10 fascinating facts about Durham Cathedral
You may have heard of Durham Cathedral, or may even have visited this magnificent landmark during a recent trip to the city, but how much do you really know about the building and its history? Here are 10 fascinating facts about Durham Cathedral – one of the most celebrated visitor attractions in the North East.
- The cathedral is more than 1,000 years old and is the resting place of two of Britain’s most important religious figures – St Cuthbert and St Bede.
- Unlike many other English churches built around the 11th century, the cathedral was constructed entirely of stone. This meant a team of specialist engineers were brought in to help make the architects’ dreams a reality.
- The Durham Cathedral and Castle was designated a World Heritage Site in 1986, and was amongst one of the first in the world along with the Taj Mahal and the Palace of Versailles.
- It is said to be unlucky for Durham university students to climb the 325 steps to the top of the cathedral tower before they graduate.
- Over 600,000 people pass through Durham Cathedral’s doors each year, and the building costs over £60,000 per week (around £6 per minute!) to maintain.
- Durham Cathedral became a film location for two of the Harry Potter films. The cloisters became the snow-covered quadrangle where Harry magically releases Hedwig the owl from his hands in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the location was also used in the Chamber of Secrets sequel in the scenes where Harry, Ron and Hermione are taught how to turn animals into water goblets.
- Situated on the cathedral’s main door is a bronze sanctuary knocker (a replica of the 12th century original, which is in the museum). Any fugitive who knocked and was admitted was then granted sanctuary for 37 days before having to face their accusers or be given safe conduct to the coast, usually at Hartlepool.
- Durham Cathedral is is home to the fourth most powerful position in the Church of England, the Bishop of Durham.
- The 13th century section of Durham Cathedral is the oldest, and boasts a huge slab of stone called the Frosterley marble, which dates back 310 million years.
- The legend of how Durham was first discovered is remembered in an 18th century carving on the north wall of Durham Cathedral which depicts the milkmaid and her Dun Cow.
For more information on Durham Cathedral and other top places to visit in Durham, please feel free to get in touch with our team who would be happy to help you plan your trip.