by Sarah Crossland, Church Tourism Manager
The great cathedrals of the world represent one of humanity's most glorious architectural and artistic achievements.
They were especially important in the lives of medieval Christians as places for communal worship, ritual, celebration, education and governance. Cathedrals represented the local seat of ecclesiastical power, but also functioned as a social center.
Today, each cathedral serves its community as the mother church of its area and the seat of a bishop. They are physical and cultural landmarks, often the most magnificent, complex and ancient buildings in their local area. They make a great contribution to the country's spiritual life, historic environment and social and economic activity.
Most importantly, cathedrals remain in use for their original purpose.
They are truly wonderful places to visit.