Tag Archives: England

History of Ages Hidden in Westminster Abbey

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The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, most commonly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large church, taht is mostly Gothic. It was built in 1042 by Edward the Confessor and the current church’s construction was strted in 1245 by Henry III. The Abbey is located in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronations, Royal weddings and burial site for English, later British monarchs. The abbey is a Royal Peculiar and briefly held the status of a cathedral from 1540 to 1550.

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Moving back in time?

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October was still pretty green in England

While in London, in October last year, we just had to visit the Westminster Abbey.But before getting there we passed a beautiful park, where birds were flying around, ducks and geese swiming in the water and fat squirrels were chasing each other and food from happy tourists. It was a beautiful Autumn day with sunshine and blue sky. So far. We walked passed theBuckngham Palace and to the Westminster Abbey.

We decided to take an audioguide tour of the church, since the last tour with a real guide had left 10 minutes earlier. The Abbey was closing early that day, bad timing. We walked and walked and walked with the audioguides. We listned to a story about the Abbey, the old kings and queens, war and peace, blood and friendship. We listned about old heros and great scientists. The place is huge, but the history hidden here is even greater.

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Waving flag

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Timeless time at the Big Ben

We walked among memorial places, graves with well recognized names from the history books and in the poets corner.

The place it huge. All the parts started to get mixed up. The Kings, Queens, heroes. The great history of the people here, the country and the church. I think it is fair to visit this place several times, in order to be able to remember just some of the information given here.

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Part of the Abbey

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Entrance to the Westminster Abbey

Burials and old graves

  • Henry III rebuilt the Abbey in honour of the Royal Saint Edward the Confessor whose relics were placed in a shrine in the sanctuary.
  • Henry III himself was interred nearby, as were many of the Plantagenet kings of England, their wives and other relatives.
    Until the death of George II in 1760, most Kings and Queens were buried in the Abbey, some notable exceptions being Edward IV, Henry VIII and Charles I .
  • From the Middle Ages, aristocrats were buried inside chapels.
  • Monks and other people associated with the Abbey were buried in the Cloisters and other areas. One of these was Geoffrey Chaucer.
  • Other poets, writers and musicians were buried or memorialised around Chaucer in what became known as Poets’ Corner.
    Abbey musicians such as Henry Purcell were also buried in their place of work.
  • Other national figures burried in the Abbey started with Admiral Robert Blake in 1657.
  • The practice spread to include generals, admirals, politicians, doctors and scientists such as Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.
  • Another was William Wilberforce, the man who abolished slavery in the United Kingdom and the Plantations.
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Another part of the church, the place is huge.

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Yard inside

Very special Place

Having passed so much history, so many famous names that have changed to course of the history and science, in many cases, is quite special. I liked the tour, I enjoyed the place and its dignity. And yet the seriousness, the dignity and the history weights quite heavy. You are not allowed to take pictures inside. Is it because of the dignity of the place? Is it because of the security? Or maybe it’s because of its age and the facts that many tourists would use flash? I have no idea, but I gon’t have any pictures from the inside.

There were very many tourists here. The place was litterarly crowded and it was low season. I wonder how it looks in June? We walked through the whole Abbey, peeking into the monastery and its gardens and listening to birds there.

On the day we visited Abbey there was supposed to be ceremony of some kind with military veterans. The place closed early, the tourists left and the soldiers arrived. The tourist site made place for seriousness, ceremony and quiet, just as it is supposed to be.

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The Westminster Abbey on the outside

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House of the Parliament next to the Westminster Abbey

Links and Globes

The Westminster Abbey have benn a World Heritage site since 1987. Link: Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margret’s Church.

The site contains of Palace, Abbey and Saint Margret’s Church. We visited only the Abbey. I was thinking about grade two globes, because of so many tourists amd a five, because of the history hidden  here. I finally decided for four globes:

GlobeGlobeGlobeGlobe

//Monika

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The great reminder of ancient times in Stonehenge

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Stonehenge, the circle of stones, it is just it, a stone circle. Nothing special, not much to make such a big fuzz about. Or? Well, it is a stone monument, built in a circle, but it is so much more. Who built it? Why was it built? How was it built? Did the ancient people know something that we don’t know? Why was the secret forgotten?

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Stonehege, great piece of mystery

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How did the ancient do this?

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Our great guide David, who gave us more questions

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in the English county side. Stonehenge is composed of a circular setting of large standing stones set within earthworks. It is at the center of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds. (wikipedia)

Archaeologists believe the stone monument was constructed anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, which makes these monuments over 5000 years old. Amazing! Archaeological evidence found by the Stonehenge Riverside Project in 2008 indicates that Stonehenge could possibly have served as a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. (wikipedia)

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Picture of a model. did it look like this?

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A lonely stone aligns perfectly with the other

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Nice view on a chilly day

We visited it on a chilly autumn day, October 25:th 2012 on a tour from London. We had this wonderful guide David, who told us a lot aout this place and asked even more question. Who made this thing? How was it made? Why was it made? The stones were probably transported from Wales, but how? It’s a long way and 5000 years ago there were no highways nor trucks. How did they get the stones one on top of the other, åerfectly aligned with each other and with the sun. We only see part of the stones, they are dig down in the ground for the stability, how was it done?

Maybe the most intriguing question is how. The stones are huge and they must be heavy. And still they are aligned perfectly with the sun, stones are lifted up on top of other stones and the circle is nice, beautiful and well planned. How was it made? Did the ancients have a secret that we don’t know of?

We left Stonehege amazed. Don’t believe people who say that’s a bunch of stones. They are, but they are also so much more. Go there, see for yourself and breathe and think. how, why and could we do it today?

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See you!

 

Stonehenge became a world heritage in 1986. Link: Stonehenge.

My grade for this site is 4,5 globes, maybe even 5, the mystery, the greatness and the secrets that are hiding here are many and worth it.

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//Monika

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The city of Bath, like a picture

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Bath is a city in the ceremonial county of Somerset in South West England. It is situated 156 km west of London. The city was first established as a spa with the Latin name, Aquae Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”) by the Romans sometime in the AD 60s about 20 years after they had arrived in Britain (AD43), although oral tradition suggests that Bath was known before then. They built baths and a temple on the surrounding hills of Bath in the valley of the River Avon around hot springs.

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All the houses in the whole town look the same. three stories high, same chimneys, same colour

We visited Bath, as we went to London for a few days and decided to take a tour to Stonehenge and Bath. I’ll write about Stonehenge another time. The tour guide, David was a wonderful person. Well educated, knew what he was talking about and did it in a fun, sarcastic and interesting way. He made me want to come back and take another tour with him. And he showed us Bath as well. We cut down lunch at some place in the country and got one more hour in Bath, nice to wonder around, but still plenty of time to see it.

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Cathedral is not really three stories high, but has the same colour as the rest of town

The entire city was rebuilt in 18:th century (I think) by John Wood senior and his son John Wood junior, so all the houses look the same, three stories, white and pretty (well, now more greyish) and exactly the same. If you don’t look on the street signs, you won’t know your location. It’s cute, but a little bit boring. The river Avon is pretty and is well used, there are cute walks and a very nice park next to it. This city didn’t forget the river, that’s good.

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The ancient Roman baths

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Inside the Roman baths, at the entrance

We came there on a rainy day in October. Our guide, David, told us all about it. He pointed out the best places, both to eat scones, and ice cream and few interesting things to do. We visited the Roman baths and the museum and learned about how the place looked back then.

The ancient Roman baths, nowdays a wonderful museum is filled with stories from ancient times, statues, artifacts, rooms, temples, you name it. There is of course the warm water coming up from the depths, where the rich ancient Romans took their baths and planned what place they could invade next. It was not allowed to touch the water, but I did it anyways. It felt warm and nice.

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A statue at the Roman baths, ancient, magnificent, remembering the old days

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Looking over the baths. The water is greenish due to sun light and it’s pleasently warm

After the Baths we went to an old tree, that was planted on July 4:th, 1776. At least so we were told. Do you recognize the date? It was beautiful with its yellow autumn leaves.Majestic, historic and romantic. On a warm sunny day it would be pretty nice to just sit here and contemplate. But I guess that on a day like that there are huge crowds here, so forget loneliness.

After seeing the tree we went to the river and also to a market. River was nice, the market a little bit boring. We saw also a church, quite nice, but not as impressive as Notre Dame, or Westminster Abbey. We also had luch in a small anonymous pie-and-sandwich-place. Nothing special and that made it special indeed.

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Still at the baths, history, museum and ancient, more or less forgotten times

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The old tree planted on July 4:th 1776, Independence Day, at least so we were told

Well, that was Bath. Was I impressed? Well, by the baths yes, by the city? Not really. It’s pretty, it’s historic, that’s it. And don’t go there in summer, it’s crowded with tourists now, I can imagine how it look in July.

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City of cute houses, history, candy stores and ice cream

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We went over the ugly bridge, sso we could look at the pretty one

The City of Bath was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987. Link to the site: City of Bath.

My grade for this site is two globes. I know, it’s little. If I would grade the Roman baths it would be 3,5, but the city can be seen in a short while.

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//Monika

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