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The cathedral of London

St. Paul's Cathedral in London

Christopher Wren's architectural baroque masterpiece stood alone during Nazi air raids, (virtually) untouched by the bombings and fires that ravaged the city.

Captured on newsreel footage, the image of the grand church's survival became a rallying point for Britain's pride and indomitable spirit during the darkest days of World War II.

(Truth be told, however, the pilots of the Blitz were very careful not to bomb St. Paul's, as its dome served as the perfect landmark for their bombing runs.)

This embodiment of stiff British upper lip continues into the crypt, where national heroes such as the Duke of Wellington (who trounced Napoleon at Waterloo) and Lord Nelson are buried, alongside architect Wren, painters Constable and Turner, and adventurer/hero T. E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia).

Less patriotic visitors will enjoy climbing the 365-foot-high dome that glitters with mosaics—or rather, they will enjoy the acoustic effects of the whispering gallery halfway up (murmur against the wall and someone 158 feet away on the opposite side can hear you) and the 360° panorama of London from the top (after 426 steps).

St. Paul's Churchyard, at the end of New Change Street
Tube: St. Paul's
Mon–Sat 8:30am–4pm
tel. 020-7246-8357



Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in May 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.