The Cheshire Portal

Chester Rows are a set of covered walkways at the first-floor level found in each of the four main streets of Chester, which give access to shops, offices, cafés and other premises. At street level is another set of premises, many of which are entered by going down a few steps. With no counterpart anywhere else in the world, the Rows are unique, and they form one of the city's main tourist attractions.

Dating from the medieval era, the Rows may have been built on top of rubble remaining from the ruins of Roman buildings, but their origin is still uncertain. Undercrofts or "crypts" were constructed beneath the buildings in the Rows in stone, while most of the buildings in the Rows were in timber. About 20 of the stone undercrofts survive, but at the level of the Rows very little medieval fabric remains. In some places the continuity of the Rows has been blocked by enclosure or by new buildings, but in others modern buildings have retained the Rows in their designs.


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