the North aisle of the quire, is a small memorial at the murder site of Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury in 12th C CE. Thomas Becket is the most important character when it comes to Canterbury Cathedral. 


Behind the Trinity Chapel are a series of stained glass windows that depict the miracles performed by St.Thomas Becket. Ages ago, the tomb of Thomas Becket in the crypt, used to have 2 oval openings (as depicted in the stained glass windows), and people would touch his relics through this hole and ask for blessings and its believed that miracles happened incl curing diseases etc. 

Today a candle is constantly burning in Trinity Chapel for St.Thomas Becket, as his tomb, relics etc were destroyed by King Henry VIII! There are quite a few tombs in the Cathedral, incl several archbishops, Henry IV, Black Prince etc. 
Outside are a beautiful cloister and some more of ruined walls all around the main structure! 

To Get There:
To Canterbury: Refer to my earlier post.
On Google Maps:  Canterbury Cathedral
Weekdays & Saturdays (Summer/Winter): 09:00 – 17:30/17:00
Sundays (throughout the Year): 12:30 – 14:30
Entry fee: £12.50 (Can be bought at the gate)

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

23 comments:

  1. What a beauty! Good to be able to take such lovely photographs. Is there an entrance fee?

    ReplyDelete
  2. WOW! So beautiful!! Thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would love to travel everywhere, but now this is the first stop on my list!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Cool photos! I love visiting old churches and ruins. It is one of my favorite things about traveling.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I always love reading your posts because they are always full of beautiful pictures and so much useful information! This cathedral looks beautiful and is now on my (already huge) list of places I want to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I only remember reading about his cathedral in school. To see it in photos is just amazing! So beautiful! :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those stained glass windows remind me of the Blue Mansion I visited in Penang. The cathedral is a brilliant piece of art and intricate detailing. Love everything about it. Cheers!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I like that you laid down on the floor to get a view of the ceiling! Nice place, but wowo, a 12.5 quid enterance fee seems steep. I remember that places in London like St. Paul's and Westminister also had steep fees. Must be a English thing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, you really captured some great images! The buildings and cathedrals are so rich in culture and history!

    ReplyDelete
  10. What beautiful pictures! When I saw the title of this, I immediately thought of the Canterbury Tales. It was required reading in college, but I really liked the ones we read. So I guess the pilgrims in that story are on their way to see the cathedral and honor St. Thomas Beckett. I never really thought about why they were making the pilgrimage. Well, I hope they enjoyed the beauty of the cathedral. It is gorgeous! https://www.lovelaughterandluggage

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh what a great sight. I just wish I could visit this place some day. I'd love to visit other churches as well as they are a great subject for photography.

    ReplyDelete
  12. All these engineering works and structures are beyond description. They're an excellent workmanship. I am wondering to those sculptures whom are they being inspired. Are these skills in born?

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a marvellous building! I love the intricate detailing of the interior. Is this Gothic architecture, or something different? Some great history right there in Canterbury, one to visit in person!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have wanted to visit this cathedral for years. Thank you for sharing your photos. There's so much history there!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love how you have been exploring the heritage sites in Europe. In fact I haven't heard of a lot of places you have covered. It was interesting reading about the Canterbury cathedral, its architecture and about teh stories from its past. Nice imagery as well.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love Canterbury so much, I studied there and this has brought back so many happy memories - in fact I graduated right inside the cathedral. Amazing pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  17. The stained glass windows add so much colour to the church! I love the Gothic architecture...its really nice and takes me back to centuries gone by. I have been to Canterbury but would love to revisti the place!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Reminds me of Canterbury Tales. Nice pics and walk through.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The Caterbury Cathedral looks really grand and majestic. It's such a rich heritage attraction.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a beautiful cathedral. I like visiting churches with a long history behind. Will definitely be in our itinerary when we visit England one of these days.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The hallways looked like from the Harry Potter castle, extravagant and huge. It's nice to visit places like Canterbury Cathedral and see how Ancient architecture and engineering are.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a great capture. The Canterbury Cathedral looks so stunning. That is so great heritage church attraction. Will love to there.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This cathedral is so remarkable and outstanding! I am adding it to my bucket list right away thanks to your inspiring post. Is there an entrance fee?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for visiting...!
Why not leave a comment.?
And tell your friends..!!!

cookieassistant.com