“York Minster, After Midnight”

copyright 2001, Grabo'

York Minster, the massive Gothic cathedral, at York, England, makes quite an impression at night. There are two of these square towers, but only one in my photographs. The reason goes back a few centuries. The locals told us that when King Henry VIII bolted from the Catholic Church over the divorce he was not granted, he destroyed all the abbies in England and confiscated the cathedrals, including this one. He told the Catholics that they could have the cathedrals back when he finished renovating them. It seems they are still being renovated, over 400 years later (we never saw a single one without scaffolds around it, including this one).

This, we were told, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world besides St. Peter’s in Rome, and it contains the largest collection of medieval stained glass in the world. The glass was painstakingly removed piece by piece during World War II, to protect it from bombing raids, and it took decades to put it back in place after the war.

The cathedral is built upon the ruins of the original Roman temple, as well as Viking and Norman ruins, and underneath the foundations you can stand where Emperor Constantine was crowned Roman Emperor (he ruled the empire from York for several years after his coronation).

Autumn, 1996, York, England

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