On our way, we pass through colorful vegetables, fruits, clothing and seafood shops but we didn't stop. Again, we're at the metro that leading us to the Corvisart station, which is our meeting point. At this stage, it was clear that we were going to be very late. We arrived to the station, surprisingly before our friends. We sat on a bench in a small garden nearby the station waiting for them.
After a short time, our friends arrive, smiling, fitted with two scooters. What fun! We walk together - two mothers, and two young ladies, to the 13th quarter. It's a great opportunity for us to get familiar with other less touristic parts of the city, which we probably wouldn't get to know by ourselves. We passed a small-decorated garden in which a local party was being held, and continue to the china town, where we sit down for a snack.
After we recover, we find another beautiful flourishing garden in which the fountain is actually working! After entertaining in the garden, we head to the French National library. The library is located in four giant buildings, making you think about the amount of books that actually may exist there. The foot of the building has a big wooden yard where the girls could freely drive the scooters without any fear. It was almost dark, and we found a restaurant to have dinner. The girls go for the pasta, the mothers took their chances on something more special and at the end, no one gives up for a good desert. Full, tired and happy, we said goodbye to each other and hoped to meet again sometime. One girl and her mother are going right to the parking lot, and the other girl and her mother go to the metro. Good night.
One easy day in Maidstone:
Orientation: Don't expect a lot from Maidstone. No sensational attractions. No famous sites. Just a pleasant town to stroll (or pass) in a rainy day or for a lazy half/full day. The town visit can be combined with a half-day visit in Leeds Castle. I didn't plan to travel to Leeds Castle just because there is no convenient public transportation to/from this site and due to its pricey admission fees...
In this tip I'll provide you with several local points of interest with their accompanying pictures. All of them are in the compact town centre and there's no need for detailed walking instructions...
Archbishops' Palace courtyard - nowadays The Register Office:
The Carriage Museum: Open: Wed. - Sun 12.00 - 16.00. Admission: 1 GBP.
The Museum is located in the Archbishops' Stables, bulit in the 14th century as part of the Archbishops' Palace courtyard opposite the river. The Tyrwhitt-Drake Museum of Carriages is home to a unique collection of horse-drawn vehicles. The collection is the legacy of Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake and viewed as the finest in Europe of its kind. You can spend enjoyable half an hour here.
Maidstone Post Office - 89 Bank Street:
Maidstone Museum & Bentliff Art Gallery:
Free admission. Plenty of exhibits: dinosaurs, a real mummy, the Japan room. Some stuff (local history, pottery, ecology) I found rather boring. Beaware: the museum is not well signposted !
Maidstone Museum - Barbara Villieri - Mistress of Charles II (c. 1660-1674):
Maidstone Museum - Lady Godiva, 1861, John Thomas:
Maidstone Museum - Cloissone Crane - China 1700-1730 - Julius Brenchley Collection:
Maidstone Museum - Print in Japan Gallery - Utagawa Hirashige 1797 - 1858:
Maidstone Museum - Print in Japan Gallery - Katsushika Hokusai - 1760-1849:
Maidstone Museum - Tailboard "Tourist Camera" - George Hare 1865:
I spent two hours strolling around Maidstone centre. Even if it was a rainy day I enjoyed this pleasant town which is kept really well.
Medway River runs in Maidstone centre:
Brenchley Gardens - on the way from Maidstone East railway station to the town centre:
Tip 2: Circular short route from/to Shakespeare House, Henley Road. Duration: 2-3 hours.
Main Attractions: Shakespeare's Birthplace House, Henley Road.
In case we continue our itinerary from the Bancroft Gardens in Tip 1: In Bancroft Gardens head WEST (the Gower Memorial should be on your back). Turn right toward and continue west along Waterside. Turn left onto Bridge St., slight right to stay on Bridge St. The McDonald restaurant should be on your left. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Henley St. Walk 150-160 m. and Shakespeare's Birthplace House, Henley St, will be on your right: the house where William Shakespeare was born and grew up:
The entrance is from the adjacent building - the Shakespeare Centre: A multi-functional building used as a study centre and accommodation for the administrative functions of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, including a library, archive, reading room, exhibition space and conference and office suite. The building, erected in 1962-64, was designed by Laurence Williams of Wood Kendrick and Williams. Prices: Shakespeare Five House Ticket - Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Hall's Croft, Mary Arden's Farm, Nash's House & New Place, Shakespeare's Birthplace: Adult: £24.90, Child: £14.90, Concession: £22.90, Family: £65.00. Shakespeare Birthplace Ticket - Hall's Croft, Nash's House & New Place, Shakespeare's Birthplace (all in SuA city): Adult: £16.50, Child: £9.90, Concession (over 60s, students in full time education and visitors with disabilities): £15.50, Family: £43.00. Quite expensive. You'll decide whether to be or not to be. Opening hours: Spring/Summer/Autumn 2017 - 20 Mar - 29 Oct: 09.00 - 17.00, Winter 2017/Spring 2018 30 Oct - 11 Mar: 10.00 - 16.00. An interesting place of history being kept and with the utmost care and love. The Shakespeare's center comprises a few rooms with artifacts and facts about Shakespeare's plays and lifestyle and an informative film worth seeing. Then you go to visit the house he was born in, full of little details about his life and actors in rooms giving you more information about the way he lived, his family and so on. In the Shakespeare Centre - you'll find information on Shakespeare's era and society: history, culture, religion, daily life and, mostly, Shakespeare plays. In Shakespeare's Childhood House - you'll find insight into Shakespeare's PRIVATE, personal childhood nest. Al in all - allow 45-60 minutes:
The principal public space is the large entrance hall, known as The Room when the building was completed, accessed through a glazed lobby with engraved characters from Shakespeare via the steps from Henley Street. This has marble flooring in contrasting colours, exposed brick walling, and waffle tile ceiling. The space is dominated by an over-life-size sculpture of William Shakespeare by Douglas Wain-Hobson. The statue stands in front of a curved wall which hides cloakrooms:
Shakespeare picture - David Mayhraze (?):
Bust of Shakespeare from 1650:
Sculpture of Shakespeare by Leonty Usov, 2010. The split in the head represents the question "to be or not to be":
Picture of Clopton Bridge from year 1750:
Portrait of Anne Hathway (rep., the original is in the Colgate University, USA), Nethaniel Curzon, 1708:
The first folio published by Shakespeare:
In Shakespeare Centre - there are 250 copies of his tragedies, comedies and stories:
Chronological List of Shakespeare Plays:
Henry VI Part II (1590-1591)
Henry VI Part III (1590-1591)
Henry VI Part I (1591-1592)
Richard III (1592-1593)
The Comedy of Errors (1592-1593)
Titus Andronicus (1593-1594)
The Taming of the Shrew (1593-1594)
The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594-1595)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (1594-1595)
Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595)
Richard II (1595-1596)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595-1596)
King John (1596-1597)
The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597)
Henry IV Part I (1597-1598)
Henry IV Part II (1597-1598)
Much Ado About Nothing (1598-1599)
Henry V (1598-1599)
Julius Caesar (1599-1600)
As You Like It (1599-1600)
Twelfth Night (1599-1600)
The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600-1601)
Troilus and Cressida (1601-1602)
All’s Well That Ends Well (1602-1603)
Measure for Measure (1604-1605)
King Lear (1605-1606)
Antony and Cleopatra (1606-1607)
Timon of Athens (1607-1608)
The Winter’s Tale (1610-1611)
The Tempest (1611-1612)
Henry VIII (1612-1613)
The Two Noble Kinsmen (1612-1613)
The 16th century house is extremely well maintained, there are actors in the house to answer any questions you might have and actors in the gardens reciting lines from Shakespeare's plays. You can request something from any play or sonnet of Shakespeare and the actors can pull something out of their memory hat:
John Shakespeare, William's father made gloves, money purses. John Shakespeare also traded in wool with Europe:
Tang Xiangzu (1550-1616) wrote a poem in China, similar to Romeo and Juliet, called "Penny pavilion":
Don Quixote of the mancha, Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), translated by Thomas Shelton, 1923:
The Birthroom Window: it was traditional for pilgrims to etch their names into the glass as a symbol of their visit. Famous names on the glass: Thomas Carlyle, Walter Scott:
A sculpture: "a noble fool a worthy fool" from the "As You Like It":
Great to see a piece of history in Shakespeare's house and to walk down an historic street. Henley Street has a plethora of gift shops, clothes shops and lifestyle shops, this street is a must for any shopper. Pedestrian zone with vintage and 'Old World' charm. There are more shops at the top of Henley Street past (west to) Shakespeare Birthplace House. This takes you into Windsor Street where you can catch the City Sightseeing tour bus.
In the corner of these two streets (Henley x Windsor) I dined in The One Elm Restaurant: £14.50 for excellent meal of veal meat with vegetables, potatoes and gravy. The service and the food are both fantastic. Very friendly and attentive staff members:
Surrey Quays Circular Walk.
Start: Surrey Quays Station.
End : Surrey Quays Station.
Distance: 12 km.
Orientation: History, nice city views, pure nature, tranquility and striking docks and piers - all in one ticket. In a bright day - I promise you unforgettable places. Greenford Wharf in a clear day - one of the most unexpected gems of London ! The old Surrey Docks area has now been extensively regenerated brilliantly with new buildings, eateries and warehouses. The mix of water, remains of the docklands, boats, tree-lined avenues and walking promenades in these areas - is one of the most beautiful around the globe. The walk is quite long - but extremely pleasant in a clear day. A marvelous day, especially in a cloudless day !!!
Lunch: We recommend that you'll pack sandwiches and wait, patiently, until the end of this long trip. You'll find the Nando's restaurant in the second floor of the Surrey Quays Commercial /Shopping Centre. Otherwise find a bar or restaurant in Rotherhithe. Later, it might be difficult to find an established restaurant...
From Surrey Quays Station turn left and cross the junction continuing on the left-hand side of Lower Road for about 50 metres. Turn left through China Hall Gate into Southwark Park:
Take the left fork on a path that curves around a fenced running track. Swing right at the end of the fence and follow a path near the left edge of the park. Continue until you see a block of flats. Turn right to find a lake on your left. On front of the gallery turn left and continue to follow the lake edge. Continue to the end of the lake, then turn left into the Ada Salter Garden:
Ada Salter, after whom this garden is named, was Britain's first woman Labour mayor. Exit through the gate at the far end of the garden and turn right. Turn right again at the T-junction and cross internal park drive to go down the path opposite. Take the next right, then left to pass in front of a cricket green area. While arriving to a drinking fountain, fork left to arrive at the charming bandstand from the Great Exhibition of 1851:
Continue half-right to the corner of the park. Exit the park through the Paradise Gate and go across the pedestrian crossing. To your far right, at the far side of the roundabout, is the Norwegian Church of St Olav which is hidden behingd the trees (probably, you'll see only the Norwegian flag).
Go forward into King's Stairs Gardens and take the left fork. Facing the children's play area , turn left to take the curving path which joins Fulford Street. Continue to the end of the grassed area and turn left to find a somewhat unexpected view of Tower Bridge, The Shard and the City of London:
Keep close to the river as possible and then turn left along Rotherhithe Street, between refurbished old warehouses. The St Mary’s Church is on your right. You reach the Mayflower pub. The Mayflower was the Pilgrim ship that in 1620 made the historic voyage from England to the New World (America). The ship carried religious emigrants from Holland and a largely non-religious settlers group from London. The Mayflower started its voyage from Rotherhithe.:
Turn right down St Mary Church Street and go right around the front of the church to reach Hope Sufferance Wharf in the heart of Rotherhithe village. In Hope Sufferance Wharf cargoes had checked for duty when landed. Opposite Hope Sufferance Wharf is St Mary’s Burial Ground. Opposite are two buildings: the Engine House on the right and on the left is the Watch House. Next to the Watch House is an 18th century building which once housed a school founded for poor seamen's children. The boy and girl figures show school uniforms of over 200 years ago:
St Mary’s Church was rebuilt in 1714. The church is closed most of the time. When it is open it affords a good view of the handsome interior. Nonetheless interesting is th the church burial ground. The most remarkable grave is of Christopher Jones, the Rotherhithe sea-captain who took the Pilgrim Fathers to America in 1620:
From the church, turn back and walk down Tunnel Road for 50 metres to arrive at the Brunel Museum. The drum-shaped construction marks the position of the shaft for the world's first tunnel to be driven under a navigable river by Marc Brunel and his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The tunnel they built was converted to underground railway use in 1865-9 and now carries the East London Line. The project succeeded after many delays and disasters. It began in 1825. The tunnel was finally opened to pedestrian traffic only in 1843:
Turn left behind the museum, then right to continue along Rotherhithe Street, turning back to the river at Cumberland Wharf opposite Swan Road.On your right you'll see the Winchelsea Court. Do not skip it:
You face, now, the Thames river and the Thames Path. The sculpture here is titled the Sunshine Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket. It depicts the astonishment of a 17th century pilgrim at a boy reading a 1930’s comic, with a dog gazing at him. The pilgrim’s pocket contains an A-Z, dated 1620...:
Continue now between new housing, and the river as far as the circular brick building. This building marks ventilation shafts for the Rotherhithe Road Tunnel:
Return to Rotherhithe Street and cross a bridge, which raised the roadway to allow access to the main entrance of the Surrey Commercial Docks:
Go around a large inlet, still following the river:
The way forward is now blocked by the large bulk of Globe Wharf, a grain warehouse of 1863, which was later used as a rice mill:
Go around this housing project returning to Rotherhithe Street and walking up the other side of the building back to the river. Continue on, accompanied by a line of newly-planted plane trees:
As the Canary Wharf complex comes into view:
Look across the river for the entrance to Limehouse Marina and the Limehouse Basin. This is actually Regent’s Canal Dock and is one of the two exits of London’s canal system into the Thames:
The tower of St Anne Church in Limehouse soon comes into view:
As you cross another inlet, look over to the right for the Lavender Dock pumphouse which controlled the water levels in the Surrey Docks. It is now a museum. Behind this (not visible from here) is Lavender Pond Nature Park. Continue along the riverside, passing a tall obelisk:
Another former warehouse blocks the way. Descend steps to Rotherhithe Street again and turn left, soon arriving outside the Blacksmith’s Arms. 40-50 metres further on, cross to the corner of Acorn Walk. Nelson Engine House and Draw Dock opposite had a carriage by which ships could be drawn out of the Thames for repair. Next door is the elegant mid-18th century Nelson House. Go through the gate and take the forward path away from the river, taking the subway under Salter Road.
You are now in Russia Dock Woodland, formed by the infilling of one of the Surrey Docks. What a contrast to the former parts of our daily trip and other sights of Greater London ! Continue on the main path, and cross the stream and, after 80-100 metres, turn left, recrossing it again. Keep following the stream and bear right around the pond:
Go forward through a gate. Redriff Primary School is on your left. - Redriff being an old name for Rotherhithe. Go around the curve and, just before the bridge, turn right by some large granite blocks. In 40 metres, turn right again towards the mound of Stave Hill (Note: the directions to Stave Hill might be embarassing !). Stave Hill was created by re-excavated spoil from the surrounding area. At the summit, there is a bronze relief model of the Surrey Docks as they existed in 1896. The sights from the top of the mound or hill are impressive:
Avoid exploring the Ecology Park. It will be a long and exhausting walk. Too much for one day... This is a surprisingly extensive area of woodland. Better, continue on and turn right along the base of the hill before ascending steps to the viewpoint on top. Return down the steps and turn left, taking the second of two paths on the right, Stave Hill Path, passing a school on the right. On reaching the open, continue forward for 30 metres, pass through railings and turn left. Continue on a right curve along the main path and cross a bridge to an old quayside which still retains its granite edging blocks. Over the bridge, turn right.
As you approach Redriff Road, bear right through the underpass, then through the barrier to reach Greenland Dock. Turn left, then right by the Moby Dick pub to follow the water’s edge. This dock began life around 1695 as Howland Great Wet Dock, the first of London’s docks south of the river and was renamed Greenland Dock. Gradually, as the whaling trade subsided in the 19th century, general cargo, including timber and grain imports took their place. Timber especially was handled by the Surrey Docks, and four-fifths of London’s timber was unloaded here, coming mainly from Canada and the Baltic. Between the wars, Greenland Dock saw use by 'A' Class Cunard Liners, which plied between here and Canada. Surrey Commercial Docks finally closed in December 1970 and were sold to Southwark Council:
You are now walking back towards the Thames again. Cross over the repositioned Norway Cut Swing Bridge and continue on. Continue to the junction with the Thames, where Canary Wharf has now come back into view. Note the hydraulic capstan which enabled ships to make the tight turn into the lock:
Go back and cross the bridge. Turn right along the opposite side of the Dock for just 30 metres. Turn left through a short stretch of gardens by the Wibbly Wobbly floating pub to arrive opposite South Dock on Rope Street:
Turn right here and continue until Steel Yard Cut, the channel linking the two docks. Once over, turn right, then left, along Greenland Dock again. On reaching the compound, turn left, then right down Rope Street again. Go past the Watersports Centre, then turn right to reach the water again:
The slipway just past here marks the start of the Grand Surrey Canal. The Grand Surrey Canal was intended to link all the way to Portsmouth but only got as far as Peckham before the money ran out! Continue along the remainder of Greenland Dock, at the end turning right to pass under the bridge which carries Redriff Road:
Swing to the left of the end of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre and continue on past bus stands. When the road bends right, go down the ramp and cross Lower Road back to the Surrey Quays Station.
South Bank - the section from London Bridge to north-west Bermondsey:
Start: London Bridge tube station.
End : Bermondsey tube station.
Weather: any weather.
Distance: 5-6 km.
Orientation: The route can be extremely busy, especially at weekends and during the summer months. Watch for cyclists, skateboarders and
rollerbladers. Please be aware of your valuables as pick-pockets,
unfortunately, operate in this area. Note: Bermondsey is quite extensive. A special trip is devoted to this quarter. You can combine this trip with the Rotherhithe section of the "Around Surrey Quays" trip.
From London Bridge station head southeast on London Bridge St. Turn right toward Joiner St and the Shard is on the left (150 m. walk).
The Shard: The Shard is currently the tallest building in the European Union. It is the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower at the Emley Moor transmitting station in West Yorkshire. The pyramidal tower has 72 accommodation floors, with a viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor, at a height of 244.3 m. It was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and replaced the Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in Southwark in 1975. It is jointly owned by a British property company and the State of Qatar. 306 metres, 87-storey skyscraper in London. Part of the London Bridge Quarter development. The Shard's construction began in March 2009, it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012. Practical completion was achieved in November 2012. Its privately operated observation deck, the View from the Shard, opened to the public on 1 February 2013. Following the destruction of the World Trade Center (WTC) in the terror attacks of 11 September 2001, architects and structural engineers worldwide began re-evaluating the design of tall structures. The Shard's early conceptual designs were among the first in the UK to be progressed following the publication of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology report into the collapse of the WTC.
Opening Times: Sunday to Wednesday 10.00 - 19.00 (last entry 17.30), Thursday to Saturday 10.00 - 22.00 (last entry 20.30). All tickets are dated and timed for your arrival, but once at the viewing platforms - no time restriction on your stay. Adult (16+) - Advance (must be booked the day before) 24.95 GBP, Child (4-15) - Advance 18.95 GBP, Adult (16 +) - On the day (subject to availability) 29.95 GBP, Child (4-15) - On the day 23.95 GBP, Infant (0-3) Free. Guests are allowed to bring handheld cameras to take photographs for personal use. It is not possible to bring tripods or other large items of photographic equipment into The View.
The Shard entrance is on Joiner Street which leads to: London Bridge Underground Station (Northern and Jubilee line lines), London Bridge Main Line Station, Tooley Street, St. Thomas Street. There is a bus station outside the main entrance to London Bridge Station. The buses that stop here include: 43, 48, 141, 149, 521.
The Shard offers spectacular views over London for up to 64 km.
In the unlikely event that you can't see at least three of the following landmarks - London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Tower Bridge and One Canada Square - on the day of your visit, The Shard authorities will issue you a ticket to return for free within three months.
Return to the Thames (north and then east). Head west toward London Bridge St and turn right onto London Bridge St. Turn right onto Borough High St. Turn right toward Battle Bridge Ln. Take the stairs. Turn right toward Battle Bridge Ln. Continue straight onto Battle Bridge Ln. The London Bridge City Pier is on your left. You pass the London Bridge Hospital and Hay's Wharf on your right. The Hay's Galleria will be, later, on the right.
BETTER OPTION: return to the Thames and walk along the Thames EASTWARD. Take photos of the north bank.
The skyline of London, along this bank (both of the banks) is changing every month. Pass the London Bridge City Pier on your left.
Walk eastward until you'll see the Hay's Galleria on your right and the H/M Belfast ship (a bit forward) on your left.
Hay's Galleria is named after its original owner, the merchant Alexander Hay, who acquired the property - then a brew house - in 1651. It was converted into a 'wharf', in fact an enclosed dock, in 1856 and it was renamed Hay's Wharf. During the nineteenth century, the wharf was one of the chief delivery points for ships bringing tea to London. In the 1980s, a decision was made to retain the dock and to restore its tea and produce warehouses surrounding it to provide office accommodation and shops. After completion of the plan and opening in 1987, Hays Galleria became the first new visitor attraction of that period on the south of the river. Due to its location on the southern Thames Path, its panoramic views over the City of London from the riverside, and the location between London City Hall and Southwark Cathedral, Hay's Galleria is visited by many tourists and local workers. For twenty years it housed a year-round market The Hays Galleria Market which operated seven days a week.
In a fountain at the centre of the Galleria is a 60 ft moving bronze sculpture of a ship, called 'The Navigators' by sculptor David Kemp, unveiled in 1987 to commemorate the Galleria's shipping heritage:
Almost opposite the Hay's Galleria, in the Thames, is the HMS Belfast. Open daily: 4 November to 20 February 10.00 – 17.00 (last admission 16.00), 21 February to October 10.00 – 18.00 (last admission 17.00). Adults 15.50 GBP, Child (under 16) Free, Concessions (Senior, Student, Disabled) 12.40 GBP. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Built in Belfast in 1936. Anne Chamberlain, wife of the then Prime Minister launched Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 1938. HMS Belfast was commissioned into the Royal Navy on 5 August 1939. Designed for the protection of trade and offensive action she was immediately called into service patrolling the northern waters in efforts to impose a maritime blockade on Germany. However, disaster struck after only two months at sea when HMS Belfast hit a magnetic mine. There were few casualties but the damage to her hull was so severe she was out of action for three years. On rejoining the home fleet in 1942 she was still the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy and most importantly she was equipped with the most advanced radar systems. Most notably in her role during the Battle of North Cape which saw the sinking of the German battle cruiser Scharnhorst and the loss of all but 36 of her 1,963 crew. HMS Belfast remained protecting the arctic convoys until 1944. In this year it took part also in supporting the D-Day landings and reportedly fired one of the first shots on D-Day itself. After the Second World War HMS Belfast played an active role in the Korean War from 1950-1952. Her final years were spent performing peace-keeping duties until she was retired from service in 1963:
Continue eastward along the Thames path and during the 3-5 following minutes you pass, on your right, near the impressive More London Riverside Development. It includes the City Hall, a sunken amphitheatre called The Scoop, office blocks, shops, restaurants, cafes, and a pedestrianized area containing open-air sculptures and water features, including fountains lit by colored lights. The Hilton London Tower Bridge hotel opened in September 2006 is nearby. The area contains many professional, global corporate firms, including Ernst & Young whose headquarters is 1 More London Place, PricewaterhouseCoopers(PWC) at 7 More London Riverside, Hewitt Associates whose European headquarters is 6 More London Place. THIS IS A VERY IMPRESSIVE AREA.
The Shard and 6 More London Place Tower:
More London Riverside Buildings:
The City Hall. Greater London Authority offices. Designed by Sir Norman Foster, is one of the contemporary buildings on the South Bank.The brand new headquarters for London's Mayor and Assembly, a radically-designed glass fronted and rounded building. Based in this building is the Mayor of London and the London Assembly, made up of 25 elected members. The GLA has powers over four strategic areas: transport, policing, economic development, and fire and emergency planning. Power over other areas such as housing and environment is shared with
The Scoop Amphitheatre in More London Riverside. Great place for free theatre and music events in the summer in glorious iconic surroundings:
There are frequently outdoor exhibitions and cultural events in More London, usually associated with City Hall:
The North Bank from Hay's Wharf (in the South Bank):
We recommend that you cross the Tower Bridge to watch its opening. Get to walk FREE along the bridge on both sides to see stunning views of the city. Tower Bridge itself is open for walking across the river at road level. If you check on line you can find out when the bridge is scheduled to be raised and it's worth timing your visit to coincide with it ("Bridge Lift Times"). http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/TBE/EN/.
Tower Bridge Exhibition Opening times: Summer: April - September 10.00 - 18.00 (last admission 17.30), Winter: October - March 09.30 - 17.30 (last admission 17.00). Admission prices: Adults - 9.00 GBP, Child (aged 5-15) 3.90 GBP, Child (under 5) Free, Concessions 6.30 GBP, Family tickets from 14.10 GBP. You move from room to room on your own time. There are small sliding windows for clear picture taking. There is a short film that shows the inception, design, and building of the bridge structure and drawbridge features which are large enough to let cruise ships pass. You can go down into the engine rooms where you can walk around the drawbridge motors and see the mighty engine powered mechanisms that open and close the center spans. The Bridge Experience Tour is not all that great, but it's cheap. Free if you have the London Pass.
Iconic London at its best. It does offer spectacular views and get some great photos from both river banks or from over the bridge. This is a huge tourist attraction and a definite must see for anyone visiting London. The Tower Bridge will provide you with some of your favorite photos from your trip. The view walking across the walkway (glass walls) is unparalleled of the: river Thames, architecture and London's city skyline. It is very majestic close by or from a distance both by day or/and night.
Continue eastward along the Queen's Walk (Thames Path) along the Thames. Head north. Turn right toward Tower Bridge Rd. Turn right onto Tower Bridge Rd. Take the stairs. Turn right. Take the stairs.
The Tower Bridge opens. If you are lucky the bridge will be raised to allow a ship to sail underneath it. Wow, what an experience !
Costs nothing to do this - fabulous views:
City Hall and More London Riverside (South Bank) from the Tower Bridge:
The Shard and More London Riverside from the Tower Bridge:
North Bank from Tower Bridge:
The Tower from the Tower Bridge:
Butler's Wharf from the Tower Bridge:
Worth visiting at night time too when it is all lit up as it looks even better than in daylight:
Continue along the Thames Path, which goes underneath Tower Bridge. Continue eastward along the Queen's Walk (Thames Path) along the Thames. Two minutes further you arrive to Butler's Wharf. Butler's Wharf is used as a term for the surrounding area, now housing luxury flats and restaurants - lying between the picturesque street Shad Thames and the Thames Path. Butler's Wharf is also an English historic building on the south bank of the River Thames. The Butler's Wharf overlooks both the Tower Bridge (in the west) and St Katharine Docks (north) on the other side of the river - the North Bank. Butler's Wharf was built between 1871-73 as a shipping wharf and warehouse complex, accommodating goods unloaded from ships using the port of London. It contained what was reputedly the largest tea warehouse in the world. During the 20th century, Butler's Wharf and other warehouses in the area fell into disuse. Since the 1980s, Butler's Wharf has been transformed from a derelict site into luxury flats, with restaurants and shops. The surrounding area is also today called Shad Thames, or Butler's Wharf (after the largest of the riverside warehouses). Both names refer to a 350m × 250m rectangle of streets, converted warehouses and newer buildings, bounded by the River Thames, Tower Bridge Road, Tooley Street and St Saviour's Dock (or arguably Mill Street); it forms the most north-easterly corner of the SE1 postcode district.
Butler's Wharf, once a riverside warehouse and now luxury apartments:
Continue along the Thames Path, which goes underneath Tower Bridge. Stop on the cobbled street of Shad Thames (south to the Queen's walk), with brick warehouses on either side and small bridges overhead. Step back in time to the 1870s and we would have been in the centre of one of London’s busiest riverside wharves. The iron bridges above us were used for moving goods between warehouses. At its peak, this space would have employed thousands of dock workers like shipwrights, lightermen, riggers and lumpers – all handling untold wealth from every corner of the globe. By the 1960s, containerisation had completely changed the nature of shipping. Places such as Butler’s Wharf were completely unsuited to modern ships and the way that they carried goods. So in 1972 – exactly 99 years after it opened – Butler’s Wharf was closed and left derelict. But some people have an eye for a bargain. In the early 1970s, many of the buildings were bought by property speculators with a view to redevelopment. Their opportunity came in the 1980s when the Conservative government introduced a new form of ‘entrepreneurial urban policy’.
Sculpture and play yard in Shad Thames:
Tower Bridge raised - from Butler's Wharf:
Continue along Shad Thames between the warehouse buildings. When you reach the Design Museum bend right (south) with Shad Thames Street and follow the muddy section of the Thames, between the warehouse buildings (Knights Hose on your left, St. Andrews Wharf on your left, St. Saviours Wharf on your left, Dockhead Wharf on your left).
The Design Museum near the east end of Shad Thames, which houses frequently changing exhibitions of graphic and product design, and is a fairly well known haunt of designers and tourists. As well as an interesting shop and cafe, the museum features the "Design Museum Tank", a large outdoor glass box, which contains a selection of items from the current exhibition. The museum is also used as a venue for corporate events. Unlike most large London museums, the entrance is not free. OPENING HOURS: Daily 10.00 - 17.45, Last admission 17.15. 1 TICKET FOR 3 EXHIBITIONS: 12.40 GBP Adult, 9.30 GBP Student, 6.20 GBP Children under 16 (6-15 inclusive), free entrance to members and children under 6 years old.
Turn LEFT to Jamaica Road (Devon Houses on your right, the Coop store on your right) and then LEFT to Mill Street. (shortcut: continue along the Thames, the Tea Trade Wharf on your right and cross over the bridge/path to Bermondsey):
Walk the whole Mill Street (there is a Concordia Wharf signpost) from south to north (Lloyds Wharf and Unity Wharf on your left, then, again, St. Saviours Wharf on your left, and China Wharf almost in the north end).
The Windmill 6 - 8 Mill Street:
Turn right to Brmondsey Wall Way (Providence Square on your right). We are in the nort-west end of Bermondsey. To the west of Bermondsey lies Southwark, to the east Rotherhithe, and to the south, Walworth and Peckham. To the north is the River Thames. For many years the overground and underground connections of Bermondsey with the City of London were very poor. This was remedied in year 2000 with the opening of Bermondsey tube station on the London Underground's Jubilee Line Extension and the East London Line forms part of the new London Overground system reopening direct links with the City and north London. From Brmondsey Wall Way turn right to George Row and in its end turn left to Jamaica Rd. In the 2nd turn to the right is Bermondsey tube station.
Houses in Bermondsey:
North Bank and St. Katherine Docks from North-West Bermondsey:
The Thames and the City from Bermondsey:
Old Arbat Street:
Attractions: Russian State Library, Alexei Shchusev Museum of Architecture, Morozov's mansion, Mosselprom Building, Arbatskaya Square, Praga-ast restaurant, Church of Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria, House of Burganov, House with the Knights, the fountain "Princess Turandot", the Vakhtangov Theatre, Tsoi Wall, Church of Savior in Peski, Spaso House, Melnikov House, Statue of Bulat Okudzhava, Pushkin Apartment Museum, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Start: Biblioteka Imeni Lenina (Библиоте́ка и́мени Ле́нина), Red Line #1 (Sokolnicheskaya Line) or Aleksandrovskiy Sad (Александровский сад) Line 4, Light Blue line (Filyovskaya Line) or Borovitskaya Metro station, Gray line No. 9 or Arbatskaya Metro station, Dark Blue line No. 3 - which are all part of the same interchange Metro complex.
End: Smolenskaya (Смоленская), Blue Line # 3, Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line.
Note: This itinerary can be combined with the "Moscow - From the Cathedral of Christ the Savior - around the Kremlin walls" route.
Duration: At least 2-3 hours. I don't think this route is a must !
Distance: 5-6 km.
Introduction: A historic area of old Moscow that was once home to artists, bohemians and the elite. The Arbat is considered the oldest of all official pedestrian zones in Moscow. The name of this street, at that time, referred to the vast countryside, first mentioned in 1475. The name Arbat sounds similar to the Arabic word Arbad, meaning suburb. This could be an explanation of the name, since in the 15th century only the Kremlin was considered as the city center and the actual Arbat area was used by the big convoys coming from the east with their goods.
Since the 18th century Arbat and its network of side-alleys became Moscow's most aristocratic and literary neighborhood, and many intelligentsia people wanted to live there. The famous poet Pushkin lived in number 53 with his bride, in the same house where Tchaikovsky stayed for some time.
Arbat is the perfect solution when you need a break from broad streets and massive buildings. Old Arbat has been restored to it's former self-identity. A pedestrian only, wide cobblestone street that has it all: from street artists and booksellers to restaurants ,from the inexpensive to some great eateries. Many souvenir shops, many selling nested 'Russian dolls' from China. Have your portrait painted (the portrait is between 1000-2000 rubles), watch the jugglers, dancers, musicians, artists, poets and singers - or stand and listen to some really talented musicians. Expect for far more from all these attractions - during the weekends.
From the Metro stations complex we head westward along Vozdvizhenka. St. Aleksandrovskiy Sad Mtero station is already at Vozdvizhenka St. and we head westward. Vozdvizhenka starts from Alexander Garden (from the side of Kutafya Tower) and spans until Arbatskaya Square. The Manege Exhibition centre is on our right (and our back) (north-east) and the red Square is on our back. On our left, before we cross Starovagankovskiy pereulok (Староваганьковский пер.), is the Russian State Library (Российская государственная библиотека), ul. Vozdvizhenka, 3/5. (nearest tube stations: ’Arbatskaya’, ’Aleksandrovsky Sad’, ’Borovitskaya’, ’Biblioteka Imeni Lenina’). This is the national library of Russia. It is the largest in the country and the fourth largest in the world for its collection of nearly 18 million books and 43 million items. Publications are available here in 91 of the languages spoken in Russia and 247 foreign languages - the foreign part representing about 29 percent of the entire collection. Founded in 1862. It was named "Lenin State Library of the USSR" from 1925 until it was renamed in 1992 as the Russian State Library. With the library designated by law as a place to hold a "mandatory" copy of every publication issued in Russia - it holds, from 1922 until today at least one copy of every book published in the USSR. Open: MON - FRI: 09.00 - 20.00, SAT: 09.00 –19.00. SUN: closed. It is also closed on last Monday of the month. In front of library stands the monument of Dostoyevsky:
Now, cross Starovagankovskiy pereulok (Староваганьковский пер.) on your left and, immediately on your right (north) is the Alexei Shchusev Museum of Architecture. The mansion on the opposite side was built about the same time by architect Matvei Kazakov. Today it is the Alexei Shchusev Museum of Architecture, ul. Vozdvizhenka, 5/25. Neoclassical mansion packed with graphics & artifacts celebrating Russian architectural history. No permanent collection on display. The focal subject is both Russian and international architecture. Although located no more than 5-10 minutes walk from the Kremlin or the Red Square - this wonderful museum still remains off-the-beaten tourist itinerary. Open weekdays 11.00 – 19.00. Prices: 100 rubles. Note: here, you buy tickets for entry of Melnikov House (frequently closed) (see below), 20 min. walk from this museum:
Continue 220 m. westward along ul. Vozdvizhenka. The Morozov's mansion at No. 16 (opposite, inside the small garden - is the Arbatskaya Metro station and Burger-King branch) on your right (north) will certainly attract your attention with its exotic, Art-Nouveau architecture. This comparatively recent building was erected at the end of the 19th century (1899) for the Moscow merchant family of Morozov. One of the Morozovs was fascinated by medieval Spanish architecture and on returning from a trip to Spain he decided to embody its most typical features in his future house. "The Spanish residence", or the "Moorish Castle" as it was ironically dubbed by Muscovites, has been many things over the years. It reminds, many Iberians, the Pena palace in Sintra, Portugal. Since 1959 it has been the House of Friendship with Peoples of Foreign Countries in the Soviet era. Right now it's called the House of Receptions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Sorry, closed to the public, currently being used as a venue for official receptions - but fascinating for looking from the outside !
A bit further, on your right, BEFORE you arrive to Arbatskaya Square, see the Mosselprom Building, 2/10 Kalashny Side street. Construction started 1912, Completed 1925. Design and construction by Architect Nikolai Strukov. The Mosselprom building (Дом Моссельпрома) is an avantgarde architecture monument and is located in the intersection of: Kalashny, Nizhny Kislovksy and Maly Kislovky side streets. It is notable for its painted panels by the artists Alexander Rodchenko and his wife Varvara Stepanova. The building was originally intended as a seven-story apartment house with restaurant, built in 1912-13 by Strukov; however, it was hastily constructed and collapsed on March 22, 1913. A part of the structure was rebuilt by 1917; in 1923-1925 two more floors were added for storage and offices for Mosselprom, the Moscow Rural Cooperative Administration (Московское управление сельской промысловой кооперации). In the 1930s it was reverted to an apartment building. It was restored in 1997, and it currently houses a branch of the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts:
Opposite the Morozov's mansion ("the Spanish House") there is a small garden - a nice place for rest, drink and sandwiches. You'll find many workers from the banks around - dining there as well. On your left (with your face to Arbatskaya Square), south is the Arbatskaya Metro station (Filyovskaya Line, Line 4, Light Blue line). There are, actually, two “Arbatskaya” metro stations, belonging to “Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya” or “Filevskaya” lines. It resides in the Arbatskaya Square or Arbat Square (Арба́тская пло́щадь) - one of the oldest squares of Moscow, located on the junction of Gogolevsky Boulevard, Znamenka Street and Arbat Gates Square (Bely Gorod).
From ul. Vozdvizhenka - take the subway (tunnel underground) and turn, diagonally LEFT (south-west) to the pedestrians-only Stary Arbat. Do not turn on accident to the right along the noisy New Arbat with its high-rise buildings. On your right WAS the Praga-ast restaurant (БЦ "Смоленский Пассаж", Arbat St, House 2/1. Nowadays - closed. Historic 1870s restaurant, one of the most luxurious in the city in Tsarist times, rebuilt numerous times. In the late 19th and early 20th century was considered the premier dining institution in Moscow. One of the few major restaurants in Moscow in the Soviet era, when dining establishments not run by the state were forbidden. In Soviet times, having lunch in the Prague was considered good form for all visitors and travelers:
we walk along ul. Arbat from north-east to south-west. It is a 2 km. walk along the street - but, side detours will add another 1.5 - 2 km.
Side short detour: if you turn left (south) to Bolshoy Afanasyevsky Lane, Bolshoi Afanasyevskiy Lane, 16 - you will find the beautiful Church of Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria. The old church, is about 500 years, but, the stone building is only about about 200 years. It has 3 wings or sides: one side of facing Sivtsev Vrazhek, second on Filippovskiy perulok and third turns to Bolshoy Afanasievsky.
Following the lane, go to the Moscow State Museum or House of Burganov, Bol. Afanasyevsky per. 15, bldg. 9. Nearest Metro station: Metro station: Kropotkinskaya. Open: everyday 11.00 - 19.00, THU 11.00 - 21.00. Price: 150 RUB. Burganov works are displayed in several interconnected courtyards and houses (“Small Louvre”, “The House of Pegasus”, “Arcades’ of Angel”. In the underground room “Small Louvre” sometimes concerts and lectures are held). The surrounding streets of the Arbat and Khamovniki districts also contain many examples of the artist’s work. You will see several works of this artist traveling along this route. A part of its exhibition, by the way, is clearly visible from the outside, so you can choose either to observe it from a distance or to visit this museum. The museum is absolutely unusual. Impressions of this exhibition are very polarized: people are, either very impressed or very disappointed...
Return to Arbat. Again, we walk along ul. Arbat from north-east to south-west. On your right (a bit behind the Costa Coffee) there is an Art-Noveau building - a mixture of modern and old period architecture:
On your right (north side of Old Arbat) , a bit further - pictures sellers and portraits painters:
On the other side of Arbat street, at No. 19 is the Starbucks and Picolo (PIcola) cafe's with a very intersting modern building behind and a large-scale Soviet-style fresco:
Cross Serebryanyy per. and arrive to the “House with the Knights” or the "Central House of the Actors" at #35/5. Originally, it was designed as an upper-class residence with marble staircase and stained-glass windows. This is an exceptional building with statues of knights and armors. It housed the Ministry of Culture from the 1917 revolution until the beginnibg of the 90's. In 1991 it became Central House of the Actors:
Another 230 m. and we arrive to a famous theatre and fountain. Continue along Old Arbat and pass Malyy Nikolopeskovskiy per. (Малый Николопесковский пер.). Just before arriving to Bolshoy Nikolopeskovskiy per., on your right, you see one of the most long-lasting fountains in Moscow - the fountain "Princess Turandot ". The fountain is located in front of the theater named after E. Vakhtangov in Old Arbat Street # 26 (see below). Despite its popularity the fountain is in perfect condition and it is being restored as soon as possible after vandal raids. The capricious princess became a symbolic figure and the mascot of the theater. The monument looks like a large oval bowl, with a fountain system. At the top of the fountain there is a gold covered throne with a princess Turandot on it. Around the monument there is a long stone bench and at nights it is illuminated. The illumination creates a special romantic atmosphere which attracts loving couples who date on the bench near the monument. The sculptor of the fountain is Alexander Burganov. It was unveiled in 1997, in honor of the 75th anniversary of the premiere of the "Princess Turandot " play. Bourganov built the Turandot Fountain next to the Vakhtangov Theater on the Old Arbat. It represents the heroine of the play which was the signature work of the Vakhtangov Theater in Soviet times. He also built a series of fountains and sculptures in the park of Ukrainisky Boulevard between the Ukraina Hotel and the Kiev Train Station, representing youth and other themes:
The history of the well-known theatre of Moscow, the Vakhtangov Theatre, starts in 1913 when some students have decided to create drama studio and to play according to Stanislavsky's system that became very popular recently. Nobody wanted to help young enthusiasts, but, at last, the administration of young troupe was headed by not less young actor and producer Evgeny Bagrationovich Vakhtangov - Stanislavsky’s student. So, the theatre was established in 1921 by theatre director Yevgeny Vakhtangov, a pupil of the well-known Konstantin Stanislavsky.
The Vakhtangov Theatre is a large colonnaded building, loved by many generations of Muscovites. It has become not only the physical node but also the cultural hub of the central heritage district of Moscow. The numerous lanes that branch out from the main street commemorate the many trailblazers of this famous theatre. The names of these celebrities are inscribed in memorial plaques, embedded on stone monuments, making the atmosphere of this side of Old Arbat even more remarkable. The theatre performs a variety of genres, from classic tragedy to mischievous vaudeville. A typical programme includes imaginative productions of such traditional works such as The Queen of Spades (Pikovaya Dama,) and Anna Karenina, with a particular focus on re-interpreting the psychological motivations of the characters. Theatre shows here are recommended and... pricey:
At #37 (at the intersection of Arbat Street and Krivoarbatsky Lane), before turning right to Spasopeskovskiy per or turning left to Krivoarbatsky Lane (see below), is the Tsoi Wall (Стена Цоя). It is a graffiti-covered wall dedicated to a past and very popular Russian musician Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino. Nowadays, the wall is dirty, neglected and not worth being called an attraction. The wall WAS considered one of Moscow's landmarks. Frequently visited by Tsoi's fans, the wall has become a place to hide a note for a friend or arrange a meeting It is customary for Tsoi's fans to leave a broken lighted cigarette in the special ash plate by the wall. . There are also memory walls of Tsoi in other Russian cities, such as Saint Petersburg, Khabarovsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Sevastopol. The wall was first inscribed on 15 August 1990 with "Viktor Tsoi died today" (Сегодня погиб Виктор Цой) in black. Subsequently someone inscribed a reply: "Tsoi is alive!" (Цой жив!). Later, many other inscriptions were added, including snippets from Kino's songs "Pachka sigaret" ("Pack of Cigarettes") and "Ya ne lyublyu, kogda mne vrut" ("I Don't Like When They Lie to Me"). In 2006 the wall was painted over by the Art Destroy Project members, but the graffiti was restored by Tsoi's fans. In 2009 the Moscow authorities announced plans to renovate the wall, but the plans were met with criticism and were dropped. Another idea, a monument of a barefoot Tsoi, sitting on a motorcycle, was planned to be installed near the wall, but the idea was rejected by local residents and Tsoi's fans:
We make a small detour to Spasopeskovskiy per.:
We turn right from ul. Arbat to Spasopeskovskiy per. (Спасопесковский пер.). Turn right to this lane. At No. 4A (on your right) is the Church of Savior in Peski or the Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour, Peski. You should take a distance to catch up this handsome church with its brown and gold-onion domes:
A bit further in the lane, still on your right, at No. 10 is the Spaso House or or Vtorov’s Mansion. It was originally built in 1913 as the mansion of the textile industrialist Nikolay Vtorov. Externally and internally, Vtorov House was a recreation of an early 1820s upper-class estate, with palladian windows and a perfectly symmetrical floorplan. Work on the house began in April 1913, and by the summer the exterior was nearly completed. Work on the interior continued during the winter of 1913-1914. The house was completed and the Vtorovs moved in shortly before the beginning of World War I in August 1914. In the turbulent months following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Nikolay Vtorov died mysteriously and his family fled Russia. Spaso House was expropriated by the new Soviet government. Spaso House served as a reception house for the All-Russia Central Executive Committee, then as a residence for Soviet diplomats, including Georgi Chicherin, the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs from 1918 to 1930, and Lev Karakhan, who was Chicherin's deputy. It has been (since 1933) the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union. The United States finally established diplomatic relations with Moscow in 1933. Nikita Khrushchev made surprise appearances at the 4th of July receptions at Spaso House in 1954 and 1955. Vice President Richard Nixon stayed at Spaso House when he came to Moscow to open the first large-scale American National Exposition in Sokolniki Park, and dined with Khrushchev at a dinner at Spaso House. On May 26, 1972, President Richard Nixon, Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and Premier Alexei Kosygin used Spaso House as the venue to announce their agreement on the first round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT 1) and on an Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The early 1980s saw a series of turnovers in the Soviet leadership. Vice President George H. W. Bush came to Spaso house three times to attend the funerals of General Secretaries Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. On May 31, 1988, the jazz pianist Dave Brubeck performed in the Spaso House ballroom for President Ronald Reagan and the new Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. The 1991 Fourth of July Reception at Spaso House was not attended by President Gorbachev, but it was attended by Boris Yeltsin, the President of the Russian Federation. A month later, an attempted coup against Gorbachev failed, the Soviet Union collapsed, and Yelstin became the leader of the new Russia. The 1992 Fourth of July Reception was not attended by Boris Yeltsin, but it was attended by Mikhail Gorbachev, who no longer had a job. The occupant of Spaso House, Ambassador Robert Strauss, had a new title; he was the last Ambassador to the Soviet Union and the first Ambassador to the Russian Federation. On March 24, 2002, President George W. Bush also came to Spaso House to commemorate the signing that day of the Moscow Treaty on Strategic Offensive Arms Reductions. Well, this house perfectly reflects all the ups and down in the relations between USSR and USA:
We make a short detour to Melnikov House:
Return to ul. Arbat. With your face to the south and Spasopeskovskiy per. on your back - turn right onto ulitsa Arbat (Арбат/ул. Арбат), 60 m. Turn left onto Krivoarbatskiy per (the Graffiti wall) . (Кривоарбатский пер.), 95 m. The road slights to the right (south-west). At Krivoarbatskiy pereulok, 10 you find the Melnikov House. Konstantin Stepanovich Melnikov (Константин Степанович Мельников), 1890 – 1974, was a Russian avant-garde architect and painter. Melnikov was an independent artist, not bound by the rules of a particular style or artistic group. In the 1930s, Melnikov refused to conform with the rising Stalinist architecture, withdrew from practice and worked as a portrait painter and teacher until the end of his life. The house (and studio) of Konstantin S.Melnikov in Krivoarbatsky Lane is the most famous and believed to be the top of the architect's creative work. Melnikov designed and built the House in the years of his "Golden Period", in 1927-1929. His design has become one of the most famed, innovative and revolutionary architectural experiments and achievements in the history of architecture. The house is constructed as two interlocking cylinders – that employs no internal load-bearing wall. These days Melnikov's House is in jeopardy (due to corrosion which spreads over its construction). Russian Avantgarde Heritage Preservation Foundation endeavors to save the masterpiece and turn the Melnikov's House into a Museum - a step which will safeguard its existence and preservation. To see the house/museum interiors - you must book a guided visit in: tel. +7 495 697 8037. More details: http://muar.ru/en/melnikov-house. Tours are from TUE to SAT, Starting time: 13.00 duration: 1 h 40 min. Prices: adult - 300 rubles, senior people and students - 150 rubles. Tickets have to be bought at the box office of the Schusev State Museum of Architecture (see above):
Return to Arbat street. It is 250 m. walk to our next destination in Arbat. At ul. Arbat #43 we come across the interesting statue of an accomplished Russian artist – poet, writer, musician, novelist and singer-songwriter – by the name of Bulat Okudzhava (Moscow 1924 - Paris 1997). He lived on Arbat Street at no 43; this is where his statue is situated. The monument symbolizes the narrow streets of Moscow praised in the songs by Okudzhava. The singer goes out of the yard toward the dawn. Arches are covered with quotations from his poems that are made in the style of simple yard inscriptions on the walls:
It is 2000 m. walk, further to the west along Arbat, to our next destination in Arbat. We return to Stary Arbat, turn right and continue westward and our next stop is Pushkin Apartment Museum (or: A.S. Pushkin Memorial Apartment in Arbat Street) at #53. The poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) spent his 3 first months of his marriage with Natalia N. Goncharova (From 23 January 1831 to 15 May 1831) in this house. In the 1920s it was used as a residence of the Moskovian Red Army theatre group. The museum "Pushkin memorial flat on Arbat" was opened on 18 February 1986. The exposition occupies the whole 2 floors of the old Arbat house. The halls of the first floor are dedicated to the topic "Pushkin and Moscow". The second floor is occupied by the memorial Pushkin chambers. Limited English explanations. For taking photos - get a permit. The museum is open: WED, FRI - SUN 10.00 - 18.00, admission until 17.30, THU noon - 21.00, ticket office to 20.30. Closed - MON & TUE, the last FRI of the month Price: 120 rubles.
Opposite Pushkin house/museum stands the monument to the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and his wife Natalia Goncharova. It is erected opposite the Arbat house where they used to live for several months. One can see that Natalia was really beautiful woman !
Immediately, after Pushkin Museum there is a Mcdonald's branch (WC inside).
Approaching “Smolenskaya” metro station, we continue westward along ul. Arbat. It is 300 m. walk approx. to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Министерство иностранных дел Российской Федерации, МИД РФ) after turning LEFT from Arbat Street to Smolenskaya Square (32 Smolenskaya-Sennaya Square). The Seven Sisters are a group of seven skyscrapers in Moscow designed in the Stalinist style. Muscovites call them Vysotki or Stalinskie Vysotki (Сталинские высотки), meaning "(Stalin's) high-rises" (or "Stalinist skyscrapers"). They were built from 1947 to 1953 IN Russian Baroque and Gothic styles, and the SAME technology used in building skyscrapers in the USA. The seven are: Hotel Ukraina, Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments, the Kudrinskaya Square Building, the Hotel Leningradskaya, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs main building, the main building of the Moscow State University, and the Red Gates Administrative Building. Several facts: Height 172 m., floors (above ground) - 27, Construction start
1948, Construction end 1953, 114 meters up the main facade is the reinforced concrete CCCP emblem of a hammer and a sickle in the center of two ears of wheat. It covers a surface of 144 square meters, approximately 200 rooms and offices inside the building cover an area of some 65,000 square meters, Included in the building are 18 express lifts, topped with a 20-meter spire, In a sharp contrast to the brown facade, the sculptured bas-relief, white-limestone double entrance surrounds two metal trellis doors, on both sides of the grand entrance are two large obelisks of dark gray stone, the polished black granite floor in the entrance lobby contrasts sharply with the surrounding light marble walls:
The Seven Sisters compared: height and floors:
With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs skyscraper to your right and your face to the north - walk northward along Smolenskaya. Pass Stary Arbat to your right and 300-350 m. further north, along Smolenskaya - you'll see the Smolenskaya Metro station on your right.
Vasilievsky and Petrogradskaya Storona Islands - including St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress:
Main Attractions: University Embankment, sphinxes of Pharaoh Amenhotep III,the Imperial Academy of Arts, Menshikov Palace, Twelve Collegia, Monument to Mikhail Lomonosov, Kunstkamera, the Zoological Museum, the stock exchange, Rostral Columns, Strelka, the Exchange (Birzhevaya) Bridge, Flying Dutchman (Letuchy Gollandets) ship, St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress (Petropavlovskaya Krepost), The Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, Alexander Park, Gorkovskaya (Горьковская) Metro station.
Tip 1: Vasilievsky Island.
Tip 2: Petrogradskaya Island.
Tip 3: Austeria restaurant.
Start: Truda Square (Ploschad Truda) (Площадь Труда). Catch bus line 27 which rides along Nevsky Prospekt (8 stops from ploshchad' Vosstaniya Square) and stops also in Truda Square. Vasilyevsky Island is served by Vasileostrovskaya and Primorskaya stations of St. Petersburg Metro (Line 3 , the Green line). There are also tramway lines.
End: Gorkovskaya (Горьковская) Metro station in Petrogradskaya island.
From Truda Square (see "From Grand Choral Synagogue to the Palace Square" blog) it is 650 m. walk to the Vasilievsky Island via Blagoveshchensky Bridge. Just keep waking northward from the square (to the Neva river direction). Cross the river over the Blagoveshchensky Bridge - having wonderful views of the southern bank of Vasilievsky Island:
Blagoveshchensky Bridge (Благовещенский мост), (formerly, Nikolaev bridge and Lieutenant Schmidt Bridge) was the first bridge across the Neva River. in St. Petersburg. It connects Vasilievsky district (Vasilievsky Island) with the central part of the city. The bridge touches Vasilievsky Island at the Trezini Square slightly beyond the University embankment on the southern bank.
The sight of the bridge during the night hours is marvelous. Blagoveshchensky Bridge as most of Neva river bridges is a bascule bridge and is opened at night during the navigational season for large vessels to pass through. Watching the raising of the bridge, better from SPB mainland side, along one of the the embankments - is one of the great St. Petersburg experiences during the White Nights of June and July:
As we land upon Vasilievsky Island, after crossing the Blagoveshchensky Bridge, we see on our right (east) the University Embankment (Universitetskaya emb) (Университетская набережная). It is 1.2 km. long and it spans between Blagoveshchensky Bridge in the wets to the Palace Bridge in the east. The embankment or promenade (still open for vehicles) is lines with an ensemble of imperial Baroque buildings of the early 18th century, including (from west to east): the Academy of Arts, Menshikov Palace, the Twelve Colleges, the Kunstkamera (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography), Zoological Museum.
The first building, after crossing the bridge is the Academy of Arts. A pier or quay in front of the Academy of Arts building, adorned with two authentic sphinxes of Pharaoh Amenhotep III brought in 1832 from Thebes, Egypt, was designed by Konstantin Thon and built in 1832-1834. The Sphinxes are about 3500 years old. Their faces are portraits of Amenhotep III and the shape of their crowns indicates that Pharaoh Amenhotep III was the ruler of two kingdoms—the Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. The sphinxes weigh about 23 tons each:
One of the Sphinxes and St. Issac's Cathedral in the background:
The Imperial Academy of Arts , 17, Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya, was established at 1757, by Ivan Shuvalov, to train Russian artists in the leading styles and techniques of West-Europe countries and sent its promising students to European capitals for further study. The main architect for the project was Jean-Baptiste Vallin de la Mothe, whom Shuvalov invited from France to become the first professor of architecture at the Academy. De la Mothe was helped by Yury Felten and Alexander Kokorinov, who would become the first Russian professor to teach at the Academy. Training at the academy was virtually required for artists to make successful careers. The academy was abolished in 1918 after the Russian Revolution and was renamed several times. It established free tuition and was financed by the government; students from across the country competed fiercely for its few places annually. In 1947 the national institution was moved to Moscow, and much of its art collection was moved to the Hermitage. The building in St. Petersburg (formerly, Leningrad) had been transformed to the Ilya Repin Leningrad Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (Институт имени Репина), named in honor of one of Russia's foremost realist artists. Since 1991 it has been called the St. Petersburg Institute for Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. Open WED - SUN 11.00 - 18.00. Limited entry to the various halls and museums. Much depends on the person in the main entrance:
The Academy main facade (left: figure of Hercules, right: Flora):
Menshikov Palace, 15, Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya (Меншиковский дворец) is the next attraction to the east of the Academy of Arts and along the University Embankment from west to east. It is called also as Palace of Peter II. The building is painted in ocre-yellow and decorated with beautifully-carved pillars. The palace is one of the first stone buildings erected in SPB. It is also the only private city structure to have survived from the beginning of the 18th century. Today, the palace is a public museum, a branch of the Hermitage Museum. The palace was founded in 1710 as a residence of Saint Petersburg Governor General Alexander Menshikov and built by Italian architects Giovanni Maria Fontana, and, later, German architect Gottfried Johann Schädel. Menshikov was the chief advisor of Peter-the Great and gained a significant wealth during Peter's reign period. On the death of Peter, in 1725, Catherine I was raised to the throne. The placing of her on the throne meant security for Menshikov and his ill-gotten fortune. During Catherine's short reign (February 1725 – May 1727), Menshikov was practically the absolute ruler of Russia. He was the De- facto ruler of Russia for two years. Pushkin in one of his poems alluded to Menshikov as "half-Tsar". The old nobility united to overthrow him, and he was deprived of all his dignities and offices and expelled from the capital. In 1727, Menshikov with his family was exiled to Siberia and his property was confiscated. As part of the State Hermitage, the palace is now used to display some of the museum's vast collection of European and Russian applied art from the early 18th century, as well as contemporaneous sculptures and paintings, all of which blend harmoniously with the beautifully restored interiors. The interiors have preserved to this day the design traditions of that era. The walls of the rich interiors are liberally dressed with marble, and the floors are covered with expensive glued-laminated parquet. Several rooms entirely covered with Dutch (Delft) tiles. The exhibits on display in the museum today are devoted to the history of Russian culture at the beginning of the 18th century. The collection includes rare works of art of the 17th and 18th centuries - including Menshikov's own belongings. Opening hours: daily 10.30 - 18.00. WED - 10.30 - 21.00. Closed: Mondays. Prices: Adults: RUB 300, Students/children: free. Free admission to all visitors on the first Thursday of each month:
The next complex, on your left, along the University Embankment is the Twelve Collegia, or Twelve Colleges (Двeнaдцaть Коллегий). It is the alarge edifice from the Petrine era designed by Domenico Trezzini and Theodor Schwertfeger and built from 1722 to 1744. It is, actually, a Baroque three-storey, red-brick complex of 12 buildings is 400–440 meters long - its facade is along Mendeleevskaya liniyaa. Trezzini's idea was to underline the relative independence of each of the twelve collegia on other one hand, and their close interconnection in the system of state administration, on the other hand. The original design separated the 12 individual buildings. In subsequent restructuring, they would be connected to form the modern complex. The building is built of red bricks topped by stucco decorations in red and white.The buildings were designed to host 12 ministries of Peter-the-Great regime - with its joint facade symbolizing the unity of his reign. The building was planned to have uninterrupted view of Sterelka - and that is the reason it is vertical to the University Embankment. In 1891 the complex was purchased by the State University of St. Petersburg (Lenin studied here !):
Out of the Twelve Collegia stands the charming bronze Monument to Mikhail Lomonosov overlooking the Neva river. This three-meter bronze statue stands also on Mendeleevskaya Liniya between the Twelve Colleges (the main building of St. Petersburg State University) and the Academy of Sciences. Unveiled in 1986 to mark the 275th anniversary of the great scientist, poet, mathematician and father of Russian science. Lomonosov was a member of the Academy for over 20 years and, from 1758 until his death, rector of the Academic University:
250 m. further east - we meet, on our left, the Kunstkamera. It is a Baroque green-blueish building with a top, delicate tower (under restoration in summer 2015). It was built, during the years 1718-1734 by Georg Mattarnoviy. The Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology or the Kunstkamera is the city’s first museum which was founded in 1714 by Peter the Great. Peter the Great ordered Dr. Robert Areskin to move his personal collections and library from Moscow to the new capital and begin creating the first state public museum – the Kunstkamera. The collections, consisting of “fish, reptiles and insects in bottles”, mathematical, physics and chemistry instruments, and also books from the Tsar’s library, were put in Peter’s Summer Palace. For Peter the Great, it was extremely important to create an image of a changing Russia. The emperor had the habit of receiving ambassadors in his museum, and a tour of the museum was part of the visit programme for all important guests. The first public exhibition of the Kunstkamera was opened in 1719 in the “Kikin chambers” – the confiscated home of the disgraced boyar A. Kikin. At this time, it was also decided to build a special building. Peter chose the location for the Kunstkamera himself in the centre of the new capital. This fascinating place is an essential S. Petersburg sight, although not one for the faint-hearted. Think twice about bringing young children here. Yet, the famous babies in bottles make up just a small part of the enormous collection that also encompasses some wonderfully kitsch dioramas exhibiting rare objects and cultural practices from all over the world, and you can easily spend an hour or two picking through these. Ground level - Museums shop, checkroom. Floor 1 - North America, Amazonia, Exhibition "The world of an Object" Japan, Africa. Floor 2 - Middle East and Central Asia,
China, Mongolia, Korea, Indochina, India. Indonesia, First Natural Science Collections of the Kunstkamera. Floor 3 - Mikhail Lomonosov and the Academy of Sciences in the 18th century with a recreation of his study-laboratory, Temporary Exhibition. Floor 4 - First Astronomical observatory of the Academy of Sciences. Floor 5 - Great Gottorp globe, a rotating globe and planetarium all in one. Note: this museum is not wheelchair accessible. Photos and Video - allowed. Opening hours: daily from 11.00 - 19.00, Last admission is at 18.00. Closed: Mondays and the last Tuesday of each month. Price: RUB 250.00. Students/children: RUB 50.00. Admission is free on the third Friday of each month. Many visitors hail this museum as an immensely interesting, fascinating and "don't miss" one. But, others think that the many odd items collected are "non-appetizing and even disgusting" which will turn your stomach, "a museum which needs updating" and "not for delicate people".:
Hold your breath:
The next block along the University Embankment is the Zoological Museum,1-3, Universitetskaya Nabereshnaya. In 1832 the zoological collections were split from the Kunstkamera and in 1896 moved nearby to its present location in the former southern warehouse of the Saint Petersburg Bourse (constructed in 1826-1832). In 1931 the Zoological Institute was established within the Academy of Sciences, which included the museum. The collection was started over 250 years ago, but has only been open to visitors since 1901. Much of the collection consists of stuffed and mounted animals. It was, of course, the custom in 17th and 18th century zoology to simply kill everything and bring it back from foreign places. Its collection has been increased dramatically in recent years due to numerous expeditions throughout Russia, to the Arctic circle, to Antarctica and to the tropics. Opening hours: SAT - THU: 11.00 - 18.00 (winter - 17.00). Closed: Fridays. Prices: Adult: RUB 200, Students/children: RUB 70. Free admission last Thursday of each month (excluding periods of high school holidays). Not suitable for wheelchairs:
The first hall, marine mammals:
The second hall, fishes:
The main attraction, in the main hall, is the enormous skeleton of a blue whale:
The third Hall - a Mammoth skeleton:
This is the world’s only stuffed and mounted adult mammoth:
In the entrance - the monument of Karl Ernst von Baer:
Next eastward we arrive to Birzhevaya Ploschad. On your left an impressive building - the Old Saint Petersburg Stock Exchange (also Bourse) and on your right - the red Rostral Columns. Both, are significant examples of Greek Revival architecture. Designed by French (or Swiss) architect Thomas de Thomon, and inspired by the Greek Temple of Hera at Paestum. The stock exchange, Birzhevaya Ploschad 4, now holds the Naval Museum, was constructed between 1805 and 1810. The Old Stock Exchange was sited to fill the majestic sweep of the Spit (in Russian: Strelka) of Vasilievsky Island, just opposite the Winter Palace on SPB mainland. A monumental sculptural group similar in form to a quadriga featuring Neptune, and symbolizing maritime commerce, is mounted above the portico. Both inside and outside the Bourse, a motif of the semicircle is recurrent. The interior is closed and the whole building is waiting for its new restoration:
The Rostral Columns: on your right, opposite the Stock Exchange (Bourse) building on the Neva, were completed in 1811. The name of the Rostral Columns is derived from the Latin word for a ship's beak, Rostrum. De Thomon, the architect, designed a semicircular overlook with circular ramps descending to a jetty projecting into the river and SPB city mainland. This formal approach, is framed by two rostral columns centered opposite the portico of the Stock Exchange. The Doric columns sit on a granite plinth and are constructed of brick coated with a deep terra cotta red stucco and decorated with bronze anchors and four pairs of bronze ship prows (rostra). At the foot of each column are pairs of imposing marbles sculptures, allegorical figures of mythical gods representing four major rivers in Russia: the Neva, Dnieper, Volga and Volkhov. The Rostral Columns were originally intended to serve as oil-fired navigation beacons in the 1800s , and, originally, were topped by a light in the form of a Greek brazier and lit by oil (on some public holidays gas torches are still lit on them). Originally, the pillars had been put up as memorials of Russia’s victory over Sweden in the Northern War:
The sculpture standing at the foot of one of the Rostral Columns personifies the Neva:
Rostral Columns - Dnieper River god:
Strelka (Strelka Vasilyevskogo ostrova) (Tongue of the Land) is the name of the eastern tip of Vasilievsky island. In 1733 the port of St. Petersburg was set up here. The port grew quickly as trade with Western Europe increased. The columns were built as beacons to guide the constantly growing number of ships during St. Petersburg's long dark nights. In 1885 the port moved to the Gulf of Finland to accommodate larger vessels and increased traffic and the beacons were decommissioned. As we said before - the lamps are still lit on public holidays and during ceremonies. The Strelka also boasts one of the best views in the city: you look left to the Peter and Paul Fortress and right to the Hermitage, the Admiralty and St Isaac's Cathedral. It is highly Popular Place with locals. A lot of new-married couples visit this place and break a bottle of Vodka or Champagne for happiness and good luck. On many evenings there is music being played and people are dancing, especially in the weekends. A great spot for pictures. Try the Strelka also at night for great photos as many buildings in SPB are lit up. The best time for the pictures is the afternoon: In the morning, you have to take them against the sun:
View of the Winter Palace from the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island (Strelka):
View of the SS Peter and Paul Cathedral (see Tip 2 below) from the Spit of Vasilyevsky Island (Strelka):
We shall walk around the Sterelka and choose between two options:
staying in Vasilievsky island and continue along nab Makarova westward. It is quite long walk (approx. 900 m.) from Birzhevoy bridge (most) to Tuchkov most (bridge) along the Makarova street. On our left, on Makarova, the Institute of Russian Literature or Pushkin House ((Пушкинский дом, Pushkinsky Dom). It is an institute affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences (under restoration in summer 2015):
In case you are hungry: turn left in Sredny prospekt (the 5th turn to the left on Makarova) and take the 2nd turn to the right (per. Tuchkov). On your left you finf the Ristorante Villagio: pleasant, comfort chairs, nice decoration, quality food, very polite service, good AC, clean services and medium prices:
We return to the Makarova street (from Tuchkov road - turn right to Sredny prospekt and left to Makarova) and head westward to Tuchkov bridge: the second and west bridge linking Vasilievsky island and Petrogradskaya island. We cross the Neva river over Tuchkov bridge when, on our left, is the Petrovsky Stadium:
It is quite complicated here to find a way eastward. Find the Sportivnaya Metro station walk along the subway (underground pass) and exit at the most eastern tunnel of the station. Head eastward along Dobrolyubova avenue. On your right is the Hospitality Business Centre and a nice fountain. Further east - on your left a church and on your right - Alibra school. The Dobrolyubova avenue is lined (especially, on your left / north) several Art Nouveau buildings:
The Dobrolyubova avenue ends with the quay where the Flying Dutchman warship is standing. Here, we skip to Tip 2.
Main Attractions: Jardins Biovès, Palais de l'Europe, Prom. du Soleil, Musée Jean Cocteau - Collection Severin Wunderman, Menton Old Market, Quai Napoléon III, the Bastion Museum, Quai Gordon Bennett, Quai Bonaparte, Basilique Saint-Michel, Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs, Cimetière du vieux Château, Menton Hotel de Ville, Hotel L'Orient.
Introduction: Menton, the little-known last stop on France's famous coast before you cross into Italy. First of all, its extraordinary setting between mountains and sea. Second, the beaches – a mix of stony and sandy, public and private – are packed in high summer, but, almost deserted - out of season. Third, its micro-climate – said to be warmer than the rest of France. Fourth, its wealth of citrus trees and exotic gardens. Menton is proud of its lemons everywhere. Shops are crammed with lemon products. Menton may not have Saint-Tropez's party people, Cannes' film stars or Monte Carlo's high rollers, but that's what makes the town so appealing. It has buckets of old-fashioned charm.
Short history: The first primitive habitation was grouped around a chateau on the hill of Pépin, west of the current town. In the 13th century the family of Puypin (Podium Pinum) bought the domain from the Genoise family of Vento and built a chateau – that gave birth to the town of Menton. Menton was acquired in 1346 by Grimaldi of Monaco, and remained in their possession until 1848, when it proclaimed itself a Ville Libre and was put under the protection of the King of Sardinia. In 1860, the town voted to become part of France.
Festivals and Events: FEB - MAR - FETE DU CITRON - Lemons Festival, parades, fireworks, fantastic experience in the middle of the winter. MAY (Each SAT) - May Musical Concerts - "Jeunes Artistes Musiciens". AUG - Festival International de Musique de Menton - Chambre Music. DEC - New Year Festival. Brocante - Flea Market: Every FRI, every second SUN - Mail du Bastion. Market days: Daily: Marché du Carei, Promenade du Maréchal Leclerc. SAT: Marché du Bastion, Quai Napoléon III.
Duration: There's enough to see and do in Menton, even for casual touring during non-festival time, that you should plan a couple of days or more. With easy access to several picturesque mountain villages, as well as the easy train connections along the coast, this would be an excellent base for a long stay. We spent, there, ONLY half a day. Our best bet - spend a SPLENDID full day in this charming town.
Orientation: in case you opt spending just half-a-day in Menton - try to choose the second half of the day. It is cooler and the sights (to the east) from the Basilica and Old Castle Cemetery to the sea are gorgeous - when the sun is on your back (west).
Start and End: Gare de Menton
Transportaion: Half-hourly trains connect the whole Riviera from Menton’s two stations; ideal for excursions to Monaco or Nice or for lunch in San-Remo, Italy. Buses run frequently between the Nice airport and Monaco and Menton. Separate bus routes connect Menton with these nearby interior towns and villages: Gorbio; Saint Agnes; Les Cabrolles; Castillon - Sospel; Castellar; Roquebrune-Cap-Martin - Beausoleil - Monaco. The Tourist / Petit Train de Menton has a 30 minute, 7 km tour of the town. Price: 6 euros; kids 3 euros.
The trains from Nice and Monaco bring us to the Gare de Menton, Avenue de la Gare opposite rue Albert 1 er. Head northeast along Avenue de la Gare, 65 m. Continue onto Avenue de la Gare
120 m, turn right onto Avenue de Verdun for 350 m and you face the Jardins Biovès, 7 Avenue de Verdun. It is a a pretty park in the middle of Avenue Boyer with a variety of flowers, shrubs, statues, and shaded benches. Located in the heart of the city opposite the Tourist Office of Menton. These gardens are named after Emile Biovès, mayor of Menton in the late nineteenth century. The night illuminations here is quite magnificent and definitely deserves a visit.
DO NOT MISS THE LEMONS FESTIVAL, every year in February. At Christmas and during the Lemon Festival , the gardens have a special decoration - wherein figurines and decorations are all constructed out of tonnes of lemons. Every year the festival is centered around another theme. In 2016 the main theme was China, Budhaa and the Far East cultures. No use coming to see these gardens between Christmas and mid February. They're all boarded up and full of workmen preparing for the Lemons Festival. The entrance, then, is under admission fee of several euros (around 10 euros !):
Palais de l'Europe, 8 Avenue Boyer is in the opposite (northern bank of the Boyer Avenue. Here resides the Office de Tourisme de Menton. A magnificent building dating back to the beginning of the century, houses an art gallery on the ground floor which is home to the best of contemporary art in this town. Open all year: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday (10.00 - 12.00, 14.00 - 18.00). Prices:
We continue walking south-east until the end of Avenue Boyer with our face to the Casino Barrière Menton. Cross the Prom. du Soleil and approach the seashore - turning LEFT (north-east) along the Promenade du Soleil. One can wander for hours without tiring, always along this wonderful avenue decorated with sumptuous flower beds.
Walking along the promenade - this building is on your left (north):
280 m. north-east from the Casino, still on your left, is Le Royal Westminster Hotel, 28-30 Avenue Félix Faure. It is an old-fashioned hotel, but, with moderate prices and fantastic views of the sea (and sunrises or sunsets):
Here and there - Moorish-style houses along the promenade:
We walk 350 m. further north-east along the promenade du Soleil (and it changes its name to Quai de Monleon) and we see on our left the Musée Jean Cocteau - Collection Severin Wunderman, 2 Quai de Monleon. THERE ARE TWO MUSEUMS OF JEAN COCTEAU in Menton. This is the newer one (the second and the older is the Bastion Museum - see below). A terrific building. Beautiful building with extraordinary architecture. Writer (Les Enfants Terribles,1929), artist, poet, painter, designer,producer, actor, publicist and film director (drew inspiration from filmmaker René Clair) Jean Cocteau was one of the most influential creative figures in the Parisian avant-garde between the two World Wars. Jean Cocteau was born on July 5, 1889, in Maisons-Laffitte, France. He spent most of his life in Paris, where he became part of the artistic avant-garde and was known for his variety of accomplishments. Over a 50-year career, he wrote poetry, novels and plays; created illustrations, paintings and other art objects; and directed influential films, including: Le Sang d'un Poète (The Blood of a Poet), The Beauty and the Beast, Les Parents Terribles and Orpheus. He died on October 11, 1963. THe museum collection illustrates the many varied, and often extraordinary, facets of Jean Cocteau and how he used his range of artistic talents to create and design over his lifetime. OPen everyday (except of Tuesdays) 10.00 - 18.00. The ticket price of 8 euros covers entry to both museums (also entrance to the nearby older museum/branch of Cocteau):
A few steps further east along Quai de Monleon (behind the Jean Cocteau - Collection Severin Wunderman courtyard) - you find the
Menton Old Market (Marche'). A covered (disused) market. A stunning complex. A gloriously dilapidated Belle Epoque structure built in 1898 by famed local architect Adrien Rey.
We return to Jean Cocteau - Collection Severin Wunderman and continue walking eastward along Quai de Monleon. Its continuation is the Quai Napoléon III. Here is, actually, the Old Port of Menton. From the Quai Napoléon III - you can see the harbour of Menton, with the Basilica of Saint-Michel beyond:
Quai de Monleon meets Quai Napoléon III in a square and, here, stands the Bastion Museum - the second (and the older) branch of Cocteau Museum. Open everyday (except Tuesdays) 10.00 - 12.00, 14.00 - 18.00. PRice: 3 euros. The Bastion, a small 17th-c for was converted by Jean Cocteau into an exhibition place for his work, including drawings, paintings and tapestries. The building of the museum is a part of Menton walls and faces the Old Port (Bastion du Vieux Port). The Bastion is illuminated at night. The Bastion was built in the 17th century by Honoré II, Prince of Monaco. Jean Cocteau restored the bastion himself, decorating the alcoves, reception hall and outer walls with mosaics made from pebbles. The Bastion Museum opened in 1966, three years after Cocteau's death. A new exhibition of Cocteau's work is installed in the Bastion every year.
We change our direction of walking and turn northward along Quai Gordon Bennett (which continues further north as Promenade de la Mer). Both of these routes start at the Bastion Square (south) and end at the Victoria Square (north) (between the beaches of Sablettes and the Bastion). Both of these ways are under construction (summer 2015) and it is a new traffic scheme. The views to your right (east and north-east) are stunning: marvelous port/marina and the Maritime-Alps mountains in the background:
We turn left to the Menton Old Town in Quai Bonaparte, pass a small park on our left and we head westward along the elongated Place du Cap. On our right and left small shops and splendid shopping (pedestrian only) centre. Try to taste the ice-cream in Le Cafe du Vieux Port:
Turn and climb RIGHT (north) to Rue de Logettes. On your left a beautiful pottery and flowers shop:
Follow the signs of "Basilique St. Michel". On our way we pass the Place des Logettes:
Turn right and walk under the ancient arch to Rampe St.Michel - very narrow and quaint street. Here, you start a scenic ascending staircase:
From here you get a nice view to the port (Menton Vieux Port) and the Garavan beach. You can see, even, far across to Italy:
Further up (now very close to the Cathedral) - a stunning view of the shore strip with the old, persimmon and orange-colored houses in this ancient part of the town:
The ascent through the series of flights of stairs to the “Basilique Saint-Michel” is a wonderful experience. A rare jewel of Baroque art. It's a landmark on the Menton skyline and it is illuminated every night. More than 100,000 tourists come to see the site every year. Even before you see and enter the magnificent Basilica - the extensive courtyard ("parvis") which is in front of it is a unique sight. The more you ascend and approach the church - the more grandiose are the sights. There is also (on your left) a welcome fountain with drinkable water just outside the church, which you will need before continuing the climb up to the old monastery and cemetery (see below):
The "Festival de Musique de Menton" existing since 66 years, is one of the major cultural events in South of France and it takes palce on the square in front of St. Michel's Basilica. During two weeks, every August, the square becomes the main stage of the musical festival. The illumination of the church, which you can see all year, is fantastic. The view on the sea is stunning. In case of bad weather the concerts take place in the church interiors. Additionally, St Michel, Menton's own saint, is celebrated on the last Sunday of September every year:
The construction of the Basilica begun in 1640 under the reign of Honoré II, but took several centuries to be completed. The first stone was, even, laid on May 27, 1619. But because of financial difficulties it wasn't completed until year 1653. The façade was then renovated in the 19th Century adding typical decor of the period such as smooth columns with ionic and Corinthian capitals.
The church interior is beautiful in a rustic way. Inside the decoration is impressive with a vaulted painted ceiling. The numerous side chapels are also worth examination. Brochures in a variety of languages explain some about the Basilica's treasures. Absolutely amazing with special religious, serene spirit inside. Note: there is no signage giving days or times of when the church is open. You can be sure that on Sundays' mornings it is open...:
A little further on in the Place de la Conception, La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs (White Penitents Chapel), from the 17th century, is even more extraordinary and offers a more ornate façade : pinnacles, friezes, garlands of flowers. It was built between 1680 and 1687 in the neighborhood of the "Capitol" on land outside the walls of the medieval city and offered by the Prince Louis the 1st and the local family Monléon. It was completely renovated and transformed in year 1987:
With our face to the two churches - we turn right (without stairs) in a steep climb to the Montee du Souvenir. During our climb - turn your head backward to see the tops of our two churches (just visited):
After climbing 300 m. we see, on our right, the entrance to the Cimetière du vieux Château. The Cemetery of the old castle is just above the Basilica Saint Michel and its impressive square. There are spectacular views of Menton, the Roqueburne range of mountains, the Italian seashore and the sea from this cemetery. Opening hours: 7.00 - 20.00 MAY-SEP, 7.00 - 18.00 OCT-APR. Until the 19th century - the deads were buried in the Saint Michel Basilica and its adjacent church (or in a special site west to the Basilica square). from 1807 the land around a neglected castle on top of the hill, overlooking Menton, was acquired for the burial place of the town citizens.
From the cemetery - we take the western path/road of Traverse Montee du Souvenir:
We connect with the Rue de la Conception and descend down through several flights of stairs (passing the La Chapelle des Pénitents-Blancs on our left):
We continue in the same direction (west) along Rue de la République and on our left we see the Menton Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) (Mairie):
In the end of Rue de la Republique - Hotel L'Orient (or Grand Hotel d'Orient). If you have the chance to enter these premises - you'll see unbelievable sights of a spectacular site and complex of the Belle Epoque:
Head west on Rue de la République toward Rue Max Barel, 200 m. Slight right onto Rue Partouneaux, 280 m. Turn right onto Avenue de Verdun,
150 m. Slight left to stay on Avenue de Verdun, 25 m. Turn left onto Avenue de la Gare, 120 m. Slight right, 70 m. and we end our short visit in Menton in the GARE DE MENTON.
---------------------------- Tip 2-----------------------------------------------
Tip 2: Salisbury.
Main attractions: Guildhall Square, the Guildhall, Tourist Information Center, John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House, Hall of John Halle, North Gate, Mompesson House, Arundells, Salisbury Cathedral, Queen Elizabeth Gardens, Town Path, Old Mill Harnham.
Start: Market Place / Guildhall Square. End: Salisbury Railway Station. Distance: 7-8 km. Duration: 1/2 day. Weather: avoid rainy or windy day. Part of this route is under the Salisbury Cathedral sheltered roof and spires.
About half an hours drive from Stonehenge is the city Salisbury (pronounced Soulz bury). Salisbury is a beautiful Cathedral town, with a lively downtown. They have markets during the week on the Market Square. There are lots of shops and restaurants in the downtown area. There are also several parks and walking trails to the countryside. It's a sweet little place with lots of cute old buildings. Salisbury has been an important site throughout human history. Over 5,000 years ago, Neolithic man was dragging huge stones, weighing up to 55 tons from Wales to Salisbury to build Stonehenge (see Tip 1 above). The area was a huge settlement and is surrounded by ancient burial mounds and historical artifacts. We just explored Stonehenge, which is impressive and still one of the most important historical sites in human history, But, Salisbury itself, is even more impressive. Beautifully preserved, this picturesque English country town offers a lot to see. Salisbury is one of very few towns in the UK which were never bombed during WW2. The Germans were under strict orders not to damage it. The city has been immaculately preserved. Around the city, one can see Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Victorian-style homes all meshed with tiny streets. The town market square is very well preserved, and outdoor cafes line the area.
Salisbury Itinerary (1/2 day): Leave the bus at the Guildhall Square / The Market Place:
Do not miss, near the City Council or Guildhall, the Gilbert the Dragon. The flower dragon has been part of summer in Salisbury since 1999 and is maintained by Salisbury City Council. Gilbert is a 1.5 tonnes structure, made up of a wide variety of colourful bedding plants and features a crown on his stomach to celebrate The Queen’s 90th Birthday:
The Guildhall today is the fourth such building within the City of Salisbury. The new Guildhall was built on the site of the three old ones. Alterations were then made to the building in 1829 which included the addition of the Grand Jury Room, extensions to the courts and new accommodation for the judges. Since 1835 the building has been under the control of local government and is now managed by Salisbury City Council. In 2010-2011 there was a further major refurbishment. Changes were made to improve public access to the building, to bring further rooms into public use and to do necessary maintenance and repairs. Following this refurbishment, the building became the home of Salisbury City Council, with offices in the upper floors and council meetings held in the principal rooms.
Try to have a glance at the council rooms. Open: 09.00- 17.00, MON-FRI.
Grand Jury Hall:
The Oak Court:
We take the Queen Street, in the eastern side of the Guildhall Square. With our face to the south - we turn right to the Fish Row (pedestrians only road). On our right is the Tourist Information Office. The Salisbury Tourist Information Center occupies one of the medieval houses on Fish Row. It is located behind the honorable Guildhall in the Market Place. The building was one of many on the east side of the Market Place that housed fishmonger shops in the 14th century. It is a two–story stone structure with arched openings on the first story and tall rectangular windows on the second story. The Tourist Office is just off the Market Square on Fish Row. You can purchase the detailed Visitor's Guide for £1.00. This has a detailed list of accommodations, restaurants, sights, and shops. They can also give you a local map showing walking routes in town and in the surrounding countryside:
Opposite - the Cross Keys House or John a' Port's House & William Russel’s House with its pretty windows and facade, It is regarded as the oldest buildings in Salisbury. They are, actually, twinned timber-framed buildings with pointed roofs. John a’Port’s House was constructed in 1425 by Salisbury's mayor John a’Port. William Russel’s house was built in 1306 but appears newer because of its false facade. Both houses have remarkable interiors with dark beams, fireplaces, chiseled stairs and Elizabethan paneling. The buildings were refurbished in 1930, and they now house a specialty china shop:
Before you turn left from Queen Street to Fish Row, continue a bit southward along Queen Street to find Nando's restaurant, 1-3 Milford Street, on your left (intersection with Milford and New Canal streets.
Head west on Fish Row, 25 m. Turn left toward New Canal, 35 m. You see on your left the Odeon Cinema or Hall of John Halle. John Halle, a merchant and mayor of Salisbury, was the first owner of this house, which was built in 1470. The building, which now serves as the Odeon Cinema, is quite out of the ordinary. Its facade and foyer were designed in the Tudor style and date back to the 15th century. Its medieval interior has a fireplace with John Halle’s coat of arms, leaded windows, tall arched ceilings and walls decorated with pikes and armor. Even though the building now is home to a modern cinema, it has maintained its medieval charm:
We return to Fish Row and continue westward. The road changes to Butcher Row. It ends (the west side) in the Poultry Cross. The Poultry Cross is a market cross marking the site of former markets. Constructed in the 14th century and modified in the 18th century it stands at the junction of Silver Street and Minster Street. It has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed structure. The Poultry Cross is the only one remaining of four market crosses that once stood in Salisbury. The others were the Cheese Cross in the present Cheese market area, Barnard's Cross (livestock) at the junction of Barnard Street and Culver Street and another which designated a market for wool and yarn at the east end of the present Market Place near the War Memorial. The presence of a market cross on the Poultry Cross site dates to 1307 and the name to about a century later. The present stone structure was built in the late 15th century. The original flying buttresses were removed in 1711, as can be seen in the painting of 1800 by JMW Turner; the present buttresses date from 1852–4, when the upper parts of the cross were rebuilt to the designs of the architect Owen Browne Carter.(cited from Wikipedia). The present day site is used as part of Salisbury Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays:
With our face to the west - we continue along Silver Street. But, before continuing, turn right to the beginning of Minster Street - to see a collection of old houses from year 1817:
In the intersection of Silver Street (west), Bridge Street (east) and High Street (south) - we turn LEFT (south) to the High Street:
We walk along the High Street with our face to the south. Near H/S #49 we see, in front of us the North Gate. The gate was built between 1327 and 1342. The High Street or North Gate is the main point of entry into the Cathedral Close. It housed the small lock-up jail for those convicted of crimes inside the Cathedral Close. Beside the gate stands the Porters Lodge. The post of porter to the Close was a much sought-after by the servants of kings and nobles in the middle ages. Note the two-storey building over and around the north entrance to the Cathedral Close:
Roly's Fudge Pantry near the North Gate:
Note the two-storey building over and around the north entrance to the Cathedral Close:
On our right a marvelous collection of houses from the 16th-18th centuries, a green space and white-washed sculpture. One of these houses is the Mompesson House, Choristers' Green, The Close Salisbury: Town house built for Sir Thomas Mompesson, 17/18th century MP, now a historical exhibit. The building was constructed for Sir Thomas Mompesson, MP in 1679, 1695 and 1701. The house reflects the classic Queen Anne style of that period. To the right of the main house stands the brick built service building which was constructed on the site of the old Eagle Inn that closed in 1625. Thomas's son Charles completed the building in 1701, his initials and date can be seen on the heads of the water downpipes. The Townsend family occupied the house from 1846 to 1939. The Bishop of Salisbury, Neville Lovett, lived there from 1942-46. Closed during the winter. Open: MAR-NOV, SAT–WED: 11.00 - 17.00, last admission 16.30:
Further south, still along the High Street, is The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum, The Wardrobe, 58, The Close: 1,200 items from the Berkshire & Wiltshire Regiment exhibited in a restored, historical residence. Open: FEB: MON-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Sundays. MAR-OCT: MON-SAT, including public holidays: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Sundays. NOV: TUE-SAT: 10.00 - 17.00. Closed on Sundays and Mondays. The military Museum is closed throughout December and January. Price: adult - £5, concessions - £4. Very interesting, atmospheric building and gardens. A plus is that the museum comes with a Tea Room and beautiful gardens. On June 2016 there was a special (and very moving) exhibition of "100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme" (1st July 1916 - 18 November 1916):
Next door is Arundells: the home of former Prime Minister Sir Edward (Ted) Heath from 1985–2005. A wonderful insight into the world of perhaps the last traditional, old-fashioned England PM of the 20th century. A treasure trove of personal memories. Packed with interesting paintings, sculptures, cartoons and photos of Mr. Heath and its period:
The Salisbury Cathedral is opposite (east) to the museum. Salisbury Cathedral has the tallest church spire in Britain, the oldest clock in the world, and at the moment the best copy of the Magna Carta. This is a wonderful place to visit. Allow between 1.5 - 2 hours for your visit but you can see most of the highlights in 45 minutes if you are really pressed for time.
The Salisbury Cathedral was originally located on Old Sarum (built in the 1000s), but was built in the current location from 1220 to 1258. The cathedral exterior is one of the finest medieval churches in England. Its impressive architectural style in Early English Gothic was possible because it was built in just 38 years (1220-1258). The tower and spire were added after more than 50 years. The spire is the tallest in England. The Cathedral is massive. You can see the spire from miles away. The Cathedral is surrounded by large lawns and trees. This gives the Cathedral the space that is needed to see it. The outside is covered in many stone carvings. Inside it seems very long and narrow, with very high ceilings. This grand structure with its elegant and imposing spire (Britain’s tallest) has inspired many artists, John Constable being the foremost among them. As the Cathedral Church of the Salisbury diocese, it is the Mother Church of several hundred parishes in Wiltshire and Dorset. In 2008, the cathedral celebrated the 750th anniversary of its consecration in 1258.
Salisbury Cathedral West Front:
Salisbury Cathedral North Front:
During summer 2016 there’ was a monumental treat in store for visitors to the Cathedral, who encountered an impressive exhibition by internationally renowned sculptor Sophie Ryder. Life-sized Minotaurs and Lady Hares could be seen the Cathedral lawn and in the cloisters. An high arch formed by massive clasped hands and called The Kiss loomed on the Cathedral’s North side:
Salisbury Cathedral park - Rabbit Dog sculpture - Sophie Ryder:
West Front - Rabbits-Dogs and Horse - sculpture by Sophie Ryder:
Sophie Ryder - the Dancing Girls:
The interior is stunning with wonderful stained glass windows. The entrance is FREE. Salisbury Cathedral is unique with its tall and narrow nave. It is equipped with light grey walls and dark marbled columns. It has tall arcade and open gallery. Spread between the pillars are notable tombs such as that of William Longespée, half brother of King John and the illegitimate son of Henry II, who was the first person to be buried in the cathedral:
The Trinity Chapel is at the eastern end of the cathedral. The Trinity Chapel has fantastic stained glass windows, which are quite inspiring. These windows can bee seen all from the other end of the cathedral, near the entrance. They form a dramatic backdrop to the choir stalls of the cathedral, with the vaulted roof arches receding in the other direction:
Another chapel with stunning stained-glass windows is the Martin of Tours Chapel (or Morning Chapel:
Other wonderful windows can be found in the side Chapel of Edmund And Thomas:
I recommend you take in the breathtaking views of our tower tour. Scheduled and guided tours are every hour (every two hours in the winter) from 11.15 until 14.15. Tower tours are limited to 12 people per tour. You can view all available tour times on the cathedral web site: http://www.salisburycathedral.org.uk/visit-tower-tours/tower-tour-times-and-booking
During the summer months, you can admire the Cathedral's medieval architecture from across the lawns of the Close from the Bell Tower Tea Room or from the Refectory while enjoying a selection of sandwiches and homemade cakes. Salisbury Cathedral's Refectory Restaurant and Bell Tower Tea Rooms offer a wide range of tasty options to suit all tastes and ages. The Refectory, set within the Cathedral with stunning views of the spire through its glass roof, is open all year round.
Salisbury Cathedral Choir sing alternate daily Evensong and Sunday Matins throughout the school year. The evensongs can be a wonderful experience. Get there pretty earlier - because the choir stalls fill very quickly. When the Choral Evensong began, encompassing the whole place with a soft music, lifting the soul. I felt It was like being carried on the wings of an angel, filled with peace. The choir stalls have 13th century woodwork with beautiful carvings of angels and animals. They also have a special type of seat, called a "misericord", which allows someone to look as if they are standing, but they are really leaning back on a small seat. These pull down to be the regular seats:
The cathedral also has the largest cloister in Britain, with a great beautiful tree in the middle of it. The Cloister(s), just outside the Chapter House, is (are) hauntingly beautiful. These were also built in the 1200s and enclose a small graveyard. The cloister looks splendid with arcades all around. Added in the late 13th century, it is a rectangular open space surrounded by covered walks. With open arcades on the inner side running along the walls of buildings, it forms a courtyard. This place looks ideal for the cloistered lives of the monks. In the adjacent Chapter House resides the Magna Carta hall.
You cannot miss the best out of the four copies of the Magna Carta which lives in this cathedral, in the Chapter House or Magna Carta Hall. The chapter house is notable for its octagonal shape, slender central pillar and decorative medieval frieze. It was redecorated in 1855-9 by William Burges. The chapter house also displays the best-preserved of the four surviving original copies of Magna Carta. This copy came to Salisbury because Elias of Dereham, who was present at Runnymede in 1215, was given the task of distributing some of the original copies. Elias later became a canon of Salisbury and supervised the construction of the cathedral. The MC copy dates back to 1215 ! The Magna Carta is the first bill of rights in the world. I just think it's incredible that we are able to see something from eight hundred years ago. You're not allowed to take photos of it, but I took a photo of it. Price: adult - £7.50, concessions - £6.50. You can try to convince the check-in person to allow you entering the Magna Carta Hall with your all-inclusive Stonehenge Tour ticket:
A special Biblical frieze circles the interior of the Chapter House above the stalls and depicts scenes and stories from the books of Genesis and Exodus, including Adam and Eve, Noah, the Tower of Babel, and Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Magna Carta Hall - Part of a frieze in the Magna Carta hall depicting Joseph being imprisoned (carved scenes from the Bible):
Part of a frieze in the Magna Carta hall depicting Adam and Eve in Paradise (carved scenes from the Bible):
Building Babel Tower:
Jacob and rachel:
Crossing the Red Sea:
Tens of burials reside in the cathedral. Among the people buried in the cathedral, the most famous is probably Sir Edward Heath (1916–2005), who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974 and as a member of parliament from 1950 to 2001, and who lived in the Cathedral Close for the last twenty years of his life:
Another burials is the monument of an alabaster knight wearing Milanese armour which is dedicated to Robert Hungerford, Lord Moleyns and 3rd Baron Hungerford (1431–1464). Hungerford was opposed to Richard Duke of York's rebellion in 1452. Later in the year he went to Aquitaine with the Earl of Shrewsbury. Captured by the French whilst attempting to relieve the seige of Châtillon in 1453, he remained a prisoner until 1459. He was a strong supporter of Henry VI during the Wars of the Roses. His effigy shows him wearing the Collar of Esses of the Lancastrian party. He held the garrison at the Tower of London against the Yorkist besiegers, until the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Northampton 1460, after which he was allowed to leave with Lord Scales. Shortley afterwards he left England to travel in Italy but returned in early 1461 where he took part in the Battle of Townton, and subsequently fled to Scotland with Henry VI and Queen Marguerite of Anjou. He was captured following the Lancastrian defeat at the Battle of Hexham in 1464 and was executed at Newcastle on the 18th of May 1464:
Inside the cathedral interiors - you can find a charming mixture of ancient, ols and new. There are also inside more sculptures of Sophie Ryder.
La Famiglia: Minotaur and Lady Hare lie with family of dogs - Sophie Ryder:
Another sculpture of Sophie Ryder: Girl with a Dog on Shoulder:
Sophie Ryder - Mother and Child:
DO NOT MISS the wonderful wire sculpture of Sophie Ryder - Sitting Horse with Child:
The medieval clock looked like half a dozen wheels assembled together with some pulleys and weights. The clock has no face because all clocks of that date rang out the hours on a bell. It was originally located in a bell tower and when it was demolished, the clock was shifted to the Cathedral Tower. The clock was then placed in storage and forgotten until it was discovered in 1929, in an attic of the cathedral. It was repaired and restored to working order in 1956. Again in 2007, remedial work and repairs were carried out. Its unappealing look certainly eclipsed its impressive background. This is the oldest clock in the world, it doesn't have a face but it dates about 1386 and still works - by ringing a bell on the hour every hour!
The last highlight of the cathedral and, I must say, a breathtaking one, is the font by William Pye which is worth the visit alone. The Cross-shaped font is made of bronze with purbeck stone. A four corned sculpture with water on the top surface that looks like a mirror, giving a fantastic reflection of the interior, and just pouring over each corner. An unbelievable masterpiece of art: Water is the predominant feature of this work, its surface reflecting and extending the surrounding architecture, while four smooth filaments of water pass through spouts at each of the four corners of a bronze vessel and disappear through a bronze grating set into the floor. There is an inscription with the words of prophet Isaiah: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you":
In case you have enough time before the dusk and you are still fit - we leave the Cathedral and start gentle walk around Salisbury's historic Cathedral Close: 2 km, approx. 45 minutes. . We return to Mompesson House (NE to the Cathdral) and start our walk at the NORTH SIDE of Mompesson House. The Close surrounding the Cathedral was originally built to house the clergy. Today the majority of houses are leased from the Cathedral by private residents. Turn right and walk towards the corner of Chorister’s Green. We walk wesward along the New St./ Crane Street with our face to the Queen Elizabeth Gardens. We cross the Avon river:
The path slights rights and we arrive to a wooden bridge crossing one of the Avon's branches. The Salisbury Cathedral is in the (south) background:
We follow the Mill Road with our face to the west. Now we see BLUE signs of "Town Path" and follow these signs - leaving the Mill Road to our right. We cross the Avon river again. On our right Harnham water meadows and on our left the Avon river:
The surroundings are second to none with a very pleasant walk. You get great views of the Cathedral across the water meadows along the town path to town. In one point you get a view of the Cathedral from the water meadows - exactly as the famous painting of John Constable:
It is approx. 800 m. walk along the Town Path from the Mill Road to the Old Mill Hotel Harnham. The location of the peaceful place is stunning. It is more a pub with rooms (11 rooms, all en-suite with views of the river) and restaurant rather than an hotel. The Old Mill Hotel is a 15th century building with features dating back to 1250. From its early ecclesiastical beginnings, it was transformed in the 16th century to a paper mill:
This is a wonderfully romantic, quaint part of the town. The building contains part of the mill wheel, which can be viewed through the restaurant front glass. The Old Mill Restaurant's evening meals are extra fine dining. Try the bowls of chips covered with melted cheese.
In the end of the Town path will wait for you several houses with straw thatched roof:
Your best bet for returning to the railway station is retracing your steps. Head northeast on Town Path for 650 m. Turn left onto Mill Rd and go through 2 roundabouts for 320 m. At the 2nd roundabout, take the 1st exit and the Salisbury Railway Station will be on the right.
1/2 or 1 day itinerary from the Hofburg to the Wiener Staatsoper in Albertina Platz:
Main attractions: MichaelerTor, Hofburg Innenhof, Hofburg Schweizerhof, Hofburg Burgkapelle, Josefsplatz, Hofburg Prunksaal, Augustinerkirche, Redoutensäle, Stallburg, Hofburg Imperial Apartments, Hofburg Sisi Museum, Hofburg Imperial Silver Collection, Hofburg Schatzkammer or Treasury, Heldenplatz, Neue Burg, Burggarten, Palmenhaus, Albertina Museum, Albertina Platz, Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera).
Orientation: We ended our "From Maria-Theresien-Platz to Michaelerplatz" itinerary in the north-east entrance to the Hofburg - in Michaelerplatz. The MichaelerTor (the eastern, ancient gate to the Hofburg), is, exactly, where we start this itinerary:
Start: Herrengasse U3 (U-Bahn) station.
End: Karlsplatz U1, U2, U4 (U-Bahn) station.
Distance: 4 km.
*** Hofburg - the Imperial Place:
The Hofburg in Vienna is the former imperial residence. From 1438 to 1583 and from 1612 to 1806, it was the seat of the kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, thereafter the seat of the Emperor of Austria until 1918. Today it is the official seat of the Austrian Federal President. Today the Hofburg consists of three museums which afford authentic insight into the traditions and everyday life of the Habsburg imperial court. It is the best place to visit, in Vienna, particularly on a rainy day.
a) The Imperial Apartments with their original furnishings and decoration.
b) The Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sisi) Museum with its presentation of the empress' life.
c) The Imperial Silver Collection which contains a comprehensive range of tableware used at the imperial court.
Transportaion to the Hofburg: Underground: U3 (orange), stop at Herrengasse, From the Meidling train station - take the U6 (brown) underground line and alight Westbahnhof and change to the eastbound U3 (orange) underground line and stopt at Herrengasse.
Trams: 1, 2, D and J, stop at Burgring
Bus: 2A and 3A, drop off at Hofburg.
Opening hours: The Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Silver Collection are all open daily, including public holidays:
September to June 09.00 to 17.30.
July and August 09.00 to 18.00. Last admission one hour before the ticket office closes.
Café Hofburg: Opening hours daily from 10.00 to 18.00.
Prices (including audio guide in 13 languages) : Adult - € 11,50 €,
(combined ticket with the Schönbrunnn Palace - € 25,50), Children (aged 6-18) € 7,00 (€ 15,00), Students (aged 19-25) € 10.50 (€ 23,00), Disabled persons € 10,50 (€ 23,00 ), Vienna Card € 10,50 (€ 23.00).
Standard guided tours of the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments used by Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth: Daily at 14.00.
Duration approx. 55 minutes. Admission charges: Adults € 13,50, Children (aged 6-18) € 8,00, Reductions (Students, Vienna Card) € 12,50.
Touring the Palace exterior: We start our visit in the Hofburg in the MichaelerTor entrance (north-east side of the Imperial Palace complex) and exit the Hofburg from its north-west side in the Ballhaus platz. The tickets office is in the south-east side of the palace and the entrance is, also, in the north-east side (adjacent to Michaelerplatz). The Michaelertor, which is a very beautiful Baroque gateway, that connects Michaelerplatz (St. Michael's square) to a large courtyard referred to as the Innenhof. On the west side stands the Amalienburg (see later) which is my preferred building because of its nice late Renaissance style. Once (16th c.) it was a free-standing building opposite the older Schweizertrakt (Swiss courtyard). It has a small tower with a dome and an astronomical clock on the façade. Inside are the Imperial Apartments and the Sissi Museum. The monument in the centre is the bronze statue from 1846 of Emperor Franz II . He is represented as a Roman Caesar emperor even if he suffered several defeats by Napoleon (like in Austerlitz). Here stands the statue of Francis I in the Inner Castle Court (innerer Burghof) by Pompeo Marchesi. The monument shows the emperor in classical Roman attire set atop a tall plinth, surrounded by four other statues:
The emperor looks in the direction of the Schweizertor,
an old gate which leads to Schweizerhof (Swiss Court), the inner courtyard of the oldest part of the imperial palace. The vast complex of buildings went through five major stages of constructions over six centuries. To follow the course of its development, continue right onto the middle at the Schweizerhof, named after the Swiss guard that used to be housed there:
The Burgkapelle (Castle Chapel) tucked awayin the northern corner of the Schweizerhof, was built in year 1449.Originally Gothic, it was rebuilt in Baroque style and partially restored to its original form in 1802. The Wiener Sangerknaben (Vienna Boys' Choir) sing Mass here every Sunday morning (except: July, August and September). The Burgkapelle is directly above the entrance to the Schatzkammer or Treasury (see later - the Hofburg museums interior). It was built in the 1440ies under the rule of Friedrich III, the first Habsburg to become Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. This makes the chapel one of the older, but not the oldest part of the Hofburg in general:
An archway connects Schweizerhof with Josefsplatz, a square graced with a statue of Joseph II, created in 1807 by Franz Anton Zauner. Josefsplatz (Joseph Square) is at the south-east corner of the Hofburg. Of note is the equestrian statue of Emperor Joseph II by Franz Anton von Zauner at the center of Joseph Square. It imitates the statue of Marcus Aurelius on Capitoline Hill in Rome. The statue was commissioned by Emperor Francis II who, from the age of 16, had been raised under the supervision of his uncle, the Emperor Franz Joseph II. The depiction of Franz Joseph II as a Roman conqueror, dressed in a toga and a laurel wreath, reflects the Habsburg belief that they were descendants of the ancient Roman emperors:
The square is enclosed on three sides by famous sections of the Hofburg Palace. In the south-west side is the Prunksaal (State Hall), the central structure of the Austrian National Library, which is part of the Hofburg Palace complex—a fine example of late Baroque architecture on a grand scale. The building was designed by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and his son Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, with side wings later added to the designs by Nikolaus Pacassi. This grand Baroque library, at around 80 metres long, has impressive domed and marble interior, with giant bookcases and many frescoes. Opening Times: TUE - SUN 10.00 - 18.00 ( THU to 21.00). Entrance Fee: 5 Euro:
To the south is the Augustinian wing of the Austrian National Library and the Augustinerkirche (Augustinian Church), the oldest building on the square. In fact, following Augustinerstrasse from Josefsplatz brings you past the Augustinerkirche. Here Maria Theresa married Francois of Lorraine in 1736, Marie-Louise married Napoleon in 1810 and Franz Joseph married Elizabeth in 1854.
In the north-west side and facing the Augustinian Church is the Redoutensäle (Redoubt Hall), which was added to the Hofburg complex between 1744 and 1748. The Redoutensäle was badly damaged by fire in 1992:
In the northwest corner of the square is the Stallburg (Stable Palace), the former Imperial Stables, which once housed around nine hundred Lipizzaner horses. Built in the sixteenth century for Archduke Maximillian, the Stallburg housed the art collection of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm between 1614 and 1662. The building was later converted to stables for the Hofburg, surrounding a large courtyad with arcades on three levels with large chimneys. Today the Stallburg houses the Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner Museum.
We turn, now, to the Hofburg museums interiors. We'll explore the three museums and, later, return to the newer wing of the Hofburg exterior - the Neue Burg.
Until 1918 the extensive palatial complex at the heart of Vienna was the political centre of the Habsburg empire and monarchy. In the Hofburg Emperor Joseph II drew up his revolutionary programme of reforms, the Congress of Vienna met and danced and where Emperor Franz Joseph held audiences. The Hofburg was the residence of the Habsburgs for over 600 years and thus the centre of the Holy Roman Empire. Apart from its function as the seat of government and administrative centre, the Hofburg was also the winter residence of the imperial family. From the 18th century onwards the court spent the summer at Schönbrunn Palace. The nineteen rooms in the Imperial Apartments (Kaiserappartements) were occupied by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elisabeth, comprising studies, residential suites and reception rooms. They are all furnished and decorated to the highest standards of historical authenticity, Visitors to the Imperial Apartments will gain an insight into the world of Austria's most illustrious imperial couple. The Imperial Apartments form a fascinating contrast to the exuberant splendor of imperial summer residence at Schönbrunn. Court ceremonial dictated that each member of the family had their own apartments or suites in one of the numerous palace wings. Today the imperial complex fulfills the same role for the democratic Republic of Austria. Now, part of the palace houses the offices of the Federal President, the ministers of the chancellor's office and the secretaries of state. The other part - the Imperial Chancellery Wing and the Amalia Residence, which contained the apartments of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth, are today open to the public. A wonderful insight into the living arrangements of one of the richest and most powerful European dynasties. The fittings and furniture mostly date from the second half of the 19th century, but the majority of the ceramic stoves are part of the original 18th-century fittings. These stoves were fired by court stove-stokers from special parallel "heating" passages in order to avoid making the rooms dirty. From 1824 pipes for heating the stoves with hot air were installed. The chandeliers of Bohemian lead crystal were made by the firm of Lobmeyr and held candles until the end of the 19th century, when electricity was installed in the palace.
The Sisi Museum is dedicated to Elisabeth who was Franz Josesef's wife. Elisabeth, who's nickname is Sisi, was mysterious, narcissistic, beautiful and mostly silent. Sisi was non-conformist who abhorred conventional court protocol and was a free spirit. Following the suicide of her son Rudolf (famous Mayerling love affair), she withdrew from public life. Nowadays Sisi is compared to Princess Diana, because of her beauty, her estrangement from her husband and her tragic death. As it is known, Sisi was murdered in Geneve/Switzerland, in 1898, by an Italian anarchist. The Sisi Museum conveys a broad web of Empress Elisabeth daily life: with numerous, partly very personal objects on display which afford fascinating insights into the official and private worlds of this unique woman. Here as in no other place the legend of Sisi becomes tangible. More than 300 items on display in the museum include parasols, boxes and gloves which once belonged to the melancholic Elisabeth, along with her beauty recipes, her death mask and the actual file used in her assassination, which is usually kept securely under lock and key. Further items include a reconstruction of the evening dress worn by 16 year old Sisi in 1854 before she left her home in Munich, and a replica of a section of her imperial railway carriage. She wanted no part of being part of the Royal Family but yet for all of Austria’s history, she is the most popular member of the royal family. Her myth started ONLY after her assassination. In 2009 the Sisi Museum was closed for renovation and partial remodeling. The display was extended to include some spectacular exhibits, including the reconstructed Hungarian coronation dress, the black coat used to cover Elisabeth after the assassination, mourning jewellery and the young Sisi on her swing. The guided tour adds a lot of juicy stories and gossip about Sisi life.
In the Imperial Silver Collection magnificent dining services, centrepieces measuring up to 30 metres in length and exquisite napery give an impression of the lavish grandor of the imperial banquets and feasts. As far back as the 15th century, the Silver Chamber at the Habsburg court was supervised by a Master of the Silver Chamber who was responsible for administering fruit, bread, silver and tableware. Over the course of time the Silver Chamber gained in importance. Its various responsibilities were divided between the Court Kitchen, the Court Confectionery, the Court Linen Room, the Court Cellars, the Court Silver and Table Room, the Court Depot of Victuals, the Court Firewood and Coal Depot and the Court Light Room, that is, the offices that regulated the imperial household. After the end of the Habsburg monarchy in 1918 the court household was dissolved and the imperial holdings passed into the ownership of the Austrian Republic. While a number of items were sold off, the majority remained in the Court Silver and Table Room. Of these, a part remained in use for formal state banquets and dinners given by the republic while others were put on public view in the former offices of the Silver Room from 1923. After complete renovation and the adaptation of adjacent rooms that had once housed the Royal and Imperial Gobelin factory. the Silver Room was reopened in 1995 as the Imperial Silver Collection. Today around 7,000 items from the total of 150,000 in the collection's holdings are displayed over an area of 1,300 m².
Tips: There is no cloakroom in the Hofburg: you must take your equipment with you all along the palace floors and rooms. Go early - as soon as they open, to avoid the big crowds and the large tourist groups. During the busy summer months - tour guides would park their groups in the middle of hallways and block many walk through spaces in the Hofburg palace and museum. we recommend visiting in April or from September as the weather is still lovely and crowds are low. Note that the Hofburg treasury is not included in your ticket price. Bear in mind that the Schonbrunn Palace is partially similar inside to the Hofburg Imperial Apartments. This Audio / Guided tour starts with the china, silver, gold dining ware on the whole bottom floor. To some people, this part becomes easily boring with the endless display of crockery. In that case - just breeze through that part and start your in-depth visit in the 2nd floor of the palace... If you are planning to visit the Hofburg and the Schönbrunnn Palace- go first to the Hofburg and buy the "Sisi Ticket" which gets you into both locations and, here is our advice - lets you skip a frequently massive queue at the Schönbrunnn.
The Austrian Crown Jewels are kept at the Imperial Treasury (Schatzkammer) in the southern wing of the Hofburg Palace. It is even more impressive than the luxury displayed in the Kaiserappartements Imperial and royal regalia and jewels date from the 10th century to the 19th century. They are one of the biggest and most important collections of royal objects still in existence, and reflect more than a thousand years of European history. The Austrian Crown Jewels (Insignien und Kleinodien) is a term denoting the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman Emperor, and later by the Emperor of Austria, during the coronation ceremony and other state functions. There are crowns, sceptres, orbs, swords, rings, crosses, holy relics, and the royal robes, as well as several other objects connected with the ceremony itself. The regalia were normally kept in Nuremberg, and a smaller part in Aachen. With the advance of the French in the French Revolutionary Wars, they were taken away in 1796 and brought to Vienna for safety. They have remained in the Schatzkammer ever since, even after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. The regalia briefly left Vienna when Hitler had them sent to Nuremberg in 1938. After the war they were found by American troops in a bunker and eventually returned in 1946. Opening hours: everyday (EXCEPT TUESDAY) 09.00 - 17.30. Prices: Adult - € 12, Vienna-Card - € 11, reductions - € 9. Combined Ticket „Treasures of the Habsburgs“: KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM, NEUE BURG & TREASURY (visit each one on 3 separate days): Adults: € 20. Audioguide: € 4 (!). Vistiors are enthusiastic about this exhibition and museum !
Bust of Emperor Rodulph II:
Heldenplatz is located south-west to the Hofburg and the Imperial Treasury. It is south-west to the In der Burg road which exits from the Hofburg. Heldenplatz (German: Heroes' Square) is a public space in front of Hofburg Palace where many important actions and events took place there along the history course of time, most notably Adolf Hitler's ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany on 15 March 1938. In the huge square, there are two equestrian statues designed by Anton Dominik Fernkorn:
The statue of Archduke Charles of Austria, inaugurated already in 1860:
The second statue of Prince Eugene of Savoy was inaugurated in 1865:
In 1809, a part of the old bastion adjacent to the old castle was demolished in the course of the Napoleonic Wars. All the way up to the present Ringstraße, new grounds were laid, in which the neoclassical Castle Gate (Burgtor) was integrated. Within the new walls which were erected in 1817, three gardens were laid: the private Imperial Castle Garden (Burggarten), Heroes Square as a lawn with boulevards, and the People’s Garden (Volksgarten) with the Temple of Theseus (Theseustempel), which, along with the Burgtor, was designed by Peter von Nobile. A further addition from this period (already by 1804) is the Hall of Ceremonies (Zeremoniensaal) by Louis Montoyer, which at that time was a protrusion jutting out of the complex. Today it is fully integrated into the New Castle (Neue Burg) (see below):
Neue Burg (the New Castle) is part of the Hofburg Palace complex. The most recent part of the Hofburg is the Neue Burg, an imposing wing built between 1881 and 1913 after designs by Gottfried Semper. It can be accessed from the Heldenplatz which is reached via a gate through the Leopold Wing coming from the Hofburg or via the Ringstrasse. It is standing south-east to Heldenplatz and north-west to the Burggarten (see below). Neue Burg is not only home to a number of museums but also contains the main reading room of the National Library. The curved building, Neue Burg, was built in 1913 - making it the newest addition to the palace complex. Today, the Neue Burg houses the Austrian National Library and a number of museums: Ephesus Museum (ancient relics from Anatolia in Turkey), Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments (Baroque and renaissance music instruments), and Collection of Arms and Armour (swords, helmets, crossbows etc.). Entrance to the three museums are included in the price of the Kunsthistorisches Museum entrance ticket ! The building is also worth a closer look with its many pillars, sculptures, and other details. The interior is also very beautiful, especially the elegant main staircase and the Armour exhibition. The items are so well preserved and so beautiful and the collection quite extensive. This is an amazing collection of crowns, robes and religious material. Opening hours: TUE- SUN 10.00 - 18.00, (THU 10.00 - 21.00). Closed: Monday. Prices: adult - 14 €, Vienna card 13 €, < 27 yr & > 65 yr 11 €, Free < 19 yr. Combined Ticket „Treasures of the Habsburgs“: KUNSTHISTORISCHES MUSEUM, NEUE BURG & TREASURY (visit each one on 3 separate days): Adults: € 20:
We head south, out of the Hofburg - where the Burggarten resides. The Burggarten is a former palace garden, located (south to) near the Hofburg. Today it is a pleasant public park with a number of statues and an elegant palm house. As we move to the Hofburg Garten - we see the south-west facade of the Hofburg palace:
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Vienna was still surrounded by a defensive wall, at a time when most cities in Europe had started to demolish city fortifications. The wall proved useless in stopping Napoleon from occupying Vienna, and in 1809, when Napoleon left, he demolished large parts of the defensive wall. This created space around the Hofburg, and part of it was used to create a private palace garden, the Burggarten. The garden was laid out in an informal English style. In 1918, with the fall of the Habsburg Empire, the park opened to the public. The most photographed statue in the Burggarten is undoubtedly the Mozart memorial statue (Denkmal), created in 1896 by the Austrian sculptor Viktor Tilgner. The monument, which was originally erected at Augustinerplatz but moved to the Burggarten in 1953 shows Mozart on a pedestal surrounded by musical instruments. Reliefs refer to Mozart's famous opera 'Don Giovanni. In May-June - beautiful giant peonies bloom in front of the Mozart statue.
The solemn statue of Emperor Franz-Joseph I was created in 1904 and moved to its current location in 1957. A more classical equestrian statue shows Emperor Franz I, spouse of Empress Maria-Theresia.
In the south end of the Burggarten there is a huge monument of Goethe. A Goethe society was founded in 1878 in Vienna and wanted a monument built of Goethe. Unfortunately, they had trouble raising the money, so it wasn't until December 1900, the monument was finally unveiled on the corner of Goethegasse/Opernring close to Ferdinand Schiller. It shows Goethe sitting majestically on a chair:
The Burggarten is bordered to the north by the Palmenhaus, a magnificent glass palm house designed by Friedrich Ohmann in the Jugendstil style (the local version of Art Nouveau). The iron and glass structure was built between 1901 and 1907 as a greenhouse. Today the central part is home to a popular café:
There are some lovely places to sit and eat if you buy something from a food cart nearby (cheap noodles).
The left part of the Palmenhaus houses the Schmettlerlinghaus, a butterfly garden where you can see tropical butterflies and even bats. In the butterfly house you see, in the annual cycle, around 50 species of butterflies and more than 300 daily butterflies. Opening times:
April to October Daily 10.00 - 17.00, November to March Daily 10.00 - 16.00. Visit to the butterfly garden is highly recommended, especially for young children.
Intetior of the Butterfly House (Schmetterlinghaus-Burggarten):
From the Palmenhaus walk south-east and from the Goethe statue walk nort-east - to exit the Burggarten from its east side (Goethegasse/Hanuschgasse. Cross Hanuscgasse from south-west to north-east and you face the Albertina Museum. Named for the son in law of Maria Theresa. This museum houses one of the largest and most important graphic works collections in the world. Apart from the graphics collection the museum has recently acquired on permanent loan two significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th-century art, some of which will be on permanent display. The Albertina was erected on one of the last remaining sections of the fortifications of Vienna, the Augustian Bastion. In early 1919, ownership of both the building and the collection passed from the Habsburgs to the newly founded Republic of Austria. In 1920 the collection of prints and drawings was united with the collection of the former imperial court library. The name Albertina was established in 1921. In March 1945, the Albertina was heavily damaged by Allied bomb attacks. The building was rebuilt in the years after the war and was completely refurbished and modernized from 1998 to 2003. The range of outstanding works at the Albertina span from Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael through Albrecht Duerer, Rembrandt and Rubens to Lorrain, Delacroix, Manet and Cezanne. The collections of the 20th century include works by Magrit, Picasso, Schiele,Klimt and Kokoschka, as well as Andy Warhol and Rauschenberg. Another highlight of this museum are the Habsburg State Rooms, which are newly renovated and recently reopened to be viewed. The building interior itself is also a marvel to look at - especially the state rooms, open rotunda, grand stairway and the statues. Handsome, convenient, noble, no-hurried museum without glass cases in between. Quite expensive entrance fees. Wait for attractive temporary exhibitions. Opening hours: Daily 10.00 to 18.00, Wednesday 10.00 - 21.00. Prices: Adults - € 11.90, Vienna Card (Wien Karte) holders - € 9.70, Senior citizens (aged 60 and over) - € 9.90, Students with ID (up to age 26) - € 8.50. Photos allowed.
The cast statue of the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph II stands guard over Albertina Platz:
The building in the back is the Opera house:
View from the Albertina balcony to the Burggarten and the Schmettlerlinghaus:
The lower level of Albertina Museum:
Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1450–1516) - Beggars and Cripples:
The Painter and The Buyer (Maler und Käufer) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder ((1526/1530–1569), 1565:
The White Horse "Gazelle" by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, 1881:
House Among the Roses by Claude Monet, c. 1918:
Egon Schiele - Female Lovers, 1915:
William Kentridge: Five Themes:
Litho print of Erzherzog Albrecht Stadler:
Jakob Alt - Der Dachstein vom Plassen bei Hallstatt - 1825:
Cornelis Hendrickszoon Vroom - Forest Road with Two Horse-Drawn Carts, c. 1638-1642:
The Albertina Square is surrounded by the Vienna Opera House, the Albertina and well known coffeehouses. The tower and spire of St Augustin's Church is on the distant right. Albertina platz and a walk-in sculpture of Albert Hrdlicka (1928-2009) against the Fascism and the Enslavement:
The 'Stone of the Republic' bears excerpts from the declaration of reestablishment of the Republic of Austria in 1945:
The Cafe Mozart, in the Hotel Sacher (east side of the square) , in Albertina Platz is famous for its traditional coffee culture:
The Wiener Staatsoper, Opernring 2 (Vienna State Opera) is in the south side of Albertina Platz. Vienna is music and music is Vienna and it all happens here at the Opera House. The Neo-Renaissance style building was the first major building on the Vienna Ringstraße. Work commenced on the building in 1861 and was completed in 1869. owards the end of World War II, on March 12, 1945, the opera was set alight by an American bombardment.The front section, which had been walled off as a precaution, remained intact including the foyer, with frescoes by Moritz von Schwind, the main stairways, the vestibule and the tea room. The auditorium and stage were, however, destroyed by flames as well as almost the entire décor and props for more than 120 operas with around 150,000 costumes. Lengthy discussions took place about whether the opera house should be restored to its original state on its original site, or whether it should be completely demolished and rebuilt, either on the same location or on a different site. Eventually the decision was made to rebuild the opera house as it had been. on May 1, 1945, after the liberation and re-independence of Austria from the Nazis, the first performances were given. It was not until November 5, 1955, (after the Austrian State Treaty), that the Staatsoper could be reopened with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Karl Böhm. The musical tradition and history of this house always performed at a top level. World famous musicians managed the house: For example, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss ro also Herbert von Karajan. Also the musical cast of characters is, as usual, a conspicuous class of its own: beside Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko or also Maria Callas sung at the Opera of Vienna. The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the busiest opera houses in the world producing 50 to 60 operas per year and ten ballet productions in approximately 300 performances. It is quite common to find a different opera being produced each day of a week. As such, the Staatsoper employs over 1000 people. More than 50 productions are staged every year, and there is a performance nearly every day for ten months of the year. The orchestra fantastic. The productions beautiful. Year 2009 marked the 140th anniversary of the Vienna Opera House. The opera house also has an opera school for boys and girls between the ages of eight and fourteen, which takes place in the afternoons after regular school. The children are introduced to music theatre and the prospect of becoming opera singers. The company recruits singers for children's roles in its productions from this opera school. Twice every season there is a special matinee performance of the opera school. Immediately before each performance, cheap, standing room tickets are sold (€ 3 and you don't see so much). These are popular with all age groups, and now have an almost legendary regular clientele, which allegedly is merciless in showing its displeasure with a performance loudly and unambiguously, but is even louder in voicing approval. You can get standing room tickets for only € 3. They go (quickly) on sale 80 minutes before the show starts. Sometimes, it is definitely worth it. Sometimes, the standing option is unpleasant experience. If you get a Burgtheater card, any seat not sold within 24 hours of a performance will cost you 50 Euros. You can find out about the Opera productions and buy Opera tickets on-the-spot for many performances, just by going to the Burgtheater ticket office right near the opera, at #2 Operngasse. The Wiener Staatsoper is closed from July 1st until August 31st. The state Opera offers subtitle machines in front of most seats (standing spots too) so you can read and listen to better follow the show. Great for Non-German-speaking tourists. Another option of visiting the stunning State Opera house: The doors are open an hour before performance starts, thus go early to walk around and take pictures. You can bring snacks and drinks with you - no one checks your bags in the entrance.
The building is much too distinctive and much too showy to be ignored when passing it. The building complex with the numerous side wings and ornaments is very fascinating. What is specially attractive is the State Opera House of Vienna at night because it is then illuminated from all sides. On the exterior a loggia façade enthralls with statues of muses on horseback. A triumphal arch is set prominently in front of the main roof. Above it is a shield flanked by eagles with the Habsburg-Lorraine coat-of-arms, topped by the Austrian imperial crown. The glassed in loggia boasts five bronze statues, such as Heroism and Fantasy, the tallest because it is the source of all arts. The water sprite Lorelei, whose beauty and song caused sailors to crash their vessels, is perched on top of a fountain on the front façade. Other statuary represents Love as a maiden with flower petals; Mourning who is in the midst of covering her face with one hand; and the wild-haired Revenge, armed with a dagger, ready for battle. Twenty coats-of-arms of states and provinces in the Austro-Hungarian Empire adorn the façade, too.
For online tickets make sure you use the official state opera house website which sells at face value and has a seating map from which you choose your seats. With other web sites - you'll pay hiked prices. Ticket agent add on at least 10-15 of euros. If you do take or reserve a tour, try to do it on a Sunday or a holiday, when you will have a better chance of visiting the stage. Best seats, for the most sought-after performances, will cost a bundle and must be reserved far ahead. https://www.culturall.com/ticket/isto/performance_schedule.mc?language=2
The Vienna State Opera offers guided tours. The approximately 40-minute tour includes the entrance foyer, main staircase, Tea Salon, Marble Hall, Schwind Foyer, Gustav Mahler Hall, and the auditorium (with a look at the stage). Guided tours are offered in the following languages:
English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese. Tours cost €7.50. There are 2-4 guided tours in very specific days along the month. The Opera house is spectacular, well worth a visit but do try and see an opera while you are in Vienna. It is amazing. Pricey but well worth it for the experience. Dress up !You must see the exact days and hours in their web site: http://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/Content.Node/home/opernhaus/fuehrungen/fuehrungen.en.php
Front of the Staatopera:
Carriages waiting in front of the Opera house (Fiaker Rundfahrten):
Inlaid stone slabs memorizing famous composers in front of the Opera building:
The State Opera interior: The staircase leading up from the main entrance to the first floor. The main staircase shows off seven allegorical statues made of marble, representing arts such as music, dance and sculpture. The painting on the ceiling, “Praise and Recognition,” depicts in vibrant colors a female figure gripping a roll of music and holding a trumpet and laurel wreath. Noone wants to take the elevator with this grand entrance...
The capacity of the auditorium is now 2,284 instead of the previous 2,881. It offers 1,709 seats, 567 standing spaces, 4 wheelchair spaces, and 4 wheelchair companion seats. The traditional colors of red, gold, and ivory were used for the auditorium, and the large central chandelier was replaced for safety by ring of built-in ceiling lights made of crystal glass. The glass ring weighs about 3,000 kilograms and uses 1,100 bulbs. It is 7 meters in diameter and 5 meters high; it has space for a lighting stand and corridors for maintenance of the system. The safety curtain is decorated with the mythological scene in which Orpheus and Eurydice bid farewell to the underworld:
The Foyer: The tour turns left at the top of the stairs and moves into the Foyer. There are 16 oil paintings from the operatic repertoire, including Beethoven’s Fidelio and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville displayed in this elegant room. A bust of the composer sits beneath each painting:
Mahler worked here from 1897 to 1907. Today his piano is on display as is a modern portrait. But the most famous monument to Mahler is the bronze bust by Rodin, on display in the Schwind Foyer:
There are two tearooms in the Vienna Opera. One displays the original tapestries by Schwind, and the other has more modern pictures made of inlaid stone. I am researching to learn more about the inlaid stone:
Gustav Mahler Hall is dedicated for the rest of the spectators during opera reception and intervals. Gustav Mahler was apparently one of the most accomplished conductors and directors in Viennese history:
It is 450 m. walk from the State Opera House to the Karlplatz subway station (U!, U2, U4). Head east on Opernring toward Opernpassage. Turn right at Opernkreuzung onto Kärntner Str. Walk 180-200 m. and turn left onto Karlsplatz station.