St Paul’s Cathedral of London!!

On our trips in Europe lucky we have been able to visit several countries and of course England would have been on the list and it was. I have visited many times on business trips but had one visit with the family. One of the nice things to see there is the St Paul’s Cathedral, and like to give you a glimpse. Also, one of my favorite areas of London to hang out when on business trips.

St. Paul’s Cathedral in London is the cathedral of the Diocese of London of the Church of England. It was built after the destruction of the old church during the Great Fire of London in 1666. It crowns Ludgate Hill, a site which housed four shrines before the current cathedral and is located in the City of London, the historic heart of the city that has become today the main business district. It is considered to be the masterpiece of the famous English architect, Sir Christopher Wren. The Dean of Saint Paul is the head of the chapter of Saint Paul Cathedral. He is an important dignitary of the Anglican Church.

London st paul cathedral jul10

A bit of history I like

The first known,church incorporated in the Roman enclosure, was built out of wood, under the reign of Æthelbert, king of Kent. It is this first church which will know in the year 604 the consecration of Mellitus, first bishop of London, by Augustin of Canterbury. It was destroyed by the Vikings in the 9C and rebuilt in 962. The Saxon church was destroyed by fire a second time in 1087 and the construction of a fourth cathedral began almost immediately under the aegis of William the Red (or le Roux French name), son of William the Conqueror (Duke of Normandy, France and then King of England)  to whom he had just succeeded. The “old Saint Paul” as it was called this 4th church was, with its 586 feet (179 m), the third longest cathedral in Europe and its spire reached 164 meters!. It stood on a large area surrounded by walls that followed Creed Lane and Ave Maria Lane to the west, Paternoster Row to the north, Old Change to the east and Carter Lane to the south. This enclosure was then pierced with six gates.

The fifth cathedral was done following the fire of 1666, the reconstruction of an equally impressive cathedral was therefore essential. This task was entrusted to Sir Christopher Wren on July 30, 1669. The first stone was laid on June 21, 1675, the choir opened to the public on December 2, 1697, the last stone crowned the building in 1710. The cathedral of Wren is a mixture of Classical and Baroque architecture.  The study of the dome began in 1685. Wren was inspired by the dome of Michelangelo, designed for the Saint Peter’s basilica in Rome, and also that of Jules Hardouin-Mansart, designed for the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris.

On the west side of the St Paul’s Cathedral are the two clock towers. The northwest tower has space for a clock, which has remained empty. The southwest tower contains four bells. The largest is called “Great Paul”, manufactured in 1881, and was until 2012 the largest bell in Great Britain (16.5 tons). Another bell, called “Great Tom”, rings on time, and also on the announcement of the death of a member of the British royal family, a bishop of London, or a lord mayor of London during his tenure. The last occasion when this bell rang to announce a death was in 2021, for Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The northwest tower contains twelve bells, one of which, called “The Banger”, rings for services at 8h.

An anecdote I like: During the bombing of London in 1940 by the Luftwaffe, Saint Paul’s Cathedral was for Nazis aviation one of the hotspots of the English capital and, therefore, a privileged target for the latter. But on the night of the bombing, while most of the city’s buildings were in flames, the cathedral received only one projectile; the latter only damaged the roof only superficially thanks to the mobilization of civilians who were responsible for putting out the fire caused by the bombs. The next morning, while the city was suffocating because of the event of the previous day, Saint-Paul Cathedral rose, with its immaculate whiteness, above the blackish smokes which rose to the sky. It is partly because of this event that the cathedral has become a strong symbol for Londoners.

The official St Paul’s Cathedral

The London tourist office on St Paul’s Cathedral

There you go folks, can’t missed while visiting London. Even if travel has become more difficult, a must while there. Hope you enjoy St Paul’s Cathedral as as we did. 

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

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