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Westminster Abbey

  
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Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is the most famous and ancient temple in London. Elected as the seat for royal coronations, the abbey also houses the tombs of British monarchs and historical figures of the last thousand years.

The abbey, built with Romanesque style, was consecrated in the year 1065 to give shelter to the Benedictine monks. Between 1245 and 1517 was rebuilt with a Gothic style and during the 18th century underwent its greatest transformation, after the construction of the two towers of the main entrance.

Although the abbey was closed in 1540 during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, it was saved from being destroyed because it was under the direct control of the Crown of England, outside the jurisdiction of the Church. These strong ties with the crown also managed to save the abbey of the attacks produced by the iconoclasts during 1640.

Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in the year 1066, all the English monarchs have been crowned in the Abbey of Westminster using a medieval coronation throne of the XI century that still is conserved.

Some of the most recent events held at the abbey have been the 80th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II or the funeral of Princess Diana of Wales.

The abbey's walls hold some of the finest examples of London's medieval architecture. With an impressive collection of tombs and mausoleums of great British personalities, the abbey occupies a privileged place in the British national consciousness.

The abbey has many places of interest inside, all conveniently explained through the route that is done with the audio guide. Here are some of the highlights in the interior:

  • Lady Chapel: One of the most impressive chapels of the abbey, Lady Chapel, retains a superb ceiling and choir stalls from the year 1512.
  • The Poets 'Corner: The "poets' corner" houses the tombs and mausoleums of great geniuses of literature such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Samuel Johnson and Rudyard Kipling.
  • St. Edward's Throne: The medieval coronation throne, dating from the eleventh century, is the same in which the sovereigns sit to be crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Cloisters: The beautiful cloisters built between the 13th and 14th centuries link the church of the abbey with the rest of the buildings.
  • Chapter room: The room with octagonal structure known as the Chapter Room, still preserves the mosaic floors of the XIII century.
  • Collage Garden: With more than 900 years old, Collage Garden is England's oldest park.
     

 

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