Tuesday, May 18, 2010

21/365 The walls of York

On our final night in York, we got a chance to walk along the walls surrounding the city after dinner.

I wish we'd had time (and enough daylight) to do the entire circuit, because it really is a great way to see the city.

The walls that stand today date from the 12th-14th century.

Pause for a second and think about that. 1100-1300 AD. These walls are between 700 and 900 years old. Knowledge of the existence of North America dates back to the 1400s. The United States itself has only been an independent entity for 234 years. It just blows my mind.

The walls are actually shorter than I would have guessed, but they still served their defensive purpose because they are built up on earthen banks around the city, which elevates them more. From the inner edge of the walkway atop the walls, I could have safely hopped down to the ground below. The height was only about four feet or so.

No railing exists along the inner edge, except where the walls (or gates) cross above a road or river. The walkway itself was also narrower than I'd have guessed -- only about three feet wide. The outer wall stood six feet or more above the walkway, protecting the defenders. Narrow slits for archers were strategically spaced along the wall as well.

Daylight faded quickly and forced us to cut the walk short after we'd only made it about halfway around the city. But it was entirely worth it!

Camera: Canon 40D, 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 1000 at about 8:30 p.m.

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