St. Paul’s Cathedral is a massive structure that dominates at least part of the City of London, or at least would if it weren’t for the power of the City’s corporations to dominate the skyline instead. A church has stood on this spot since the beginning of the 7th century. The current building, however, dates to the 17th century, and is a product of Sir Christopher Wren, one of England’s most famous architects. The project to build the cathedral benefitted greatly from the calamity of the 1666 fire that destroyed massive sections of the city of London, as it gave Wren the opportunity to use plans for a cathedral that he had drawn up independently. Despite the architect’s forethought, the design of the cathedral was changed no less than five times, responding and incorporating the criticisms and suggestions of the aristocracy, royalty and the clergy. The fifth design was what won out, and it eschewed the Gothic influences that had previously been proposed. It stuck to the elongated Greek cross of the third plan, and was influenced by St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The resultant style is known as English Baroque, and indeed one can see the similarities between the western façade of the building with churches in Portugal and Spain that were built in the same time period. One of the most characteristic aspects of the church is its dome, which was initially supposed to be the crowning piece of the cathedral, but was later (during construction) altered to include a conical structure that is taller than the two towers on the western side of the building. The final design was polemical in some circles, but it has proven to be time honoured and well-loved by Londoners, especially following its survival of the blitzkrieg that destroyed much of the city during the Second World War. The stately columns and measured, rational and linear divisions of the various façades continue to make St. Paul’s one of the favourite destinations for locals and tourists alike.
The statue at the of Queen Anne at the Western entrance to St. Paul's is the second statue as the original from 1712 suffered from the London weather, and was replaced in 1885. Queen Anne was alive during the building of St. Paul's and she claimed England, Ireland, France and North America which are represented by the four figures at the base of the statue, between them the Royal Coat of Arms, the Fleur-di-lis, the Irish Harp and the English Lions.
St. Paul's Cross, erected in 1920 can be seen in the grounds of St. Paul's. Sermons used to be preached by st. Paul's Cross from the 13th century but throughout the centuries much controversy surrounded the Cross causing riots so Elizabeth I kept the pulpit empty for months to see which religion England would adopt. St. Paul's Cross was swept away by a wave of Puritanism which destroyed much of English treasures and architecture.
South of St.Paul's on the Jubilee walkway you will find a memorial to the brave fighters that helped extinguish fire during the WWII blitz. The memorial was erected in 1991 with funds from the Memorial Trust and a plaque commemorates the heroes.
St. Paul's Cathedral is found on the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and was built in the 17th century although there had been churches on this site since 604 AD. The dome is the highest in Britain and it was also the highest building in London until 1962. Funerals, weddings, birthdays and jubilees have been celebrated here. The cathedral is open for sightseeing tours from 8.30 am to 4 pm with an admission charge of £12.50. Don't forget to visit the crypt to see tombs and memorials of some of the countries greatest people. Try the acoustics in the Whispering Galley and climb up to the golden Gallery for astounding views of London.
Like I said before, the cathedral was partly destroyed during the Great Fire in 1666, and it also had quite a hard time during the second World War. It was targeted during the Blitz and struck by bombs twice. On 12 September 1940 a time-delayed bomb that had struck the cathedral was successfully defused and removed by a bomb disposal detachment of Royal. All this information just made me realize how pleased we all must be that we are still able to visit this amazing building up till today.
St. Paul's Cathedral is a true architectural masterpiece. We just couldn’t stop admiring this amazing old building. But just remember one important thing: there are stairs, stairs and even more stairs! We went as far as the whispering gallery, because we lacked the time to explore some more. We saw some people who went up and up again. Their advice was definitely to bring a camera further up. There is a possibility to go outside and you can take beautiful photos. But the people who went up also remembered us that there are stairs, stairs and even more stairs!
What I do remember of my visit in 1989 is that the St Paul’s Cathedral is definitely iconic for London and it is truly grand! One huge disadvantage was that they had the rudest staff of any cathedral I've ever been to. I've been to three or four staff members to ask something, but they had the high almighty attitude towards me and other visitors. Shame on them!
But anyway the St Paul’s Cathedral is a breathtaking cathedral and nobody visiting London should miss it, is my opinion. The baroque interior is just as gorgeous as its exterior, and it's one of the few famous churches in the world where I actually felt like I was in a church when visiting it, and not in a museum. We saw that several famous people were entombed in the cathedral's crypt. Most notable are the tomb of the Duke of Wellington - who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo - and the tomb of Admiral Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar. There is also a tomb of Christopher Wren himself and a number of important artists are buried here as well. Don’t forget to visit the lovely cafe located in the crypt area with nice facilities.
Once again I had to dig into my memory before I was able to write down this tip on Virtual Tourist. My visit dates back to 1989 when I was in town with my school class. As you can see by the pictures I wasn’t really into watching monuments and taking beautiful pictures of them. I was glad that our teacher took us along to this amazing cathedral. He told us that the St Paul’s Cathedral is a Church of England cathedral and the seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedicated to Paul the Apostle and this does date back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604.
We first visited the Westminster Abbey and what I do remember is that the Abbey overshadowed St Paul’s Cathedral, but still it is a very spectacular destination. It is quite a contrast if you know that 1666, when the Great Fire of London destroyed 4/5th of all of London, the St. Paul's Cathedral was whipped off the map. It just made us wonder what a nice masterpiece stands here now and making us even more glad we visited the cathedral.
I can’t quite believe that I have left it this long to write about St Paul’s Cathedral as it’s one of my favourite London sights! And to think that if it weren’t for a major historical disaster, we wouldn’t even have it! I’m talking about the Great Fire of London, in 1666 – the original St Paul’s was destroyed in the blaze and Sir Christopher Wren commissioned to design its replacement. Although in fact this is the fifth cathedral on this site – there has been one here since 604.
When the Fire destroyed a large part of the city, Wren had the idea to use the opportunity to redesign it on what were then more “modern” ideas. His plan was never realised, but its centrepiece, a magnificent new cathedral, was. Although his initial design was modified several times, his vision for a grand domed cathedral on classical lines was broadly realised, though it took 36 years to build.
Westminster Abbey may be the capital’s premier place of worship for state occasions, notably coronations, but St Paul’s has also seen its fair share. In 1897 Queen Victoria commemorated her diamond jubilee here, and Queen Elizabeth II has also celebrated her jubilees in the cathedral. Royal weddings have been held here as well, most famously (in recent years) that of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. State funerals that have been held here include those of Admiral Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and of the wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. I remember the latter well although I was only a child at the time – it was a very grand and rather sombre affair captured in detail on TV. There are monuments here to Nelson and Wellington, and also (among others) to Captain Scott who died in 1912 after his failed attempt to be first to the South Pole.
The scale of the building is awe-inspiring, especially as you stand beneath the dome and look upwards. But don’t just look up – you can ascend the dome and it is well worth doing. You will need some stamina however, especially if you want to go all the way to the top. I have done so on a few occasions and the views, as well as the sense of being somewhere rather special, do justify the effort. But your first goal is the Whispering Gallery, 259 steps up from the cathedral floor. Here you can test the phenomenon that gives the gallery its name – even softly spoken words carry from one side to the other due to some sort of acoustical effect. From here 119 steps take you to the Stone Gallery, which encircles the base of the dome on its exterior. Already you can see the views opening up, but press on up the remaining 200 steps to the Golden Gallery, and you will be at the highest point of the dome, with views of the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre among other landmarks.
Back at ground level, do have a look at some of the works of art in the cathedral. Two of the most impressive are the painting by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Holman Hunt, The Light of the World in the North Transept, and Henry Moore’s wonderfully fluid sculpture. Mother and Child in the North Quire Aisle.
You can also visit the Crypt, where you will see the tombs of the famous, including Nelson, Wellington, Wren himself and many more.
The cathedral is open for sightseeing from Monday to Saturday from 8.30 am to 4.00 pm. The adult admission price of £15 (spring 2012 prices) includes all areas, while children (6-16) pay £6 and students and seniors £14. There are also family tickets available – check the website for details.
The cathedral sits at the top of Ludgate hill.The present church dates from the late 17th century and is the masterpiece of the famous English architect Sir Christopher WREN.
The inner dome holds three circular galleries, the internal "Whispering gallery" and the external
"Stone gallery" and "Golden gallerie".
The "Golden gallerie" offers great views of London.
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