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York (/ˈjɔːk/) is a walled city, situated at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The city has a rich heritage and has provided the backdrop to major political events throughout much of its two millennia of existence. The city offers a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, and a variety of cultural and sporting activities.

York is home to York Minster.

The city was founded by the Romans in 71 AD, under the name of Eboracum. It became in turn the capital of the Roman province of Britannia Inferior, and of the kingdoms of Northumbria and Jorvik. In the Middle Ages, York grew as a major wool trading centre and became the capital of the northern ecclesiastical province of the Church of England, a role it has retained.

In the 19th century York became a hub of the railway network and a manufacturing centre. In recent decades, the economy of York has moved from being dominated by its confectionery and railway-related industries to one that provides services. The University of York and health services have become major employers, whilst tourism has become an important element of the local economy.

From 1996, the term City of York describes a unitary authority area which includes rural areas beyond the old city boundaries. In 2001 the urban area had a population of 137,505, while in 2007 the entire unitary authority had an estimated population of 193,300.

The word ‘York’ comes from the Latin name for the city, variously rendered as Eboracum, Eburacum or Eburaci. The first mention of York by this name is dated to c. 95–104 AD as an address on a wooden stylus tablet from the Roman fortress of Vindolanda in Northumberland.

The toponymy of Eboracum is uncertain because the language of the pre-Roman indigenous population of the area was never recorded. These people are thought to have spoken a Celtic language, related to modern Welsh. Therefore, it is thought that Eboracum is derived from the Brythonic word Eborakon, that is a combination of eburos “yew-tree” (cf. Old Irish ibar “yew-tree”, Welsh efwr “alder buckthorn”, Breton evor “alder buckthorn”) and suffix *-āko(n) “place” (cf. Welsh -og)meaning either “place of the yew trees” (cf. efrog in Welsh, eabhrac in Irish Gaelic and eabhraig in Scottish Gaelic, by which names the city is known in those languages) or perhaps “field of Eboras”.

The name ‘Eboracum’ was turned into ‘Eoforwic’ by the Anglians in the 7th century. This was probably by conflation of ‘ebor’ with a Germanic root *eburaz (boar); by the 7th century the Old English for boar had become ‘eofor’, and Eboracum ‘Eoforwic’. The ‘wic’ simply signified ‘place’. When the Danish army conquered the city in 866, the name became rendered as ‘Jórvík’.

Jórvík was gradually reduced to York in the centuries following the Norman Conquest, moving from the Middle English Yerk in the 14th century through to Yourke in the 16th century and then Yarke in the 17th century. The form York was first recorded in the 13th century. Many present day names of companies and places, such as Ebor taxis and the Ebor race meeting, refer to the Roman name. The Archbishop of York also uses Ebor as his surname in his signature.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesolithic people settled in the region of York between 8000 and 7000 BC, although it is not known whether these settlements were permanent or temporary. By the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, the area was occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Brigantes. The Brigantian tribal area initially became a Roman client state, but, later its leaders became more hostile to Rome. As a result the Roman Ninth Legion was sent north of the Humber into Brigantian territory.

The city itself was founded in 71 AD, when the Ninth Legion conquered the Brigantes and constructed a wooden military fortress on flat ground above the River Ouse close to its confluence with the River Foss. The fortress, which was later rebuilt in stone, covered an area of 50 acres (20 ha) and was inhabited by 6,000 soldiers. The site of the Roman fortress lies under the foundations of York Minster, and excavations in the Minster’s undercroft have revealed some of the original walls.

The Emperors Hadrian, Septimius Severus and Constantius I all held court in York during their various campaigns. During his stay, the Emperor Severus proclaimed York capital of the province of Britannia Inferior, and it is likely that it was he who granted York the privileges of a colonia or city. Constantius I died in 306 AD during his stay in York, and his son Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor by the troops based in the fortress.

While the Roman colonia and fortress were located on high ground, by 400 the town itself was victim to periodic flooding from the rivers Ouse and Foss and lay abandoned. York declined in the post-Roman era, and was taken and settled by the Angles in the 5th century.

Reclamation of the flooded parts of the town were initiated in the 7th century under King Edwin of Northumbria, and York became his chief city. The first Minster church was built in York for the baptism of Edwin in 627. Edwin ordered that this small wooden church should be rebuilt in stone, however, he was killed in 633 and the task of completing the stone Minster fell to his successor Oswald. In the following century Alcuin of York came to the cathedral school of York. He had a long career as a teacher and scholar, first at the school at York now known as St Peter’s School, York, which was founded in 627 AD, and later as Charlemagne’s leading advisor on ecclesiastical and educational affairs.

In 866, Northumbria was in the midst of internecine struggles when the Vikings raided and captured York. Under Viking rule the city became a major river port, part of the extensive Viking trading routes throughout northern Europe. The last ruler of an independent Jórvík, Eric Bloodaxe, was driven from the city in the year 954 by King Edred in his successful attempt to complete the unification of England.

In 1068, two years after the Norman Conquest of England, the people of York rebelled. Initially the rebellion was successful, however, upon the arrival of William the Conqueror the rebellion was put down. William at once built two wooden fortresses on mottes, which are still visible, on either side of the river Ouse. York was ravaged by him as part of the harrying of the North.

The first stone Minster church was badly damaged by fire in the uprising and the Normans later decided to build a new Minster on a new site. Around the year 1080 Archbishop Thomas started building a cathedral that in time became the current Minster. In the 12th century York started to prosper. In 1190, York Castle was the site of an infamous massacre of its Jewish inhabitants, in which at least 150 Jews died (although some authorities put the figure as high as 500).

The city, through its location on the River Ouse and its proximity to the Great North Road became a major trading centre. King Henry I granted the city’s first charter, confirming trading rights in England and Europe. During the course of the later Middle Ages York merchants imported wine from France, cloth, wax, canvas, and oats from the Low Countries, timber and furs from the Baltic and exported grain to Gascony and grain and wool to the Low Countries. York became a major cloth manufacturing and trading centre. Edward I further stimulated the city’s economy by using the city as a base for his war in Scotland. The city was the location of significant unrest during the so-called Peasants’ Revolt in 1381. The city acquired an inceasing degree of autonomy from central government including the privileges granted by a charter of Richard II in 1396.

The city underwent a period of economic decline during Tudor times. Under Henry VIII, the Dissolution of the Monasteries saw the end of the York’s many monastic houses, including several orders of friars, the hospitals of St Nicholas and of St Leonard, the largest such institution in the north of England. This led to the Pilgrimage of Grace, an uprising of northern Catholics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire who were opposed to religious reform. Henry VIII restored his authority through the establishmnent of the Council of the North in York in the dissolved St Mary’s Abbey. The city very much became a trading and service centre during this period.

Guy Fawkes who was born and educated in York was a member of a group of Roman Catholic restorationists that planned the Gunpowder Plot. Its aim was to displace Protestant rule by blowing up the Houses of Parliament while King James I and the entire Protestant and even most of the Catholic aristocracy and nobility were inside.

In 1644, during the Civil War, the Parliamentarians besieged York, and many medieval houses outside the city walls were lost. The barbican at Walmgate Bar was undermined and explosives laid, but, the plot was discovered. On the arrival of Prince Rupert, with an army of 15,000 men, the siege was lifted. The Parliamentarians retreated some 6 miles (10 km) from York with Rupert in pursuit, before turning on his army and soundly defeating it at the Battle of Marston Moor. Of Rupert’s 15,000 troops, no fewer than 4,000 were killed and 1,500 captured. The siege was renewed, nevertheless, the city could not hold out for long, and on 15 July the city surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax.

Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, and the removal of the garrison from York in 1688, the city was dominated by the local gentry and merchants, although the clergy were still important. Competition from the nearby cities of Leeds and Hull, together with silting of the River Ouse, resulted in York losing its pre-eminent position as a trading centre. Nevertheless, the city’s role as the social and cultural centre for wealthy northerners was on the rise. York’s many elegant townhouses, such as the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House and Fairfax House (now owned by York Civic Trust) date from this period, as do the Assembly Rooms, the Theatre Royal, and the Racecourse.

George Hudson was responsible for bringing the railway to York in 1839. Although Hudson’s career as a railway entrepreneur eventually ended in disgrace, by this time, York was a major railway centre. At the turn of the 20th century, the railway accommodated the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway, which employed over 5,500 people in York. The railway was also instrumental in the expansion of Rowntree’s Cocoa Works. Rowntree’s was founded in York in 1862 by Henry Isaac Rowntree, who was joined in 1869 by his brother the philanthropist Joseph Rowntree. Terry’s Confectionery Works was also a major employer in the city.

With the emergence of tourism as a major industry, the historic core of York became one of the city’s major assets, and in 1968 it was designated a conservation area. The existing tourist attractions were supplemented by the establishment of the National Railway Museum in York in 1975 and the Jorvik Viking Centre in 1984. The opening of the University of York in 1963 added to the prosperity of the city. The fast and frequent railway service, which brings York within two hours journey time of London, has resulted in a number of companies opening offices in the city. York was voted as European Tourism City of the Year by European Cities Marketing in June 2007.

From 1997 to 2010 the central part of the district was covered by the City of York constituency, while the remainder was split between the constituencies of Ryedale, Selby, and Vale of York. Two new seats were created for the 2010 general election. These are York Central, which covers the inner urban area, and is entirely surrounded by the York Outer constituency. The whole of the city and local authority area lies within the Yorkshire and the Humber constituency of the European Parliament.

York is the traditional county town of Yorkshire, yet it did not form part of any of the three historic ridings, or divisions, of Yorkshire. York is an ancient borough, and was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 to form a municipal borough. It gained the status of a county borough in 1889, under the Local Government Act 1888, and existed so until 1974, when, under the Local Government Act 1972, it became a non-metropolitan district in the county of North Yorkshire.

As a result of 1990s UK local government reform, York regained unitary status and saw a substantial alteration in its borders, taking in parts of Selby and Harrogate districts, and about half the population of the Ryedale district. The new boundary was imposed after central government rejected the council’s own proposal.

The City of York Council has 47 councillors. York Council operates on a Leader and Cabinet style of governance.

The city’s first subscription library opened in 1794, but it wasn’t until 1893 that York’s first free public library was built to mark Queen Victoria’s jubilee. The library was initially on Clifford Street but a new building was subsequently erected on Museum Street. This opened in 1927 and is still the library today.

York lies within the Vale of York, a flat area of fertile arable land bordered by the Pennines, the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds The original city was built at the confluence of the Rivers Ouse and Foss on a terminal moraine left by the last Ice Age.

During Roman times, the land surrounding the rivers Ouse and Foss was very marshy, making the site easier to defend. The city is prone to flooding from the River Ouse, and has an extensive (and mostly effective) network of flood defences. These include walls along the Ouse, and a liftable barrier across the River Foss where it joins the Ouse at the ‘Blue Bridge’. In October and November 2000 York experienced the worst flooding in 375 years with over 300 homes being flooded. Much land in and around the city is on flood plains and has always been too flood-prone for development other than agriculture. The ings are flood meadows along the River Ouse, while the strays are open common grassland in various locations around the city.

The table below details the population change since 1801.

Population growth in York since 1801
Year 1801 1811 1821 1831 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
Population 24,080 27,486 30,913 36,340 40,337 49,899 58,632 67,364 76,097 81,802 90,665 100,487 106,278 112,402 123,227 135,093 144,585 154,749 158,170 172,847 181,131 202,400

There are 33 active Anglican churches in York which is home to the Archbishop of York and the Mother Church, York Minster, and administrative centre of the northern province of the Church of England and the Diocese of York.

York’s economy is based on the service industry, which in 2000 was responsible for 88.7% of employment in the city. The service industries in York include public sector employment, health, education, finance, information technology (IT) and tourism that accounts for 10.7% of employment. Tourism has become an important element of the local economy, with the city offering a wealth of historic attractions, of which York Minster is the most prominent, as well as a variety of cultural activities. In 2009, York was the 7th most visited city by UK residents and the 13th most visited by overseas visitors.

Unemployment in York is low at 4.2% in 2008 compared to the United Kingdom national average of 5.3%. The biggest employer in York is the City of York Council, with over 7,500 employees. Employers with more than 3,000 staff include Aviva (formerly Norwich Union Life), Selby and York Primary Care Trust, Shepherd Building Group (including Portakabin), and University of York. Other major employers include British Telecom, CPP Group (life assistance products), Nestlé, NFU Mutual and a number of railway companies.

Today’s economic position is very different from the position of the economy as recently as the 1950s, when York’s prosperity was based on chocolate manufacturing and the railways. This position continued until the early 1980s when 30% of the workforce were employed by just five employers and 75% of manufacturing jobs were in four companies. Most of the industry around the railway has gone, including the carriage works (known as Asea Brown Boveri or ABB at the time of closure) which at its height in 1880s employed 5,500 people but closed in the mid 1990s. York is the headquarters of the confectionery manufacturer Nestlé York (formerly Nestlé Rowntrees) and home to the KitKat and eponymous Yorkie bar chocolate brands. Terry’s chocolate factory, makers of the Chocolate Orange, was also located in the city; but it closed on 30 September 2005, when production was moved by its owners, Kraft Foods, to Poland. However the historic factory building can still be seen, situated next to the Knavesmire racecourse.

In 2006 that Nestlé cut 645 jobs at the Rowntree’s chocolate factory in York. This came after a number of other job losses in the city at Aviva, British Sugar and Terry’s chocolate factory. Despite this, the employment situation in York remained fairly buoyant until the effects of the late 2000s recession began to be felt.

Since the closure of York’s carriage-works, the site has been developed into the headquarters for CPP Group and two housing schemes, one of which was a self-build project. York’s economy has been developing in the areas of science, technology and the creative industries. The city has become a founding National Science City with the creation of a science park near the University of York. Between 1998 and 2008 York gained 80 new technology companies and 2,800 new jobs in the sector.

Regional gross value added figures for York, at 2005 basic prices in pounds sterling, are:

Year Agriculture Industry Services Total
1995 30 579 1,443 2,052
2000 13 782 2,168 2,963
2003 16 779 2,505 3,299

York’s location on the River Ouse and in the centre of the Vale of York means that it has always had a significant position in the nation’s transport system. The city grew up as a river port at the confluence of the River Ouse and the River Foss. The Ouse was originally a tidal river, accessible to seagoing ships of the time. Today both of these rivers remain navigable, although the Foss is only navigable for a short distance above the confluence. A lock at Naburn on the Ouse to the south of York means that the river in York is no longer tidal.

Until the end of the 20th century, the Ouse was used by barges to carry freight between York and the port of Hull. The last significant traffic was the supply of newsprint to the local newspaper’s Foss-side print works, which continued until 1997. Today navigation is almost exclusively leisure-oriented. YorkBoat provides cruises on the river.

Like most cities founded by the Romans, York is well served by long distance trunk roads. The city lies at the intersection of the A19 road from Doncaster to Tyneside, the A59 road from Liverpool to York, the A64 road from Leeds to Scarborough, and the A1079 road from York to Hull. The A64 road provides the principal link to the motorway network, linking York to both the A1(M) and the M1 motorways at a distance of about 10 miles (16 km) from the city.

The city is surrounded on all sides by an outer ring road, at a distance of some 3 miles (4.8 km) from the centre of the city, which allows through traffic to by-pass the city. The street plan of the historic core of the city dates from medieval times and is not suitable for modern traffic. As a consequence many of the routes inside the city walls are designated as car free during business hours or restrict traffic entirely. To alleviate this situation, five bus based park and ride sites operate in York. The sites are located towards the edge of the urban area, with easy access from the ring road, and allow out of town visitors to complete their journey into the city centre by bus.

York has been a major railway centre since the first line arrived in 1839 at the beginning of the railway age. For many years the city hosted the headquarters and works of the North Eastern Railway. York railway station is a principal stop on the East Coast Main Line from London to Newcastle and Edinburgh. It takes less than two hours to get to York from London by rail, with at least 25 direct trains each weekday. The station is also served by long distance trains on Cross Country services linking Edinburgh and Newcastle with destinations in south and west England via Birmingham. TransPennine Express provide a frequent service of semi-fast trains linking York to Newcastle, Scarborough, Leeds, Manchester, Manchester Airport, and Liverpool. Local stopping services by Northern Rail connect York to Bridlington, Harrogate, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and many intermediate points, as well as many other stations across Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

York has an airfield at the former RAF Elvington, some 7 miles (11 km) south-east of the city centre, which is the home of the Yorkshire Air Museum. Elvington is used for private aviation. Plans have been drafted to expand the site for business aviation or a full commercial service.

Rural services, linking local towns and villages with York, are provided by a number of companies. Longer distance bus services are provided by a number of operators including, Arriva Yorkshire services to Selby, East Yorkshire Motor Services on routes to Hull, Beverley, Pocklington, Harrogate & District services to Knaresborough and Harrogate. Yorkshire Coastliner links Leeds via York with Scarborough, Filey, Bridlington and Whitby.

English local authorities are required to produce Local Transport Plans (LTPs), strategies for developing local integrated transport as part of a longer-term vision. LTPs are used by central government to allocate funding for transport schemes.The final Local Transport Plan 2006–2011 for York was submitted to central government in March 2006. The plan addresses the fact that traffic in York is predicted to grow considerably over the coming years. The key aims of the plan are to ease congestion and improve accessibility, air quality and safety. Major funding allocations earmarked for the first five years of the plan’s life span include outer ring road improvements, improved management of the highway network, improvements to the bus network including park and ride services, provision of off-road walking and cycling routes, air quality improvements and safety measures.

The University of York’s main campus is on the southern edge of the city at Heslington and is currently undergoing significant expansion with new buildings and departments including Management, Law, Theatre, Film, and Television at Heslington East. The Department of Archaeology and the graduate Centres for Eighteenth Century Studies and Medieval Studies are located in the historic King’s Manor in the city centre. It was York’s only institution with university status until 2006, when the more centrally located York St John University, formerly an autonomous college of the University of Leeds, attained full university status. The city also hosts a branch of The University of Law. The University of York also has a highly rated medical school, Hull York Medical School.

York Minster, the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe, stands at the city’s centre.

York Castle, a complex of buildings ranging from the medieval Clifford’s Tower to the 20th century entrance to the York Castle Museum (formerly a prison) has had a chequered history.

York’s centre is enclosed by the city’s medieval walls, which are a popular walk. These defences are the most complete in England. They have the only walls set on high ramparts and they retain all their principal gateways. They incorporate part of the walls of the Roman fortress and some Norman and medieval work, as well as 19th- and 20th-century renovations. The entire circuit is approximately 2.5 miles (4 km), and encloses an area of 263 acres (106 ha). The north-east section includes a part where walls never existed, because the Norman moat of York Castle, formed by damming the River Foss, also created a lake which acted as a city defence. This lake was later called the King’s Fishpond, as the rights to fish belonged to the Crown.

A feature of central York is the Snickelways, narrow pedestrian routes, many of which led towards the former market-places in Pavement and St Sampson’s Square. The Shambles is a narrow medieval street, lined with shops, boutiques and tea rooms. Most of these premises were once butchers’ shops, and the hooks from which carcasses were hung and the shelves on which meat was laid out can still be seen outside some of them. The street also contains the Shrine of Margaret Clitherow, although it is not located in the house where she lived. Goodramgate has many medieval houses including the early 14th century Lady Row built to finance a Chantry, at the edge of the churchyard of Holy Trinity church.

As well as the Castle Museum, the city contains numerous other museums and historic buildings such as the Yorkshire Museum and its Museum Gardens, JORVIK Viking Centre, the York Art Gallery, the Richard III Museum, the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, the reconstructed medieval house Barley Hall (owned by the York Archaeological Trust), Fairfax House (owned by the York Civic Trust), the Mansion House (the historic home of the Lord Mayor), and the Treasurer’s House (owned by the National Trust). The National Railway Museum is situated just beyond the station, and is home to a vast range of transport material and the largest collection of railway locomotives in the world. Included in this collection are the world’s fastest steam locomotive LNER 4468 Mallard and the world famous 4472 Flying Scotsman, which is being overhauled in the Museum.

York is noted for its numerous churches and pubs. Most of the remaining churches in York are from the medieval period. St William’s College behind the Minster, and Bedern Hall, off Goodramgate, are former dwelling places of the canons of the Minster.

The Theatre Royal, which was established in 1744, produces an annual pantomime which attracts loyal audiences from around the country to see its veteran star, Berwick Kaler. The Grand Opera House and Joseph Rowntree Theatre also offer a variety of productions. The city is home to the Riding Lights Theatre Company, which as well as operating a busy national touring department, also operates a busy youth theatre and educational departments. York is also home to a number of amateur dramatic groups. The Department of Theatre, Film and Television, and Student Societies of the University of York put on public drama performances.

The York Mystery Plays are performed in public at intervals, using texts based on the original medieval plays of this type that were performed by the guilds – often with specific connections to the subject matter of each play. (For instance the Shipwrights’ Play is the Building of Noah’s Ark and the fish-sellers and mariners the Landing of Noah’s Ark). The York Cycle of Mystery Plays or Pageants is the most complete in England. Originally performed from wagons at various locations around the city from the fourteenth century until 1570, they were revived in 1951 during the Festival of Britain, when York was one of the cities with a regional festival. They became part of the York City Festival every three years and later four years. They were mostly produced in a temporary open-air theatre within the ruins of St. Mary’s Abbey, using some professional but mostly amateur actors. Lead actors have included Christopher Timothy and Robson Green (in the role of Christ) and Dame Judi Dench as a school girl, in 1951, 1954 and 1957. (She remains a Patron of the plays). The cycle was presented in the Theatre Royal in 1992 and 1996, within York Minster in 2000 and in 2002, 2006 and 2010 by Guild groups from wagons in the squares, in the Dean’s Park, or at the Eye of York. They go around the streets, recreating the original productions. In 2012 the York Mystery Plays were performed between 2 and 27 August at St. Mary’s Abbey in the York Museum Gardens.

The Academy of St Olave’s, a chamber orchestra which gives concerts in St Olave’s Church, Marygate, is one of the music groups that perform regularly in York. A former church, St Margaret’s, Walmgate, is the National Centre for Early Music, which hosts concerts, broadcasts, competitions and events including the York Early Music Festival. Students, staff and visiting artists of York St John University music department regularly perform lunchtime concerts in the University chapel. The staff and students of the University of York also perform in the city.

In September, York has an annual Festival of Food and Drink, which has been held in the city since 1997. The aim of the festival is to spotlight food culture in York and North Yorkshire by promoting local food production.The Festival generates up to 150,000 visitors over 10 days, from all over the country. One of the notable local products is York ham, a mild-flavoured ham with delicate pink colouring. It is traditionally served with Madeira Sauce. As a lightly smoked, dry-cured ham, York ham is saltier but milder in flavour than other European dry-cured hams. Folklore has it that the oak construction for York Minster provided the sawdust for smoking the ham. Robert Burrow Atkinson’s butchery shop, in Blossom Street, is the birthplace of the original “York Ham” and the reason why the premises became famous.

In the centre of York, in St Helen’s Square, there is the York branch of Bettys Café Tea Rooms. Bettys founder, Frederick Belmont, travelled on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary in 1936. He was so impressed by the splendour of the ship that he employed the Queen Marys’ designers and craftsmen to turn a dilapidated furniture store in York into an elegant café in St Helen’s Square. A few years after Bettys opened in York war broke out, and the basement ‘Bettys Bar’, became a favourite haunt of the thousands of airmen stationed around York. ‘Bettys Mirror’, on which many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen, remains on display today as a tribute to them.

The York area is served by a local newspaper, The Press (known as the Evening Press until April 2006), The York Advertiser newspaper (based at The Press on Walmgate), and two local radio stations Minster FM and BBC Radio York. Local news and events are covered by a social media enterprise called One&Other.

York St John University has a Film and Television Production department with links to many major industrial partners. The department hosts an annual festival of student work and a showcase of other regional films.

The University of York has its own television station York Student Television (YSTV) and two campus newspapers Nouse and York Vision. Its radio station URY is the longest running legal independent radio station in the UK, and was voted BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Station of the Year 2005.

The city’s football team is York City, and the team is playing in League Two at the start of the 2012–13 season. York have played as high as the old Second Division but are best known for their “giant killing” status in cup competitions, having reached the FA Cup semi-final in 1955 and beaten Manchester United 3–0 during the 1995–96 League Cup. Their matches are played at Bootham Crescent.

York also has a strong rugby league history. York FC, later known as York Wasps, formed in 1901, were one of the oldest rugby league clubs in the country but the effects of a move to the out of town Huntington Stadium, poor results and falling attendances led to their bankruptcy in 2002. The supporters formed a new club, York City Knights, who now play at the same stadium in Championship 1. There are three amateur rugby league teams in York, New Earswick All Blacks, York Acorn and Heworth. York International 9s is a rugby league nines tournament which takes place in York each year.

An open rowing club York City Rowing Club is located underneath Lendal Bridge. The rowing clubs of The University of York, York St John University Rowing Club and Leeds University Boat Club as well as York City RC using the Ouse for training.

York Racecourse was established in 1731 and from 1990 has been awarded Northern Racecourse of the Year for 17 years running. This major horseracing venue is located on the Knavesmire and sees thousands flocking to the city every year for the 15 race meetings. The Knavesmire Racecourse also hosted Royal Ascot in 2005.[169] In August racing takes place over the three day Ebor Festival that includes the Ebor Handicap dating from 1843.

There are two sailing clubs close to York, both of which sail dinghies on the River Ouse. The York RI (Railway Institute) Sailing Club has a club bouse and boat park on the outskirts of Bishopthorpe, a village 3 miles (4.8 km) to the south of York. The Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club has a club house in the village of Naburn, 5 miles (8.0 km) south of York.

York has also hosted the UK Snooker Championship, which is the second biggest ranking tournament in snooker, at the York Barbican Centre in 2001/2002 to 2006/2007 and 2011/2012 and 2012/2013.

York is twinned with: Dijon, France (since 1953) and Münster, Germany (since 1957).

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