Ely Cathedral, situated on a low hill and visible for miles across
the surrounding flat Fen countryside, continues to provide a
splendid backdrop to many views of the city as it has done
throughout a period of over 800 years. Today Ely is a rapidly
expanding market town with a population nearing 20,000 but the
cathedral and medieval precincts of the former monastery reflect
its continuity and stability. Since the middle of the nineteenth
century, many business premises have remained the same but shops
have changed owners and trade. There have been big changes on both
sides of the River Great Ouse, and much of the open land around the
northern outskirts of the city has been replaced by housing
developments. However, in spite of changes most of the buildings in
the old town remain relatively untouched.
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