York is a beautiful old city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. Founded by the Romans in 71 AD under the name of Eboracum, York became in turn the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and of the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jorvik. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained.
The city has an exceptionally rich heritage and offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural and sporting activities. In the 19th century York became a hub of the railway network and a confectionery 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. Tourism has become an important element of the local economy.
York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe, is the symbol of the city. 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) is one of city’s main attractions. The historical centre is enclosed by the city’s medieval walls. They incorporate part of the walls of the Roman fortress and some Norman and medieval work, as well as 19th- and 20th-century renovations. The entire circuit is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km), which makes city walls a very popular walk.
The walled centre is characterized by narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement and St Sampson’s Square. The Shambles is probably the most famous 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. Other streets like Goodramgate, Petergate and Micklegate have also 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.
As well as the Castle Museum, the city contains numerous other museums and historic buildings such as the Yorkshire Museum and its Museum Gardens, JORVIK Viking Centre, the York Art Gallery, the Richard III Museum, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, the reconstructed medieval house Barley Hall (owned by the York Archaeological Trust), Fairfax House (owned by the York Civic Trust), the Mansion House (the historic home of the Lord Mayor), and the Treasurer’s House (owned by the National Trust). The National Railway Museum is situated just beyond the station, and is home to a vast range of transport material and the largest collection of railway locomotives in the world.
York is noted for its numerous churches and pubs, some of them very old and still well preserved.