England's Church

Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On top of the highest hill in the medieval City of London lies the extremely large (and extremely famous) St. Paul's Cathedral. The site has been occupied by a cathedral since the 7th century, but the cathedral that stands today was completed in 1711.  The cathedral’s slogan is "England’s Church" because of its iconic status and the roles it plays for the country.  Notably, the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was held at St. Paul’s (which can be viewed here: Wedding).  St. Paul’s is also the resting place of Lord Nelson.

During World War II, the cathedral was struck twice by bombs dropped during the Blitz.  Thankfully, the bombs were dealt with quickly before they exploded or detonated to cause tremendous damage.

Once inside the cathedral, photography is not allowed. However, I did manage to sneak a few shots without the nuns noticing.  The main floor of the cathedral is decorated beyond belief with murals and sculptures of valiant and famous British citizens.  Below is the crypt which is the largest in Europe.  It is here where grave and memorial of Lord Nelson lies.  Upon returning to the cathedral floor, the Whispering Gallery can be accessed by merely climbing 259 steps.  The Whispering Gallery overlooks the main cathedral floor.  It gets it name because whispers or murmurs are audible to listeners on the other side of the dome; thus, private conversations here are not private at all and you could hear virtually everyone around the entire circular gallery.  Ascending a “few” more steps will get you to the Stone Gallery that provides an external 360 degree view of London.  This incredible view of the city is only trumped by the even better view that can be viewed from the Golden Gallery.  The Golden Gallery is a grand total of 528 steps and offers the best view of downtown London and the surrounding area.  It was, typically, a bit foggy when I was there, but the view was still very much worth it.

The view is honestly indescribable.  Everything is visible from the top of St. Paul’s: Tate Modern, Big Ben, Parliament, the Gherkin, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, and the Thames stretching through it all.  Frankly, I had mixed feelings about London when I first arrived, but, from above, the city is so beautiful and spectacular.  For the most part, it’s a perfect blend of structures throughout the ages, those built centuries ago and those still under construction.  Who would have guessed that a city founded in 43 AD could survive wars, fires, progress, and invention so well that it would emerge as one of the world’s most important cities?
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