What sort of curious place would give its shortest street the longest name? Or build a dazzling gold-lined dome - and hide it from view? The same mixed-up metropolis that was once the capital of England - and also birthplace of its most infamous terrorist. Even if you were the world's most imaginative storyteller, you couldn't make York up. The city is stranger than any fiction. But to find its oddities and secrets you'll need to step off the beaten tourist path and explore its footstreets and alleys, known locally as snickelways. Be warned, the journey might throw up a few dark moments, from the Bitchdaughter Tower to the spikes upon which traitors heads were impaled. Yet you'll also encounter the traces of many local colourful characters, from an Oscar-winning actor to a dastardly plotter, from assorted stone cats to a rather rude ghost.