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By the middle of the 14th century Norwich city walls, about two and a half miles (4 km) long, had been completed. These, along with the river, enclosed a larger area than that of the City of London. However, when the city walls were constructed it was made illegal to build outside them, inhibiting expansion of the city.
In 1144, the Jews of Norwich were accused of ritual murder after a boy (William of Norwich) was found dead with stab wounds. This was the first incidence of blood libel in England. The story was turned into a cult, William acquiring the status of martyr and William was subsequently canonized. The cult of St. William attracted large numbers of pilgrims, bringing wealth to the local church. On February 6, 1190, all the Jews of Norwich were massacred except for a few who found refuge in the castle.
The wealth generated by the wool trade throughout the Middle Ages financed the construction of many fine churches and Norwich still has more medieval churches than any other city in Western Europe north of the Alps. Throughout this period Norwich established wide-ranging trading links with other parts of Europe, its markets stretching from Scandinavia to Spain. Around this time, the city was made a county corporate and became capital of one of the most densely populated and prosperous counties of England.
The great immigration of 1567 brought a substantial Walloon community of weavers to Norwich. Norwich has been the home of various dissident minorities, notably the French Huguenot and the Belgian Walloon communities in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. These immigrants were known locally as 'Strangers'. The merchant's house - now a museum - which was their earliest base in the city is still known as 'Strangers' Hall'. It seems that the Strangers were integrated into the local community without a great deal of animosity, at least among the business fraternity who had the most to gain from their skills. The arrival of the Strangers in Norwich bolstered trade with mainland Europe, fostering a movement toward religious reform and radical politics in the city. During this time Norwich became the second largest city in the country second only to london
Norwich is a popular destination for a city break; attractions include Norwich Cathedral, the cobbled streets and museums of old Norwich, The Castle, Cow Tower Dragon Hall and The Forum. Norwich is also one of the UK's top ten shopping destinations, with a mix of chain retailers and independent stores as well as one of the largest outdoor markets in England. It is currently ranked the 147th biggest city in Europe.
Norwich International Airport is a feeder to KLM's Schiphol hub. FlyBe, Air Southwest, Eastern Airways, and Bristow Helicopters all serve Norwich, in addition to a strong holiday charter flight business. The airport was originally the airfield part of the former RAF Horsham St Faith. One of the former RAF hangars was once the home of Air UK, which grew out of Air Anglia and was then absorbed by the Dutch airline KLM.
The River Yare is navigable from the sea at Great Yarmouth all the way to Trowse, south of the city. From there the River Wensum is navigable into Norwich, and is crossed by the Novi Sad Friendship Bridge.
Novi Sad Friendship Bridge is a cable stayed swing footbridge which spans the River Wensum in Norwich. The structure is named in recognition of the twinning ties between Norwich and Novi Sad in Serbia. The bridge was designed by Buro Happold and commissioned by Norfolk County Council.
Scheduled trips through the city and out to the nearby Broads are run by City Boats from outside Norwich Station and also Elm Hill.
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