York 800

9 July 2012 marks the 800th anniversary of York becoming a self-governing city. In 1212, King John signed a charter allowing York’s citizens, rather than the sheriff, to collect and pay the annual tax to the Crown, to hold their own courts and to appoint a mayor.

York is marking the anniversary with York 800, a year-long programme of events for residents, visitors, and businesses alike, of which York Stories 2012 is just one of the highlights.

Others include:

The first weekend in July – Charter Weekend – will include the opening of the 2012 Festival of the Rivers. A flotilla of hundreds of boats will progress along the River Ouse, and dozens of York choirs and other singers will come together as the climax of the Ebor Vox project to perform a specially commissioned work around the city by Benjamin Till, composer of the “Symphony for Yorkshire”.

In addition, other major events will be taking place in the city, including the return of Railfest to the National Railway Museum, celebrating York’s links to the railways over the centuries; the Olympic torch coming to York; a Chocolate Festival in the spring, when the city will celebrate its historic links to another of its major industries; and Illuminating York 2012, with a special theme.

Residents will also be able to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and enjoy a whole series of events at the Minster, as well as visiting a brand new medieval gallery at the Yorkshire Museum.

Details of the programme can be found on the York Festivals website.