Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chester, home of the XX Valeria Victrix Legion for 200 years

When I visit England, my (half) brother Nigel and I usually visit an historic town. We have been to Lincoln and Durham before and this time we visited Chester, all old Roman towns. In England, a lot of towns are old Roman towns for that matter, but these are among the major ones, with York and London of course and Leicester I think.

Chester used to be the huge Roman legionary fortress and naval base of Deva, built on a sandstone ridge in a loop of the River Dee. It is not hard to see why they chose the site strategically as it is close to Wales, Northern England and the Midlands, full of those pesky local tribes. The XX Valeria Victrix Legion was based here for 200 years. 200 years! Think of it. No doubt those last Romans would look at a stone plaque of the beautifully-engraved names of the previous commanders of the fortress going back 2 centuries and think that there would always be a Roman fortress at Chester. Are we looking around at our 200 year-old industrial-technological society and thinking it will always be like this...?

We visited the old walls that completely encircle the city (no other city in Britain can claim as much), the old (14C and later) Tudor shopping arcades called ‘the Rows’, and the great cathedral, parts of which date back to Norman times (1066 and all that).

To be continued

2 comments:

susan said...

Georgeous Tudors! just breathtaking!

Alex said...

Yes indeed. I'M back now. More to come when I get over the jet lag!

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond