Windsor Castle – a worthwhile destination
One of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations is Windsor Castle, an hour west of London in the picturesque Thames Valley. The history of the palace, which is also known as the “British Versailles”, goes back to the 11th century to William the Conqueror, who had a wooden castle built here. This makes Windsor Castle the longest continuously used palace complex in all of Europe.
The story of Windsor Castle
Gradually, Wilhelm’s wooden defenses were replaced by buildings made of stone, which also withstood a long siege during the war of the barons in the 13th century. Henry III. and Edward III. expanded the castle in the 13th century. The basic structure of the (in truth, irregularly oval shaped) Round Tower, which is located on an artificial hill, the “Motte” and the structures around this tower shape the layout of the complex to this day. Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I increasingly used Windsor Castle for court. After defeating the Armada in 1588 and the elimination of an imminent threat of invasion, Windsor Castle was gradually expanded into a luxurious palace complex. It is considered to be the most expensive and elaborate secular building in England’s history. In 1992 a major fire devastated large parts of Windsor Castle, but the damage has since been completely repaired. To raise money for the renovation, the palace complex was opened to the public after the fire.
Windsor Castle and the Queen
Windsor Castle is one of the three main residences of the Queen, who stays here about four days a week.
In addition to the external system in its entirety, the Round Tower is particularly worth seeing, which can also be climbed. In addition, St. George’s Chapel from the 15th century is an outstanding example of English High Gothic, the State Apartments, which are kept in the styles of Gothic, Baroque and Rococo, are considered to be architecturally outstanding. Windsor Castle is open daily from 9:45 AM to 5:15 PM (Winter 4:15 PM).
Winchester Cathedral is in Hampshire, England. It is one of the largest sacred buildings in Great Britain and, at 168 m, is the longest church in Europe. More than 1000 years of history come together in this imposing building, which is one of the county’s most important attractions. Winchester Cathedral is open daily and is used for a variety of cultural events, including theater and music festivals, and seasonal markets. Evening prayers are held regularly on weekends and Mondays.
Winchester Cathedral: Monument of the Middle Ages
The imposing cathedral stands in a beautiful park. The huge structure, which was built between 1079 and 1093, is shaped like a cross. The cathedral was the coronation church of many Anglo-Saxon kings. Some of them rest – like the famous English poet Jane Austen – in the crypt.
The different architectural styles are clearly visible inside the church. The transept with the crypt is still in the Romanesque style of the 11th century. In the course of the 14th century, the cathedral was redesigned in the late Gothic Perpendicle style and still shows an opulent interior. The wall frescoes from the 12th century are almost completely preserved.
On guided tours (also as Braille tours), visitors can see the library with the valuable Winchester Bible and other writings from the early Middle Ages. The extensive collection of historical art objects and sculptures in the triforium is very interesting. Tours of the crypt are also offered for study trip participants. The tours usually end in the cathedral café with terrace and cathedral shop.
Canterbury Cathedral is the most important religious building in the English county of Kent and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988. The cathedral is more than 1,400 years old and is considered the central founding place of the Anglican Church Federation. Today the church is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Great Britain and is open all year round. Pilgrims and study tour participants come to Canterbury each year to celebrate masses or take tours of the cathedral.
Canterbury Cathedral: place of pilgrimage and total work of art
Above the right-angled nave in Perpendicular Style is a 75 m high crossing tower with 14 bells. It bears the name “Bell Harry” and is – just like the choir from the 12th century – built in the Gothic style. The open fan vault of the tower with the seal of the Anglican Church is particularly striking.
Other sights in the nave include the baptismal font and pulpit from the 17th and 18th centuries. The stained glass windows with motifs from the Old and New Testaments were added in the 12th century. A window shows the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170, whose reliquary is in the cathedral. Archbishops, cardinals and English kings found their final resting place in the Romanesque tomb vault.
A valuable church treasure is on display in Canterbury Cathedral. The way to the treasury leads through the western crypt, which was added to the nave in the 12th century. The eastern crypt was already part of the 11th century Norman church and was the burial place for Thomas Becket from 1170 to 1220.