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Canterbury - England
Canterbury is an old historic English cathedral city lying in a district of Kent in South East England on the River Stour. Canterbury is a popular tourist destination and is consistently one of the most-visited cities in the United Kingdom. The city's economy is heavily reliant upon tourism, but there is also a substantial student population due to the presence of two universities. Canterbury is, however, a relatively small city, when compared with other British cities. During the First World War, a number of barracks and voluntary hospitals were set up around the city, and in 1917 a German bomber crash-landed near Broad Oak Road. During the Second World War over 10,000 bombs were dropped during 135 separate raids destroying 731 homes and 296 other buildings in the city. One hundred people were killed as a result of these bombing raids. The most devastating on was on the 1st of June in 1942 during what is known as the Baedeker Blitz. Prior to the end of the war, architect Charles Holden drew up plans to redevelop the city center, but locals were so opposed that the Citizens' Defence Association was formed and swept to power in the 1945 municipal elections. Rebuilding of the city center eventually began 10 years later after the war. A ring road was constructed in stages outside the city walls some time afterwards to alleviate growing traffic problems in the city center, which was later pedestrianised. The biggest expansion of the city occurred in the 1960s, with the arrival of the University of Kent at Canterbury and Christ Church College.
The 1980s saw visits from Pope John Paul II and Queen Elizabeth II, and the beginning of the annual Canterbury Festival. Canterbury received its own radio station in CTFM, now KMFM Canterbury, in 1997. Between 1999 and 2005, the Whitefriars shopping center underwent major redevelopment. In 2000, during the redevelopment, a major archaeological project was undertaken by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, known as the Big Dig, which was supported by the Channel Four Time Team.
Another famous visitor was Mahatma Gandhi, who came to the city in October 1931 where he met with Hewlett Johnson, then Dean of Canterbury. Canterbury Cathedral is the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Founded in 597 AD by Augustine, it forms a World Heritage Site, along with the Saxon St. Martin's Church and the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey. With one million visitors each year, it is one of the most visited places in the country. Services are held at the Cathedral three or more times a day. The Roman Museum houses an in situ mosaic pavement dating from around 300 CE. The history of the Canterbury Cathedral is studded with intrigues - from the murder of Thomas Becket in the twelfth century, to the ancient Roman crypt that rests below the structure, Canterbury Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in England. This impressive gothic structure is the current Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, the Primate of All England, and the leader of the Church of England. It also happens to be one of the major tourist attractions of England, and Canterbury tours are among one of the most popular activities for travelers.
In 597 A.D., Canterbury Cathedral received its first Archbishop, St. Augustine. Recent excavations of the current cathedral floor have revealed details of this ancient Saxon structure, which is thought to be exhibiting Roman work, though this point is still disputed. An ancient Roman crypt was also located deep below the current cathedral, and the cathedral was the main burial spot for archbishops for many centuries, until a later renovation of the Canterbury Cathedral. One of the most notable events in the early history of the Canterbury Cathedral was the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in the northeast Transept in December of 1170. Archbishop Becket was murdered by followers of King Henry II in a dispute over the rights and privileges of the church. The scene of this historical event continues to be a major draw for Canterbury Tours to this day and an important part of the history of the United Kingdom. Surviving structures from the Roman times include Queningate, a blocked gate in the city wall, and the Dane John Mound, once part of a Roman cemetery. The Dane John Gardens were built beside the mound in the 18th century, and a memorial was placed on the mound's summit. A windmill was on the mound between 1731 and 1839. The ruins of the Norman Canterbury Castle and St Augustine's Abbey are both open to the public.
The medieval St. Margaret's Church now houses the The Canterbury Tales, in which life-sized character models reconstruct Geoffrey Chaucer's stories. The Westgate is now a museum relating to its history as a jail. The medieval church of St. Alphege became redundant in 1982 but had a new lease of life as the Canterbury Urban Studies Center, later renamed the Canterbury Environment Center; the building is used by the King's School. The Old Synagogue at Canterbury, now the King's School Music Room, is one of only two Egyptian Revival synagogues still standing. The city center contains many timber-framed 16th and 17th century houses, including the Old Weaver's House used by the Huguenots. St Martin's Mill is the only surviving mill out of the six known to have stood in Canterbury. It was built in 1817 and worked until 1890; it is now a house conversion. The Museum of Canterbury, houses many exhibits, with one of them being the Rupert Bear Museum. The Herne Bay Times has reported that the Heritage at Risk Register includes 19 listed buildings in Canterbury which need urgent repair but for which the council has insufficient funds.
Canterbury was the terminus of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, known locally as the Crab and Winkle line, which was a pioneer line that opened on the 3rd of May 1830, and finally closed in 1953. Despite claims by the Stockton and Darlington Railway, the Canterbury and Whitstable was the first regular passenger steam railway in the world. The first station in Canterbury was at North Lane. Today, Canterbury has two railway stations, Canterbury West and Canterbury East, both operated by Southeastern, the current franchisee for the railways around Canterbury - which are part of the state-controlled national rail network. Canterbury West station, on the South Eastern Railway from Ashford, was opened on 6 February 1846, and on 13 April the line to Ramsgate was completed. Canterbury West is served by high speed trains to London St. Pancras, slower stopping services to London Charing Cross and London Victoria as well as by trains to Ramsgate and Margate. Canterbury East, the more central of the two stations, was opened by the London, Chatham and Dover Railway on the 9th of July in 1860. Services from London Victoria stop at Canterbury East with a journey time of around 88 minutes and then continue on to Dover.
Canterbury has previously been served by two other stations. North Lane Station was the southern terminus of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway between 1830 and 1846. Canterbury South was on the Elham Valley Railway, which opened in 1890 and closed in 1947. A high-speed train service to London St. Pancras via Ashford International started on the 13th of December 2009. The journey time to London has been reduced to one hour. Canterbury is by-passed by the A2 London to Dover Road. It is about 45 miles or 72 kilometers from the M25 London orbital motorway, and 61 miles or 98 kilometers from central London. The other main road through Canterbury is the A28 from Ashford to Ramsgate and Margate. The City Council has invested heavily in Park-and-Ride systems around the City's outskirts and there are three sites: at Wincheap, New Dover Road and Sturry Road. In 2011 a third junction was constructed, linking the A28 to the northbound A2; this leaves just the A2 southbound exit missing, but since this would cut across the Park & Ride car park and meet the A28 at an already complicated junction, it is not expected to be added in the near future. The hourly National Express coach service to and from Victoria Coach Station (007), which leaves from the main bus station, is typically scheduled to take two hours.
The skyline of Canterbury is dominated by its stunning Cathedral, the oldest in England. But the cathedral is only part of its appeal. The ancient ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's Church form Canterbury's UNESCO World Heritage Site while other ancient ruins such as the Castle are reminders of the city's history, heritage and culture. Although Canterbury is a place steeped in tradition it is also a modern and vibrant city. Luxury hotels, fine restaurants serving food from around the world, hopping nightclubs and welcoming pubs combine to give a complete experience. For those who have a yearning for shopping, Canterbury's array of shop windows beckon with a kaleidoscope of colours, inviting you to sample what's on offer. Many of the high street names are here as well as a delightful range of independent retailers. The King's Mile has an atmosphere all of its own while the city's St Dunstan's, West Gate Towers and Northgate areas have a range of specialist and individual outlets. Travelling by foot is always a good way to explore the city. Walking trails or guided walks will help you make the most of your time in Canterbury and to enjoy the winding lanes and streets, all with their own unique identity. On the other hand, you may wish to relax and absorb the wonder of the city with a boat trip along the River Stour. You will be able to appreciate Canterbury's finest and historical architecture set against outstanding, scenic views. The crystal clear waters offer a home to ducks, swans, fish and other wildlife while the river banks have an array of bending willow trees and wild flowers.
Originally a Brythonic settlement, it was renamed Durovernum Cantiacorum by the Roman conquerors in the 1st century AD. After it became the chief Jutish settlement, it gained its English name Canterbury, itself derived from the Old English Cantwareburh - "Kent people's stronghold". After the Kingdom of Kent's conversion to Christianity in 597, St. Augustine founded an episcopal see in the city and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury, a position that now heads the Church of England and the worldwide Anglican Communion, though the modern-day Province of Canterbury covers the entire south of England. Thomas Becket's murder at Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 led to the cathedral becoming a place of pilgrimage for Christians worldwide. This pilgrimage provided the theme for Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th-century literary classic The Canterbury Tales. The literary heritage continued with the birth of the playwright Christopher Marlowe in the city in the 16th century. Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most famous religious structures in the world. Parts of the city have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many historical structures remain, including a city wall founded in Roman times and rebuilt in the 14th century, the ruins of St Augustine's Abbey and a Norman castle, and perhaps the oldest school in England, The King's School. Modern additions include the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, the Marlowe Theatre, and the St Lawrence Ground, home to Kent County Cricket Club. The city lies at the heart of the City of Canterbury, a local government district.
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