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  • Joelle Otterstedt

The York Minster

Today I saw the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It is not possible to describe how incredible the York Minster is. I had seen pictures of the inside before, and walked past the outside many times in the last few days, but those just don’t do it justice. The building is unlike anything I have ever seen.


A lot of people had classes (modules) this morning, but Braden and I had the morning off. We started the morning with a quick breakfast at the Starbucks in the Student Union on campus, then made out way over to the Minster. It was cold, but the sun was out and reflecting off the wet streets. After a short walk, we arrived at a wall of the Minster, which we thought must be the front because of how incredible it looked. We were wrong. A kind man pointed us toward the entrance, and we went down a small path through a grass field. This is when I realized just how incredible this building was. It was massive. The side we originally thought was the entrance was just a small piece of it. We passed many different towers all with extreme detail. I honestly couldn’t believe a building like that existed. It is so different from anything we have in the U.S.


We arrived at the entrance and were able to go in for free since we were students at York St. John University (YSJ). We barely talked the entire time we were in there. It was so breathtaking we didn’t even know what to say. We wandered through every corner of that building we could find. At first I just noticed the stained glass windows. I can’t imagine someone making a stain glass window that detailed and large now, let alone 800 years ago. We kept walking and noticed there were hallways that branched out from the main hall. In one of the branches we found my favorite room. It was the chapter meeting area. It had faces, leaves and patterns all symmetrically carved up the walls. The carvings turned into eight massive stained glass windows, surrounding the circular room. It ended with the most extravagant ceiling I’ve ever seen. The ceiling had perfectly symmetrical designs, first in gold, and toward the center it was a colorful pattern of leaves, shields and designs.

We went back to the main hall and walked past the construction where they were doing some restoration work. It turned into more places of worship. In this area, the windows are smaller, and the walls are lined with engravings in the wall, and carvings of many people. There were lots of memorials in this section. We next entered a smaller section where people pray every day. Beneath this area, 14 people are buried.


The last thing we did was climb to the top of the tower. We had to pay 5 pounds, but it was definitely worth it. We climbed up 276 steep, narrow, and very tightly winding steps to the top of the tower. About 100 steps up, we reached a landing where we got some fresh air and took in the view. After a couple pictures, we continued into an even steeper staircase to reach the top. It is the highest point in York, and we could see everything. It still doesn’t feel real that the view from the top of that tower is my home for the next 4 months.



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