Durham [ dʌɹəm ] is a town in County Durham in North East England. The city center is surrounded by the River Wear. The city had just under 43,000 inhabitants in 2001 and is the administrative center of the unitary authority of County Durham. It lies about 30 km south of Newcastle upon Tyne at an elevation of 51 meters above sea level.


Durham is home to the University of Durham, a cathedral (Durham Cathedral from 1093 ), which dominates the city skyline and is considered one of the finest in the country, as well as a castle (Durham Castle) ( since 1837 University College Durham ). Both the Cathedral and the Castle are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 1986. In the Norman cathedral and the associated cloister shots for the Harry Potter films Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets were filmed. A popular event in Durham is the annual Durham Miner's Gala.


The city's name is, according to traditions attributed to a vision of the monks. Thus, Cuthbert appeared to him and instructed him to bring the coffin to a place called Dun Holm. Although this place was the monks unknown but it is believed that they knew the meaning of the name. Dun is the Anglo-Saxon word for hill, Holm is of Scandinavian origin and means island: Hill Island. The Normans called the place Duresme, and a long time was the Latin version Dunelm used, which developed into the simplified Durham later.

The grave Cuthberts attracted many pilgrims, and with time, a city developed around the church. In the years 1006 and 1038 this settlement was attacked by Scots unsuccessful; the hill proved to defend as well. In 1069 William the Conqueror sent 700 men to Durham, which were shortly afterwards attacked and massacred by the native Saxony. In the subsequent harrying of the North (about: Pillage of the North) as part of the Norman Conquest of England, the native Saxons were systematically plundered and oppressed. Estimated 150,000 people were killed during this period ( Domesday Book).

In 1072 the Normans built the castle Durham Castle and founded a Benedictine priory in 1083. Ten years later, began under the leadership of Norman Bishop William of St. Carilef the construction of Durham Cathedral. The cathedral was the last resting place for the remains of the saints Cuthbert and the Venerable Bede and has remained so to this day. The author Bill Bryson described the cathedral as one of the finest in the world and has been confirmed in a survey conducted by the BBC in 2001, in which 51 % of the participants, they chose the most beautiful building in Britain.

In the construction of the castle next three centuries Durham was regularly besieged by the Scots. In 1346 they came at the Battle of Neville 's Cross within a mile closer to the city.

In the Middle Ages Durham was an important center of both political and ecclesiastical power. In particular, because of its proximity to Scotland, it was of strategic importance. The bishops of Durham exercised as prince-bishops (English prince bishops ) not only the church but also the secular power in the region, in order to remain independent of Westminster. In addition to the coin and tax privilege and the right of asylum they had the jurisdiction and the right to maintain their own army. In 1538, Henry VIII destroyed the shrine Cuthberts, limiting some of the rights. Only in 1832 the bishops lost their broad powers under the Great Reform Act completely. The entry to the town and signs of County Durham wearing today the signature Land of the Prince Bishops "Land of the Prince Bishops ". In the same year the University of Durham was founded as the third university in England after the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The nobility acquired in the course of time extensive land holdings on which then arose within the city several locks. With the beginning of the modern age, the natural resources became more important. It was promoted coal and steel industry and shipbuilding in the nearby coastal cities became more important. The city grew by immigration; There were workers' estates and mansions of industrialists. At the miners today still remembers the first time organized in 1871 Durham Miner's Gala. Since the 1970s, however, began the decline of the mining industry. Against the decision of the government of Margaret Thatcher to abandon the mines through elimination of subsidies, it came in 1984/85 to a great miners' strike; from this time tells, among other things, the gambling in Durham film Billy Elliot - I Will Dance.

Durham benefited from the fact that settled with the decline of mining companies in the service sector.

Sons and daughters of the town

  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning, poet
  • Colin Cooper, football player and coach
  • Trevor Horn, musician and producer
  • Paddy McAloon, singer and songwriter
  • Phill Nixon, darts player
  • Granville Sharp, abolitionist
  • Robert Swan, polar explorer
  • The Whisky Priests, Folk Rock Band
  • James Wood, literary critic and professor of literary criticism at Harvard University

Also see: List of the Bishops of Durham

Twin Cities

  • Durham, North Carolina, United States
  • Tübingen, Germany
  • Wesel, Germany
  • Kostroma, Russia
  • Somme, France
  • Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
  • Nakskov, Denmark
  • Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain
  • Jasz- Nagykun -Szolnok, Hungary