York: The Historic City of Railways


What has York got to do with New York? None, besides the common name, chosen by the then English king to give to the New World’s newly built city, in honour of his brother and Duke of medieval York in England. Let’s travel to the historic city of York, even if you don’t feel like travelling right now.

There are no skyscrapers, no bright boulevards, no crowds here. York – the “authentic” York – of England looks like a beautiful village. The core of the city retains its medieval form: the low stone houses with wooden beams, many of which lean over time, the cobbled streets and corridors between the buildings, which can barely fit two people, the medieval circular wall with the traditional gates and the moat, the river with the arched stone bridges, “crammed” between the old buildings, and of course the famous Gothic Cathedral, one of the largest in Europe.

York has changed its name many times over the centuries. The city’s history begins about two thousand years ago, in the 1st century AD, when the area was conquered by the Romans, who built a Roman fortress, a small part of which is still preserved.

Among the monuments that the visitor can admire today and that testify to the rich history of York are, apart from the Cathedral, the “Gothic” ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, numerous smaller historic temples, the Clifford Tower, but also the house of Guy Fawkes.

The York Minster Cathedral, built over 250 years and completed in the 15th century, has imposing size and fantastic exterior and interior decoration. Its characteristic spiked domes can be seen from almost every part of the old town.

St. Mary’s abbey is older, from the Norman era, with large windows and Gothic arches. It is located in a lush and flowery park, while only one side of it remains upright, adding an extra mystery to its charm.

Furthermore, the Clifford Tower is a solid, cubic structure at the top of a steep green hill. It has a blood-stained tragic prehistory, as at its foundation was an older castle, to which the Jews of York had taken refuge and been set on fire during their expulsion from the city in the 12th century.

Guy Fawkes is for the modern English, a hero and a great revolutionary, as the distant 1600 tried to blow up the Parliament building, killing the English king, who humiliated and oppressed the Catholic faithful. That is why in the house where Guy Fawkes was born, in the centre of the medieval city of York, there is today a hotel named after him.

What else can one do in York?

Visit one of its many museums, such as the popular Jorvik Viking Center, the York Dungeon or the National Railway Museum – the city was an important railway hub during the Industrial Revolution. Today, the train station is picturesque and exudes the air of the Victorian era.

Much of which is accessible, with beautiful views of the old town and the Cathedral, by walking on the medieval walls.

You can also rent a car and drive through the quiet streets of York, appreciating the unknown aspects of the city. Driving on the roads of York is a pleasure, especially in the evening hours when the traffic is low, and the city lights enhance the already enchanting landscape. If you are looking for car hire in York City, then Enjoy Travel can provide you with a massive range of cars to choose from to savour this night ride in the city.

You can also walk along the main river of the York Oz, to the point where it meets the smaller river Foss. The spectacle especially these days is unusual, as the river level has risen dangerously and the shores are partially flooded.

Do not forget to visit the unique riparian pub “King’s Arms”. On the wall of this pub are noted all the river’s floods that this pub has endured, with the latest and most catastrophic being in 2015, when almost the entire pub was underwater!

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