St. Paul’s Cathedral is a London landmark and the highest point in the city. It is an Anglican Cathedral and a major London attraction that drives people from all over the world to visit it. So, what are some of the interesting facts about this place? Let’s find out…
It Is The Fourth Church To Sit at That Site.
It dates all the way back to 604 AD. It has three different predecessors. The current cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren. Its first church that was built in 604 AD was dedicated to the apostle Paul. It was however short-lived and damaged repeatedly by fire. It was home to the Bishop of East Saxon. The second cathedral was attacked by the Vikings during periodic invasions that occurred in 962. It was later rebuilt in the same year and burnt down again. The fourth one, often referred to as the Old St Paul, was built in 1087. At that time, the architecture style changed from Romanesque to Gothic. This one took more than 150 years to be completed, and the new gothic quire was added in 1313 making it, at 596 feet, the third longest in the whole of Europe.
Its Dome Is One Of The Largest In The World.
St. Paul’s Cathedral has one of the biggest domes in the world being at 366 feet high. It is reached internally by around five hundred and sixty steps. It is the second largest dome in Europe, with the first being the Rome’s St. Peter’s Cathedral. It has eight arches supporting it and weighs about 66000 tonnes. It has its internal façade decorated by Sir James Thornhill’s frescoes. It also has three galleries namely, the famous Whispering Gallery, The external Stone Gallery, and the Narrow Golden Gallery. From its top, the view of the city is perfect and divine. You will enjoy it.
Martin Luther King Gave A Sermon There.
In 1964, Canon John Collins invited Martin Luther King to speak to a congregation of around 4000 people at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He was not only an activist but also a Baptist minister. He spoke about three different approaches to life in a sermon that is now referred to as “The Three Dimensions to a Complete Life”.
It Has Gorgeous Pieces Of Art That Span Different Art Periods.
The cathedral itself is a work of art that people come to see and admire its magnificence. It also has amazing art pieces that range across different periods. In the year 2010, in the Geometric Staircase, the Anthony Gormley Sculpture Flare II was installed. In 2014, to commemorate the centenary of World War One, Gerry Judah was commissioned to do an installation. In the north choir aisle rests Henry Moore’s 1943 limestone carving of the Mother And Child that is still there today.
The Cathedral’s Architect, Sir Christopher Wren, Was The First To Be Buried Here.
The British Architect was laid to rest in his masterpiece when he died. Above his resting place lies an epitaph that was composed by his son in Latin, which if translated says, “If you seek his monument, look around.” Many key figures have been given this honour since, such as soldiers, artists and intellectuals. An example is Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington.
It Has Captured The Imaginations Of Artists And Filmmakers All Over The World.
St. Paul’s Cathedral has always been a source of artistic inspiration since it was first constructed. This has been depicted in the works of famous artists namely, Signac, Canaletto, and Derain. It has also been featured in numerous movies such as Thor: The Dark World, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Mary Poppins and Star Trek Into The Darkness, among others.
It Has Glorious Bells.
St. Paul’s Cathedral has breathtaking bells. Its two biggest ones have been given names, Great Tom and Great Paul. The latter has not rung for many years and is in need of some fixing up. Great Tom is usually sounded when a royal death has occurred, with the last one being in 2002, for Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. A rare exception was made in 1881 for the assassination of Us President, James Garfield.
Many Famous Figures In Britain Have Been Honoured Here.
Politicians, artists, and humanitarians have been granted some of the highest national honours here. Among them are Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher who had their funeral services there. Others have received celebratory monuments such as William Blake and Sir Alexander Fleming.
St Paul’s Cathedral is only a 10-minute drive from our offices.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is usually open from 8.30 am to 4.30 pm for sightseeing purposes. It is one of the places that you should not miss when visiting London. It sure is a spectacular cathedral that has dominated the London skyline and holds a lot of history. Check out our article on other London attractions, such as Covent Garden.