Tag: london museums

Visiting The British Museum

Visiting The British Museum
Among the countless tourist attractions in contemporary London, such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, the one that can easily be considered the unforgettable “Queen” amongst them all, is the British Museum. Britain’s national museum of archaeology and antiquities was established by an act of Parliament in 1753, when the government purchased three large private collections consisting of books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, paintings, medals, coins, seals, cameos, and natural curiosities. Today, home of approximately seven million objects from all continents, the British museum is considered to be the most popular and famous museum in the world. Located in the Bloomsbury district of London, the British museum’s collections in archaeology and ethnography are particularly outstanding. Being one of London’s principal tourist attractions, the visitor can admire its famous holdings, like the Elgin Marbles, carvings from the Athenian Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone, the Portland Vase, the Benin Bronzes, Egyptian Mummies, and the Chinese ceramics. Its drawings collection holds more than 2,000 drawings constituting the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections. Since it first opened its doors to the public, on January 15, 1759 the museum has been illustrating and documenting the story of human development and culture from its early years to the present day. The British Museum does not charge any admission fees, the exception being some temporary special exhibitions, interested publics from around the globe line up outside its doors waiting to enter its amazing gallery showrooms and admire the plethora of human creations kept in there. But some of its most prestigious holdings, like the Parthenon Marbles and the Benin Bronzes are among its most disputed collections. These collections are the subject of great controversy and political debates since various organizations lobby in favor of their return to their native countries of Greece and Nigeria respectively. But regardless of the harsh criticism, the British Museum has refused to return either collection, arguing that if the British Museum was to return to their original geographical location any of its current possessions that would mean empty rooms for a great many museums around the world. Although critics argue that these artifacts, among others, should now return to their home countries, the British Museum continues to support that it is an appropriate custodian and has the inalienable right over these disputed creations under British law. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that the British Museum is one of the most important London destinations one should not miss visiting when circumstances allow a ride to one of the most famous and interesting capitals in the world. ....read more

London’s Famous Buildings

London
If you’ve never been to London, or have even been there several times, there are points of interest throughout the city that are worth checking out. London is not only rich in history, but offers wonderfully famous buildings. Visiting them during your trip is definitely a must. Perhaps one of the most famous buildings in London is Buckingham Palace. The home of Queen Elizabeth II, it has housed Britain’s sovereigns since 1837. Since then it has evolved from a mere town house that was once owned by the Dukes of Buckingham in the 18th century. Other famous buildings that house London’s royalty are St. James Place, Clarence House, and also Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace was started in 1689 when William and Mary purchased the mansion shortly after their ascension. It was then converted to a royal palace by Sir Christopher Wren. Today half of the building is used for royal apartments while the other half is open to the public. Sir Christopher Wren also designed and built St. Paul’s Cathedral following the Great Fire of 1666. It was left in ruins after the fire and Wren was commissioned to rebuild it by London’s authorities. This building is considered to be Wren’s greatest creation. The Tower of London had originally been built for use as a fortress to keep out hostile Londoners and to survey enemies who approached on the Thames river. Since then is has been used as a palace, library, mint, treasury, bank, arsenal, observatory, and, most famously, a prison. Westminster Abbey isn’t just one of the more beautiful of London’s famous buildings, but it is also the final resting place for some of Britain’s most famous monarchs, the setting for coronations, and also other wonderful pageants. Within its walls visitors can see great examples of London’s medical architecture, as well as an impressive collection of toms and monuments. Westminster Abby is perhaps most well-known for being the site of Princess Diana’s funeral. Completed in 1871, Royal Albert Hall is a beautiful structure that was modelled after Roman amphitheatres. Today the hall is used for both classical concerts and other large gatherings. In 1514, the Archbishop of York, Cardinal Wolsey, started Hampton Court Palace with the intentions of it being a riverside country residence. But in 1535, with the hopes of gaining royal favour, Wolsey offered it to King Henry VIII. As with other famous buildings in London, Sir Christopher Wren once again had a hand in it when he was hired by William and Mary in the 1690′s to create its beautiful baroque landscapes. The No. 10 Downing Street houses Britain’s Prime Minister, who currently is Tony Blair. It began its service to Britain’s Prime Ministers when George II gave it to Sir Robert Walpole in 1732. Lastly is Harrod’s Department Store, and one of London’s most famous buildings. It began in 1849 when Henry Charles Harrod opened a small grocery store. Throughout the years the store’s quality and service has allowed it to expand and become what we know it as today. Of course there are many ....read more
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