Durham Castle and Cathedral marked the 30th Anniversary of its UNESCO World Heritage status with a two day academic conference. The conference celebrated the region’s rich intangible heritage, including pilgrimage, music, art and artefacts. The conference featured a key note address by TV presenter John Grundy, whose knowledge of Northern English architecture and history is enriched with a wealth of detail and personal anecdotes. Professor Robin Coningham, Durham University’s UNESCO Chair in Archaeological Ethics and Practice in Cultural Heritage, also presented on “Social and Economic Impacts of Pilgrimage in South Asia”.
Durham Castle and Cathedral World Heritage Site was recognised by UNESCO in 1986 for its Outstanding Universal Value: the site’s architectural importance lies in the fact that Durham Castle and Cathedral are among the greatest monuments of the Norman Conquest of Britain, and that Durham Cathedral, built between 1093 and 1133, is one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe. Durham Castle and Cathedral became one of the first UK sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, along with St Kilda, Stonehenge & Avebury, Giant’s Causeway and the Causeway Coast, the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Wales, Ironbridge Gorge, and Studley Royal Park and the Ruins of Fountains Abbey. All seven sites celebrated their 30th Anniversary in 2016.