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Westminster Abbey in London photo

For centuries, Westminster Abbey was the place of coronation and burial of English monarchs. Its first mention dates back to the 8th century, however, the monumental Gothic Cathedral that we see now began to be built in 1245.

In the 11th century King Edward the Confessor decided to make a small Benedictine Church Westminster Royal Tomb and began large-scale construction. The new Church, dedicated to Saint Peter, was completed in 1090. Only the Peaks chamber chapel has survived from that time to the present day. This is the crypt under the monastic cells.

In 1245, king Henry III began a new large-scale reconstruction of Westminster Abbey. He chose the Abbey for his own tomb, but he wanted to make Westminster a sacred place where kings are crowned and buried. A total of 38 coronations were held in the Cathedral. Over time, it began to bury not only kings, but also other great people of Great Britain.

The complete reconstruction of Westminster Abbey was not completed until 1517, 250 years after it began. During this time, the Cathedral acquired the features of French Gothic cathedrals. The main building of the Cathedral is built in the form of a cross. The length of the main nave is 160 meters, and the height of the Western facade towers reaches 68 meters. From the 16th century during the Reformation, the Cathedral became a Royal property and passed into Anglican Church.

Since 1908, part of Westminster Abbey has become a Museum. You should definitely see the Chapel of Edward the Confessor, where his sarcophagus is placed. Many famous poets of great Britain are buried in the Poets Corner. It is interesting to see the Henry VII Chapel, Chapter-House.

Coronations in Westminster Abbey are held on King Edward`s Chair with the Skunk Stone (the Stone of Destiny). On this stone Kenneth I, one of the first kings of Scotland, was crowned. It is a symbol of Scottish independence. King Edward I conquered Scotland and brought the Skunk stone to London. Since then, the rite of coronation of English kings is held on the Skunk stone, which means the supremacy of England over Scotland.