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  • London The Square Mile

    Buckingham Palace ©Tony Webster

    Buckingham Palace ©Tony Webster

     

    London is the capital of the United Kingdom. Once it also served as the capital of a huge empire. It lies in the southeastern part of the country and London itself has a long and vast history.

    For me London was one of the best experiences ever.  It has everything, but what I loved about London is that it has many secrets and mysteries.  It can offer you so much more, it is filled with so many secrets that makes this amazing place an ideal destination. Unexpected is a common word in London.

    It’s almost impossible to find another city that has more secrets and more less known yet beautiful places as London. I fully enjoyed London and believe me, it won’t disappoint you either.

    The city is very complex yet astonishing and it is the third largest city in Europe after Istanbul and Moscow.  The Population of the capital is the most diverse in Europe thanks to its high living standards.The city itself has about 8.6 million inhabitants, while the metropolitan area about 13.6 million.

    London is easily accessible by every type of transportation.  You can reach the city by bike, car, train, ship, and airplane. London is a very widespread city, meaning that it is highly cosmopolitan and entertaining.

    As mentioned before, London has an ancient background. Its history goes back to  Prehistory, Roman London, Anglo Saxon and Viking period to the late modern and contemporary era.  Thanks to that, London is rich in architecture from all ages to be characterized by any particular style.

    No matter if we are speaking about Roman, Medieval, Tudor, Baroque style, London has it all. However, few structures pre-date the Great Fire of 1666. After the devastation by the Great Fire of London, the city was quickly rebuilt and regained its status.

    Although it is stereotyped for having The Big Ben or The Tower Bridge, London in fact offers you a lot more. The best thing about London is that you can find countless hidden and lesser known buildings, which makes the city even more intriguing and exciting.

    It is no wonder that the city has rich past and monuments. You may look for lesser known places like The Temple Church, which was built by the Knights Templar, St Bride’s Church that was established by architect Sir Christopher Wren, the Victorian Pet Cemetery in Hyde Park and various other secret spots.

    Some of London’s very important points of interest:

    The Palace of Westminster

    Also called “the Houses of Parliament”, its oldest part is the 11th century Westminster Hall. Although it was built in the Middle Ages, it was destroyed and demolished in 1834 but was reconstructed by Charles Berry and Augustin Pugin between 1840 and 1858.

    I was so amazed by the architecture of the building, and personally I was very happy when I’ve seen it live with my own eyes.

    The palace’s most famous feature is its clock tower, aka Big Ben. Ben is actually the 13 ton bell, named after Benjamin Hall, who was overseeing the work when the tower was completed in 1858.

    The Palace of Westminster ©ChrisSampson

    The Palace of Westminster ©ChrisSampson

    St Paul’s Cathedral

    St Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire and built between 1675 and 1710. The cathedral is one of the United Kingdom’s most impressive baroque structures. Cristopher Wren also restored many other churches around London. The church itself is the second largest after Liverpool Cathedral in the country.

    Work on the old Cathedral began during the reign of William the Conqueror. The Cathedral was pure Gothic until 1666 when the Great Fire destroyed it, resulting in the complete destruction of the old Cathedral

    St Paul's Cathedral ©Loco Steve

    St Paul’s Cathedral ©Loco Steve

    Westminster Abbey

    Despite being a mixture of architectural styles, it is considered to be the finest early English Gothic monument. For centuries many of the country’s greatest were buried here like Edward the Confessor, Mary, Queen of the Scots, Elizabeth I and many others.

    The original church was built in the 11th century by King Edward the Confessor. Henry III continued the work on the new building in 1245 but he didn’t finish it, the Nave was eventually finished  under Richard II in 1388.

    Oddly, the church was never truly a Cathedral,  it is what is called a ‘royal peculiar’ and is administered directly by the Crown. Every monarch since William the Conqueror (1066) has been crowned here.

    The neighboring  abbey is St Margaret’s Church, the House of Commons’ place of worship since 1614. Nowadays it also serves as a popular tourist spot, but coronations and ceremonies still take place here.

     

    Westminster Abbey ©Jay Galvin

    Westminster Abbey ©Jay Galvin

     

    Buckingham Palace

    Constructed in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, Buckingham Palace replaced St James’s Palace as the monarch’s official London residence in 1837.  To know if the Monarch is home or not, check whether the yellow, red and blue Royal Standard is flying.

    Trafalgar Square

    Technically the square is the center of London. Many rallies and marches take place here. It is dominated by the 52 m high Nelson’s Column and ringed by many splendid building, including the National Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Fields.

    It’s a common meeting place for both tourists and locals. Due to the fact that is highly crowded, it was neglected for years. However, a new project flourished, banning the traffic from the northern flank in front of the National Gallery, making it a more cherished square.

    Trafalgar Square ©André Zehetbauer

    Trafalgar Square ©André Zehetbauer

    Soho

    Soho’s reputation as the epicenter of nightlife is legendary and well deserved. It definitely comes to life in the evenings, but during the day you’ll be fascinated by the area’s free spirited side and the sheer energy of the place. I personally would hang out there every night since I love dynamic and cosmopolitan atmosphere and Soho has it all.

    Soho, London ©Gotardo González

    Soho, London ©Gotardo González/flickr

    The Tower Bridge

    The bridge was opened in 1894 by King Edward VII during the prosperous commercial development of the 19th century. Designed to be raised to allow ships to pass, electricity has now taken over from the original steam and hydraulic engines.

    The Tower Bridge ©James Petts

    The Tower Bridge ©James Petts/flickr

    The Tower of London

    Built by William the Conqueror in the 1070s, in various periods of its life, it served as a former royal residence, treasury, mint and arsenal. It became most famous as a prison when Henry VIII moved to Whitehall Palace in 1529 and started meting out his preferred brand of punishment.

    The Tower of London ©longplay

    The Tower of London ©longplay/flickr

     

    Culture

    It is widely accepted that the city is a cultural capital of the world, although the title is disputed by other cities internationally.  It is the home to many nationalities, shaping a culturally diverse city over time.

    A large number of landmarks and items have become cultural icons of London, many becoming strongly associated with the city like the red telephone box, the route-master bus, the black taxi and the “Union Jack” flag.

    It is also famous for its arts, music, theaters like the West End, museums like British Museums and the National Gallery, festivals like the Notting Hill Carnival and other entertainment.

    A common object in London, the red telephone box ©Darren Glanville

    A common object in London, the red telephone box ©Darren Glanville/flickr

    Cuisine

    Like the culture of London, the cuisine is very heterogeneous.  While the British Cuisine is still strongly present with Fish and Chips or Kippers, many other culture’s cuisine, especially Indian and Pakistani are present thanks to the country’s rich colonization history, which brought many types of cuisines.

    Fish and Chips ©Alpha

    Fish and Chips ©Alpha

    Book cheap flights to London and spend great time to this amazing place!

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