The city's origins go back to the Iron age, and the Romans called it "Sorviodunum". There was a battle between the West Saxons and the Britons here, after which the place was called "Searoburh". The Normans built a castle and called it "Sarum". The site of the castle is now uninhabited and is referred to as Old Sarum.
Bishop Richard Poore started to build the new cathedral in 1220. The main body of the cathedral was completed in only 38 years and is a masterpiece of Early English architecture. The spire, which is 404 feet (123 metres) tall was built later, and is the tallest spire in the UK.
Salisbury holds a market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and an annual funfair in October.