Durham Castle and Cathedral Celebrate 30 Years as UNESCO Site

Durham is due to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of being awarded its UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS). The site, which includes Durham Castle, Durham Cathedral and the Palace Green area between them, was granted its special status on November 2nd 1986. It is one of only seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the whole of the UK.

A number of events have been planned to mark the anniversary. A month-long photography exhibition will be held, starting on Wednesday November 2nd, at the WHS Visitor Centre on Owengate.

On Friday November 4th a free public debate will take place at Durham Cathedral on the threats to our public heritage from both natural and man-made sources. The cathedral will also host a lecture, on November 5th, by historian John Grundy, about the lives of saints associated with Durham. Entitled Saints and Stones, John’s lecture costs £5.

A fun day will take place on Sunday November 6th, which will involve kids’ trials and activities, stonemasons demonstrating their skills and tours of Palace Green given by young heritage ambassadors. On the same day, a singing workshop will be held for kids aged between seven and thirteen before a concert in the cathedral.

On the afternoon of Saturday 5th November, visitors will have the chance to view some beautiful early printed books and manuscripts in the Refectory Library in Durham Cathedral.

Across the weekend, a conference will be held, with talks and lectures examining such issues as pilgrimage, art and artefacts, musical traditions and the built environment. Costing £60, the conference aims:

“to celebrate and investigate the rich wealth of intangible heritage which adds so much to the depth of this wonderful site.”

WHS coordinator Jane Gibson said, “We have been celebrating our thirtieth anniversary all year, but it’s nice to have a real celebration over the weekend. Everybody loves Durham and the castle and cathedral and we want to celebrate with all the people who live around here who make it special.”

Ms Gibson added,

“We get three million visitors to the peninsula every year and we are hoping to increase that. We know how valuable heritage tourism is to the region.”

For more information, please go to www.durhamworldheritagesite.com

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