Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Top Attractions in London-St. Paul’s Cathedral London

The majestic St. Paul's Cathedral was built by Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1711. It is one of Europe's largest cathedrals and its dome is only exceeded in size by that of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Early History
St. Paul's Cathedral is a venue with colourful history. Five different churches were built at this site. The first church, dedicated to the apostle Paul, dates back to 604 AD, when King Ethelbert of Kent built a wooden church on the summit of one of London's hills for Mellitus, Bishop of the East Saxons. At the end of the 7th century, the church was built in stone by Erkenwald, Bishop of London.
In 962 and 1087 respectively, the cathedral was destroyed by fire; but each time, it was rebuilt and expanded. By that time, it had become one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. Renovations and extensions in the 13th and 14th century enlarged the cathedral even more.

The Great Fire
In 1665, Christopher Wren designed a plan for the renovation of the St. Paul's Cathedral, which was starting to fall into decay. However, disaster struck again on the night of September 2, 1666, when the Great Fire of London destroyed 4/5th of all of London, wiping out 13,200 houses and 89 churches, including the St. Paul's Cathedral.

Christopher Wren's Masterpiece
In 1669, three years after the fire, Christopher Wren was appointed 'Surveyor of Works', and was tasked with the construction of a new church to replace the destroyed Gothic cathedral.
His first design was deemed too modest. In his second design, known as the 'Great Model', the cathedral was shaped like a Greek cross, with a portico, Corinthian columns and a striking large dome, which would be the world's largest, after Michelangelo's dome at the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. This design was rejected as well; because the Bishop considered it unsuitable for large processions. Wren suggested a third design, this time with a larger nave and smaller dome, which was accepted in 1675. After the approval however, Wren enlarged the dome and made several other adjustments, so that the built cathedral now resembles the 'Great Model' and not the approved design.

Cathedral Dome
The cathedral was built in a relatively short time span, with its first stone laid on June 21, 1675; while the building was completed in 1711.

The Dome
The dome reaches a height of 111 meters (366 ft) and weights about 66,000 tons. Eight arches support the dome. On top of the dome is a large lantern with a weight of 850 tons.

560 Steps lead visitors along three galleries all the way to the top of the dome. The first gallery, the Whispering Gallery, just inside the dome, is renowned for its acoustics. The second gallery, the Stone Gallery, is situated at a height of 53 meter (174 ft) on the outside of the dome, right above the colonnade. On top of the dome, at a height of 85 meter (279 ft), is the narrow Golden Gallery, which encircles the lantern's base. From here, you have a magnificent view of the City.

The Baroque interior is just as imposing as the exterior of the church. The mosaics on the ceiling were added in 1890 by William Richmond, after Queen Victoria complained that there was not enough colour in the cathedral. The baldachin above the altar was rebuilt in 1958, after it was damaged by bombardments during World War II. The design is based on a sketch created by Wren. The only monument in the church that survived the fire of 1666 is the tomb of John Donne, from 1631.
Several famous people are entombed in the cathedral's crypt. Most notable are the tombs of the Duke of Wellington - who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo - and the tomb of Admiral Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar.

The West Facade
There is also a tomb of Christopher Wren himself and a number of important artists are also buried there.

The impressive facade at the west side of the church consists of a large portico and pediment. A relief on the tympanum depicts the conversion of Paul and was created in 1706. The portico is flanked by two towers, which weren't part of the original plan. Wren added them at the last minute, in 1707.

Important Events
The church was the site of a number of important historic events, such as the funeral of Admiral Nelson in 1806, and the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer married here in 1981.
Are you considering visiting London and the U.K.? Then contact the London official visitor agency-Visit London and Partners at: 08701 566 366  visitorinfo@londonandpartners.com     

You can also contact the City of London Information Centre: Opposite St Paul's Cathedral:
City of London, Guildhall, PO Box 270, London, EC2P 2EJ     pro@cityoflondon.gov.uk
Telephone: 020 7606 3030

They can offer you credible, pursuable and realistic information and advice on the following fronts: Cheap flights to London, hotels in London, cheap hotels in London, boutique hotels in London, bed and breakfast in London, guest houses in London, holiday apartments in London, timeshare accommodation in London, youth hostels in London, transportation in London, bus tours in London, river tours in London, coach tours of the U.K., entertainment in London, tourist attractions in London etc.

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