Lincoln's crowning glory, the Cathedral of St. Mary was for centuries the tallest building in Europe. The Norman bishop Remigius began work in 1072. The Romanesque church he built was irremediably damaged, first by fire, then by earthquake. Today its most striking feature is the west front's strikingly tall towers, best viewed from the 14th-century Exchequer Gate in front of the cathedral, or from the castle battlements beyond. Inside, a breathtaking impression of space
and unity belies the many centuries of building and rebuilding. The stained-glass window at the north end of the transept (known as the Dean's Eye) dates from the 13th century. Look for the Lincoln Imp on the pillar nearest St. Hugh's shrine; according to legend, an angel turned this creature to stone.
Through a door on the north side is the chapterhouse, a 10-sided building with one of the oldest vaulted ceilings in the world. It sometimes housed the medieval Parliament of England during the reigns of Edward I and Edward II. The cathedral library, designed by Christopher Wren (1632–1723), was built onto the north side of the cloisters after the original library collapsed. Separate guided tours of the cathedral, roof, and tower are included in the price. They are particularly popular, so book ahead. For safety reasons, children under 14 are not allowed on the roof or tower tours.