Canterbury is located in the Kent district of South East England and is situated on the Stour River. It is sixty miles away from London and has a population of over forty-three thousand residents. This area can trace its history back to prehistoric times. Several recent archeological digs have found many remnants of stone age society, such as earthen pots and Paleolithic weapons. Canterbury officially became a settlement when it was inhabited by the Cantiac, who were a Celtic tribe that lived in most of Kent. During the first century, the Roman Empire conquered the settlement and named it Durovernum Cantiacorum, a term which meant “fortress of the alder grove Cantiaci tribe”. The Romans poured considerable effort into the city and constructed new streets, a temple, Roman baths, a theater and a forum. Two hundred years later, the Romans erected a wall and an earth bank to protect it from attacks by marauding babarian tribes.
In the early fifth century, Rome left Britain and Durovernum Cantiacorum was abandoned. Over the course of the next hundred years, an Anglo Saxon community set up within the walls of the city. This was followed by mass immigrations of Jutish refugees and the city was renamed Cantwaraburh, a term which meant “stronghold of the people of Kent”. In the seventh century, the city was converted to Christianity by Augustine and was chosen as the site for an episcopal see in Kent. A cathedral and an abbey were then promptly built and Augustine became the city’s first Archbishop. Its newly found status as an episcopal see caused the city to become an important trade hub in the area and the city traded in goods such as textiles and leather goods. In the ninth century, the city suffered from a great loss of life due to constant raids from the Danish. During the tenth century, the abbey was reformed by Archbishop Dunstan and renamed it St, Augustine’s Abbey. In the eleventh century, a second set of Danish attacks were waged against the city and the cathedral was destroyed. Later, William the Conqueror invaded the city and erected a wooden castle by the walls of the city. Two hundred years later, the castle was reconstructed in stone.
In 1170, Archbisop Thomas Becket was murdered at the cathedral and as a result, Canterbury received a large influx of pilgrims who came to the city to visit his shrine. This elevated the religious status of the city and was the foundation for the fourteenth century collection of stories by Geoffrey Chaucer called “The Canterbury Tales”. During this time, the city produced quite a number of saints which include Saint Augustine, Saint Alphege, Saint Thomas Becket, Saint Anselm, Saint Adrian, Saint Mellitus, Saint Dunstan, Saint Theodore of Tarsus and Saint Aethelberht.
During the fourteenth century, Canterbury was visited by the Black Death. This plague reduced the number of people in the city from ten thousand residents to just over three thousand. After the city recovered from the plague, the wall that surrounded it was rebuilt and new towers added. In 1448, the city was given a city charter and it received a mayor and a sheriff. By the seventeenth century, the city had a population of over five thousand people and the first newspaper was founded. In 1830, the Whitstable and Canterbury Railway was opened and over the next seventy years the population of the city would grow to over twenty-four thousand residents. During World War II, Germany dropped over ten thousand bombs on the city which caused the destruction of over seven hundred homes and three hundred hundred municipal buildings and churches. Today, Canterbury has almost five thousand businesses which employ over sixty thousand people. This makes the district the second biggest economy in Kent.
Canterbury is a city that has become a very popular tourist destination. That’s due to the large number of historical buildings and other attractions that are located here. A popular attraction in the city is Howletts Wild Animal Park. Howletts Wild Animal Park was established as a private zoo in 1957 by John Aspinall. It existed in this capacity until 1975 when it was opened to the public. This zoo is known for the close personal relationships between the animals and the staff, and for its rare animal breeding program. Howletts Wild Animal Park covers an area of ninety acres and has a large collection of animals which include fourteen elephants and fifty western lowland gorillas. Other animals at this park include Hog Deer, Grizzled Leaf Monkies, Honey Badgers, Caracal, White Ruffed Lemurs, European Bison, Canadian Timber Wolves, Black Rhinoceros, Axis Deer, Clouded Leopards, Snow Leopards, Moloch Gibbon, Malayan Tapir, Sumatran Tigers, Brazilian Tapir, Siberian Tigers, Giant Anteaters, White-faced Saki, Siamang Gibbon, Iberian Wolves, Indian Tigers, Dusky Langur, Asiatic Wild Dogs, Red River Hogs, Ocelot, Greater Kudu, Black and White Lesser Spot-nosed Monkies, Javan Langurs and a Banded Leaf Monkey.
St Martin’s Church is another popular tourist destination in Canterbury. It started as the private church of Queen Bertha in the sixth century. Since 1668 it has has been part of the benefice of St Martin & St Paul Canterbury. This church is a Grade I listed building. Other popular attractions in the city include Canterbury Cathedral, St. Augustine’s Abbey, Museum of Canterbury, West Gate Museum, Roman Museum, Druidstone Park, Royal Museum & Art Gallery, Canterbury Historic River Tours and Tabard Inn. This city is also home to numerous restaurants and hotels. Restaurants in the city of Canterbury include the Sun Hotel Restaurant , Ebury Self-Catering Cottages, Kudos Restaurant, Wagamama, The Goods Shed, Augustine’s Restaurant and Weavers. Hotels in the city include the Sun Hotel, Thanington Hotel, Castle House Hotel, Cathedral Gate Hotel, Pilgrims Hotel, Best Western Abbots Barton Hotel and the Ebury Hotel. The city of Canterbury is also home to a number of stores, shops, bars, pubs and cafes.