Canterbury was my very first visit in a foreign country which I didn’t know the language. My first trip there in 2006 sparked the desire of learning English inside me. The getaway was the trigger and willingness of settling myself in England in the future. My relation between England and the English language started at this time. The trip set the foundations and gave me the vision necessary for my future life. As an early teenager I didn’t really know what to do in my life until this trip gave me a glimpse. Canterbury is a Medieval town with a rich stunning architecture. The Cathedral is the main landmark of the Town. It’s the perfect touristic spot to explore English history at two hours drive from the Continent!

My 2006 and 2007 trips

My school trips there in the 2000’s Our world is so vast with many languages and my first trip there is the first where I didn’t know how to speak the language. I only knew few sentences in English and limited to this. I didn’t understand the conversations around me during this trip from random people in the street. But I loved discovering a new culture and I fell in love with the Victorian architecture. I really loved the famous British composure embodied by the sentence “Keep calm and carry on”. From the visit at the Dover castle to the narrow streets of Canterbury’s old town. This one day trip was enough to change my life and my perception of the world.

I took English classes at school seriously and self-learned aside of school in my spare time. My horizon started to expand to make me an open minded person with a willingness to learn more and more. A year later in 2007 after changing school, I’ve been there again with different schoolmates and visited the same places. This time I had more knowledges to make more resourceful than last time. So I kind of guided my schoolmates. I knew where to go and what to see. I helped schoolmates in having conversations with people.

My 2021 trip and history

This trip aimed to spend time outside London and rediscovering the Town. I always remembered the old Town with its narrow streets. It reminded me of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter which I am a fan of. The medieval architecture always fascinated me. The old Town centre is the main spot to visit and headed straight back there when I jumped out of the coach. I could see the Medieval wall surrounding the old Town. Canterbury had a successive wall construction since the Roman period. Although there was no resistance to William the conqueror who built the Canterbury Castle. During the hundred years war more fortifications are built in fear of a French invasion. Because Canterbury was an important defence of the South East of England and could be a barrier for London. One of the most landmark is the 14th west gate when you leave the old Town.

The Canterbury Cathedral

The Cathedral is the unmissable spot when walking around the Town centre. When you reach the Butter Market Square for a break you can’t skip the main gate entrance. Despite not being a Christian Cathedrals are buildings with their history I love to explore. Discovering their hidden treasures and mysteries is one of my passions. So the earliest archaeological evidences of an existing Church during a 1993 search. This turned out to be an Anglo-Saxon Church remains. Indeed some Anglo-Saxons convert to Christianity during the Gregorian mission in 596. The Pope decides to send missionaries for the mission. And one of them is Augustine of Canterbury. Augustine is the founder of the Cathedral and first Archbishop of Canterbury. However the Cathedral suffers from damage from both Viking raids in 1011 and from fire after the Norman conquest in 1067.

Reconstruction and redesign

The first Norman Archbishop Lanfranc decides to rebuild the Church in 1070. He finds inspiration from the Abbey of Saint-Etienne in can to design the new Cathedral. The stones are transported from France to Canterbury for the reconstruction. His successors becomes in charge of the works. One of the most important event in the Cathedral is the murdering of the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket. A moment known as the martyrdom. It took place in 1170 as King Henry II was in conflict with him and 4 knights killed him in the north-west transept. After the event the Cathedral becomes a place of pilgrimage so expansion is necessary with the number of worshippers increasing. However a fire damage the building in 1174. Leading to an opportunity for more reconstruction. The type of design is the new gothic style and the limestone comes from the City of Caen in France.

My review

Canterbury is a City I will definitely come back. As I love medieval architecture that has been lasting for centuries. It’s a very trendy and touristic city. There are many school trips as well. But the city is comfortable to visit and a good spot to slowdown. This kind of medieval Town makes us travelling back in time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *