Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dover Castle and Canterbury Cathedral

On Wednesday we went to Dover Castle and the beach there and saw the white cliffs and then we went to the Canterbury Cathedral. It was real interesting to see the castle and tower of Dover. We learned that castles were built for three main reasons: 1. For protection from foreigners and other countries 2. Protection against commoners and 3. For a display of wealth. The castle also had a war museum of sorts that showed the different wars England had been in. I also saw a few WWII bunkers that were around the area. Although I thought the castle was pretty it did not seem too comfortable to live in! It was a real experience to see a landmark that has been around to see so much history. Dover was a neat experience and of course my roommates and I found different ways to have fun.

At the Dover Beach Getting Blow Away in the Wind!

We also had the opportunity to go to the Canterbury Cathedral. This was an interesting place to visit because I remember reading Canterbury Tales when I was in high school and going to this place made the book so real to me. While on the tour I was able to see places where Thomas A Beckett lived and died. I also got to see parts of the crypt which was over 900 years old. It was interesting that there were a couple of fires that burned the Cathedral down and the monks kept rebuilding it. In some instances the monks needed to raise money and they had the wealthy families give donations to the church and the monks would put the families coat of arms on the ceiling of part of the church. There are over 800 coat of arms on display including: Pope John Paul the 2nd and Prince Charles. There were also death masks hanging above as well. There were also amazing stained glass windows that were from the 1200s. In the crypt we saw statutes with the heads cut off from when the Puritans came through and destroyed the Cathedral. There is also a change in architecture throughout the Cathedral spreading from Roman to Gothic.

For me it was just amazing to be in a place with so much history and a place that Thomas A Beckett knew and lived. This is part of the ceiling and the Cross in the center is 6 ft long. Part of the chapel and the alter.

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- Alex