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Pictures of Carlisle

in the county of Cumbria

About Carlisle

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For over 1700 years this town occupied an important position on the Scottish-English border, few town's have experienced such turbulent times, but strangely Carlisle has little left in monuments bearing witness to its rich history.

Carlisle flourished as a Roman town on Hadrian's Wall, but was abandoned during the Danish invasion and was only revived again when the Norman's landed on our shores. Its great cathedral, the only one in Cumbria was begun in 1092. Firstly it started out as the church of an Augustinian priory, becoming a cathedral when the Diocese of Carlisle was founded in 1133. The building of the Cathedral continued until early in the 15th-century, it suffered badly in the Civil War when large portions of the building were pulled down for military use, hence it remains one of the most battle-scarred of all the English cathedrals - it is also the smallest.

The cathedral shows much Victorian restoration work, this followed a period of neglect during the 18th-century. It is a very beautiful cathedral with a magnificent Early English choir, dominated by a glorious east window - probably the finest Decorated window in the country showing original 14th-century glass. The choir stalls have carved misericords and canopies. Amongst the monuments to be seen are those by Thomas Banks, John Adams-Acton, H.H. Armstead and Hamo Thorneycroft. Interestingly, this is the church in which Sir Walter Scott was married.

Of vast importance is Carlisle Castle, this has stood silent witness to a grand historical procession for over nine hundred years. It was built by William Rufus in 1092 and enlarged the following century. The castle served as a bastion during the Border Wars and is the place where later, Mary, Queen of Scots came as a guest only to be detained as a prisoner. It saw the turbulence of the Civil War and in the uprising of 1745 the castle surrendered to Bonnie Prince Charlie. The famous banqueting hall where Edward I held his Parliament, and the rooms where Queen Mary was held prisoner were destroyed during the 19th-century.

What remains of this great medieval fortress still gazes out over the city, and here visitors can explore stairways leading to ancient chambers and dungeons where Jacobite prisoners were barely kept sufficiently alive to make the walk to the gallows. In displays there is a rich portrayal of the lives of the people who left a lasting impression on the castle, these being - William Rufus, Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Carlisle Castle is also the home of the Border Regiment Museum, here you can learn of the history of Cumbria's County Infantry Regiment, The King's Own Royal Border Regiment, The Border Regiment and the local Militia. This is a treasure trove of colourful military information, while visiting the castle you should pop in and explore all this fine museum has to offer.

Tullie House is a superb Jacobean mansion which houses many of the cities finest art treasures. It shows the very best of art and historical subjects in connection with the region. Visitors will be intrigued by the magnificent Millennium Gallery Glass Listening Wall installed in the new gallery to celebrate the Millennium. There is a restaurant, a gift shop and a lovely old herb garden.

Carlisle has magnificent buildings from all periods, particularly Victorian properties, these dominate many parts of the city. Away from the historical aspect, Carlisle is now a place for business and commerce, it often serves as a "stopping place" for tourists travelling to Scotland, and for Scottish tourists visiting England - this is a pity for the town deserves to be visited for more than just a single night. It is sandwiched between the famous countryside of both countries, has a wealth of charm coupled with excellent modern facilities. The Lanes is a lively shopping precinct, and St.Cuthbert's Church of the 18th-century can be found at the side of the town's Market Place. Those wishing to extend their stay will reap a rich reward, apart from numerous tourist attractions visitors will find excellent hotels, restaurants serving cuisines from all around the world, a wide variety of pubs and plenty of night life for night owls.

Carlisle racecourse hosts excellent horse-racing featuring fine blood-stock and has good facilities for race fans. Carlisle Great Fair is held in August of each year, this was first established during the 14th-century and is now run along the lines of a mini Edinburgh Festival to which visitors flock from miles around.

From Carlisle there is easy access to the beautiful Solway Firth, the magnificent Lake District National Park, Hadrian's Wall, and the glorious wildlife of the Border Forest Park and Kielder Water. With all of this and so much more visitors to Carlisle cannot fail but be impressed.

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