Harvard Square - Harvard University, Boston
It's hard to feel down in the dumps in Harvard Square. On the day I visited, there was a Chinese street musician, a girl with a guitar who sounded just like Tori Amos and a group of Colombian musicians playing flutes and guitars. Music is everywhere in the Square. I got caught up in the moment and got a dragonfly tatoo (henna). A little Indian girl walked up and showed me the one her granny had done on her arm.
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.
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
While we were in Boston, we crossed over the Charles River to visit Harvard in Cambridge. Harvard offers daily tours in the summer and each day shows hundreds of Harvard hopefuls around the campus. We enjoyed walking around the campus and admiring the red brick buildings with large columns and the shaded common grounds. On these tours you learn interesting facts from the student guides, like some classes at Harvard have only 1 student, while another might have 900 students.
900 students in a class! I can't even imagine it. Sounds like a terrible Spielberg movie.
Harvard Yard is where Harvard University started. Located in Cambridge, Boston.
The Yard consists of many Georgian red brick buildings for Harvard Freshmen dormitories.
Harvard College was founded in 1636 by Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after its first benefactor, minister John Harvard of Charlestown who left his library of books and half his estate to this new educational institution that is now world famous.
The statue of John Harvard is often the symbol of attack and target of prankster and grafitti of drunken freshmen or rivals of Harvard of visiting football teams.
Harvard University is one of the best universities, if not the best in the world. Its medical and law schools attract the best students from all over the world. I did not qualify to enter Harvard Medical School, but visiting it was well worthwhile and better than nothing. The brick-red university buildings are centered around a tree-lined square. An imposing statue of John Harvard sits in one corner of the square. Walking through Harvard Square, I realised how international the student population was when I heard a variety of accents - American, British, German, French, Japanese, Chinese and even Singaporean!
The Harvard University Orchestra gives performances on a regular basis at the campus grounds. I attended one of their performances on an October evening in 2003 which featured a talented Taiwanese girl playing Chopin's First Piano Concerto. I must say that for an amateur orchestra, it was very polished in its performance.
There are many small eateries and cafes across the road where you can grab a bite or a drink while mingling with the students.
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).
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
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!!!
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.
If you walk around Harvard Square for a while, you'll usually see some really awesome street performers. When I was there, we saw this 10 year old drummer who was absolutely amazing.. Here's a shot of himin action..
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.
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.
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.
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.