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What’s Here

Durham World Heritage site was inscribed by UNESCO in 1986 in recognition of its Outstanding Universal Value, becoming one of the first UK sites to be listed. The site has remained in constant use for 1000 years as a centre for religion, education and pilgrimage.   

Durham Cathedral was built between the late 11th to early 12th centuries to house the shrines of the Venerable Bede and St Cuthbert. Durham Castle was built by the Normans to protect the English borders from Scottish invaders.   

Together, Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle form one of the greatest monuments of the Norman Conquest of Britain. Indeed, Durham Cathedral is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in the whole of Europe.   

The Castle and Cathedral also reflect the fascinating political history of Durham and the unique status of the Prince Bishops of Durham. These religious leaders also held significant secular power, and governed a virtually autonomous state that formed a buffer between England and Scotland from the late 11th century until 1603.   

More recently, Durham Castle and other buildings on the World Heritage site have become the home of Durham University – the third oldest university in England.   

Visit Durham World Heritage Site and learn about the history of Durham, the spread of Christianity in the North East of England and how local partners are working with UNESCO to protect the site for future generations. 

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