Tintern Abbey, Wales
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A window on the past. Tintern Abbey, Wales
Set deep in a gorge of the UK's River Wye, Tintern Abbey has an enduring presence. Originally built in wood, this Gothic masterpiece in Monmouthshire, Wales, was rebuilt in stone in 1269. It was in use for centuries until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, when Henry VIII broke with the Catholic Church. The building fell into ruin but, as the centuries passed, word of its intricate stones and romantic, pastoral setting spread. From painter J. M. W. Turner to poet William Wordsworth, many artists were drawn to the abbey over the years. This majestic ruin is now a national icon on the Welsh bank of the River Wye, on the border between Wales and England. There's another abbey in County Wexford, Ireland, of the same name. Back in olden days, the one in Wales was often known as 'Tintern Major,' while the Ireland one was called 'Tintern de Voto' (Tintern of the Vow).