Ely Cathedral, with its 14th century Octagon tower and unique wooden lantern, is regarded as one of the wonders of the medieval world. The current building dates from 1083 and was expanded over several centuries. Its monastic activities were suppressed in 1539 with the cathedral being re-founded a few years later.
Ely is the second smallest city in England. Until 400 years ago it was an island, when work started to drain the Fens (freshwater marshes) surrounding it to create fertile farmland.