Harvard Square - Harvard University, Boston
Harvard is well worth a visit. It`s in Cambridge and has its own atmosphere. You could think of the hard work being done by the serious looking students or the many famous people who studied here. We just went for a walk around, visited the wonderful natural history museum and went for a nice lunch in Harvard Square.
If you have time there are charming students who will give you the `Hahvahd ` tour.
One of the great joys of visiting Harvard in autumn is the colorful leafage of its trees, which look more spectacular against the serene academic environment. And if you happen to visit on a rainy autumn day such as I did, it would be helpful to have a hot chocolate with you, sit down at one of the corners and soak in all that wonderful feeling - rain and all.
Famous Swiss architect and precursor of the Bauhaus style, Le Corbusier of UN Headquarters fame, left his imprint in Harvard: the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts. While the building may host some exhibits from time to time, the main attraction is the building itself, which opened in 1963. It's got a very modern and avant-garde look that is "wilder" than Le Corbusier's other works such as the Secretariat Building of the UN Headquarters in New York.
Harvard Yard's most famous attraction, popular to both alumni and tourists. It is a magnet for tourists with shutter-happy tendencies - like me. As the name suggests, it is a tribute to the university's main benefactor, the Puritan cleric John Harvard.
A SERIOUS WARNING TO TOURISTS: Never succumb to the temptation of rubbing the statue's left foot (this is not St Peter's statue in Vatican City!); it is reported that Harvard students urinate on this very same foot! You've been warned!!!
The grassy area at the center of Harvard Yard is known as the Tercentenary Theater. It's the venue for the university's annual commencement exercises, as well as occasional events such as convocations. On a regular (albeit, rainy) autumn day when I was there, it sports a very colorful look with the trees decked in their full autumn regalia (see pictures).
This is my favorite building in Harvard Yard - the Romanesque Sever Hall, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson. The red brick structure strikes a magnificent picture against the beautiful autumn colors.
As a bibliophile myself, it was hard not to fall in love with this building - Harvard's Widener Library, named after a Titanic (yes the ship that sank) victim, Elkins Widener. It is regarded as the third largest library in the US.
Built in 1742, this is one of Harvard's most colorful buildings, both literally and in terms of history. The frieze on its facade is a intricate work of art in itself. In terms of historical significance, it was a venue for revolutionary speeches during the colonial period and at one point, was a lecture hall for human dissections.
A word of advice for tourists: don't make the same mistake of going straight into the building thinking it's a chapel, and therefore open to everyone. I realized this when I just entered the building and found myself in the middle of a class - with about 50 pairs of astonished eyeballs staring right at me.
This remains the heart of the university, despite the expansion. The yard dates back to the founding of the university in 1636, and is a perfect spot to watch students crisscross the yard between classes. Tourists (like me) are also quite a common sight at the yard.
It is said one of the better museums to tour is at Harvard. The natural history museum is on campus, and Harvard is NW of town in CAmbridge. I did not have time to visit, but the main feature is 3,000 glass flowers that look real. Cost is $9 and times are 9-5 daily
ACTUALLY, HARVARD IS IN CAMBRIDGE, which is next door to Boston, but let's not get picky, ok? Anyway it is a stunningly beautiful campus to visit. A stroll through the Harvard campus will surely lower your blood pressure after the hectic Boston streets (or subway or taxi) that got you there.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History has several permanent exhibits.
Arthropods section features hands on activities, specimen displays, and even live animals (scorpions and millipedes).
The Glass Flowers exhibit is one of the most famous treasures of HMNH. This unique collection of over 3000 models on display was created by father and son Leopold and Rudolph Blaschka. Can you tell if they're real or not?
The Zoological Galleries features examples of animals from prehistoric creatures to today's mammals, birds, and fish from around the world.
The Mineralogical and Geological Galleries include mineral collections and sparkling displays of gemstones in rough and cut examples. There is an impressive 1600 pound amethyst geode from Brazil on display. An assortment of meteorites from around the globe is also on display here.
Have you seen the biggest egg in the world in the Nests & Eggs exhibit?
The Peobody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is also in the same building. There are plenty of exhibits from different cultures in human history.
Harvard Square is actually on a triangle area and is a major MBTA subway stop & bus transfer station. It is also a commercial center and a popular hangout for locals. There is an old subway kiosk which houses Out of Town News that has newspapers from around the world.
Harvard University is one of the ivy league universities in America and where many politicians & famous personalities earned their degrees, including seven Presidents of the United States and fifty Nobel prize winners. It is also the oldest university in America having started in 1636 by the Massachusetts Legislature.
Visitors can visit the university grounds for free
The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library or The Widener Library is the main library in Harvard University. The library was named after Harry Elkins Widener who was a graduate, whose mother donated $3.5 million to built a library under his name after he died in the Titanic disaster.