In 2012, Carlisle was one of the official stop off points for the Olympic torch before it made its way down to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.
It was in Carlisle that Henry I agreed to the foundation of a priory in the early 12th century. The priory converted to the Carlisle Cathedral and in 1122 the town was granted the status of a diocese.
In 1707, an act of union was established between Scotland and England, creating Great Britain, and Carlisle stopped existing as a frontier town.
Throughout the Industrial Revolution the inception of textile manufacture began a system of socioeconomic transformation in Carlisle, developing into a heavily occupied mill town. This and its positioning made Carlisle a developed and important railway town, with seven railway companies sharing the station. The public tram system was introduced later in 1900 bettering transport in Carlisle, which operated until 1931.
The historic Carlisle Castle, still relatively intact, was constructed in 1092 by William Rufus, and once operated as a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle now houses the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment and the Border Regiment Museum.
The former law courts or citadel towers which now serve as offices for Cumbria County Council were designed by Thomas Telford. The first Citadel building was a Tudor fortification replacing the medieval Englishgate, created by the Moravian military engineer Stefan von Haschenperg in 1541.
Museums in Carlisle include The Guildhall Museum, a 14th century building and The Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery opened in 1893 by the Carlisle Corporation. The museum has been accredited with copious prizes and was expanded in 1990, again in 2000.
In the 1980s, The Lanes, the winding enclosed alleyways of housing which cut through the eastern block of the city centre, were refurbished and developed into a shopping centre and opened in 1986.
Theatres known in Carlisle are The Green Room and The Stanwix Arts Theatre. The major entertainment venue is The Sands Centre which hosts touring musicians, theatres and comedians.
Music festivals that have taken place in this region include, The Carlisle Music Festival held in the Cathedral each year and Brampton Live, the biggest folk festival in the north of England, is based a short distance from the city in Brampton. The Carlisle Lake District Airport hosted Europe’s largest free music festival, Radio 1’s Big Weekend in May 2011.
Carlisle’s Brunton Park stadium has also been known to host live music and hosted Elton John in 2007.
Other recreations in the city include The Carlisle Food Fair. It is located in the pedestrianised zone in the city centre each August, presenting produce from across the continent, as well as displaying many local farmers’ produce including authentic Cumberland sausage, mustard and sauce.
Renowned companies that were established or had factories in Carlisle included Carr's of Carlisle (now part of United Biscuits), Kangol, Metal Box (now part of Crown Holdings) and Cowans Sheldon.
In Carlisle the University of Cumbria has four campuses on Fusehill Street, Brampton Road, Paternoster Row and Newcastle Street.
The 16th Century Curse of Carlisle was first invoked by Archbishop Dunbar of Glasgow in 1525 against cross-border families, acknowledged as the Border Reivers, who lived by stealing cattle and pillage. The words of the curse were etched into a 14-tonne piece of granite decided by the local council to celebrate the millenium. Superstition about the stone gathered and a number of Carlisle's hitches were attributed on the curse stone.