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ENGLAND TRAVEL

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Chester Travel Guide

Chester Travel Guide



Chester situated on the River Dee, close to the border with Wales, is one of the best-preserved walled cities in the United Kingdom.

Chester is wealth of history, architecture and archaeological structures, dating from the Roman occupation. Originally the fortress of Deva with its massive harbour on the River Dee and its position on the Welsh border made it one of the finest strategic outposts of the Roman Empire.

After the Romans withdrew the city fells prey to marauding Danes and Saxons arriving in their long ships up the river was virtually abandoned by 900. The Normans arrived to Chester around 1070 and built Chester Castle, housing Hugh the Wolf, First Earl of Chester, nephew of William the Conqueror, and a revival began leading to Chester became a wealthy port serving Scotland, Ireland, France and Spain.

In the Middle Ages the famous Rows, a series of half-timbered buildings joined with long galleries, were built, and Chester become an affluent and prosperous port.

Henry VIII in 1541 made Chester a bishopric. By the 15th century, the Dee began to silt up and gradually, the seaborne trade died. Impoverished by this natural action the 1640s brought devastation during the English Civil War, with the city under siege for two years until starvation forced surrender.

The walls extend in a 2 mile circuit and give a vivid reminder of what a medieval fortified town was like. In the Middle Ages, several towers and gates to the walls were made: the most important of these was at Eastgate, now astride a main throughfare and crowned with an anachronistic clock commemorating Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee (1897).

By the 1700s, the River Dee had changed course and the port had silted up. The walls were no longer needed for defence and were restyled into the pleasant walkways that we enjoy today. The Industrial Revolution brought canals, railways and roads. It was during this time that many important buildings were restored.

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