St Paul's Cathedral stands proudly in the heart of London and is one of the most recognisable sights around the city. The site that today houses the grand structure has housed a Cathedral since the dark ages with the first building erected in the year 602. The early Cathedrals were frequently destroyed or burnt down only to be replaced by larger and more robust structures with the first stone version built late in the 11th century.
The Old St Paul's Cathedral that stood on the site for much of the medieval period was one of Europe's largest and tallest with a spire reaching 149m into the London sky. Unfortunately for the building which was predominantly built out of stone, the roof was again constructed out of wood which led to the cathedral's gradual decay and a near-complete destruction in the Great Fire of London in 1666.
The decision was then taken to completely rebuild the Cathedral in a more contemporary and grand style with the design drawn up by Sir Christopher Wren in 1669. Much of the design was inspired by Wren's admiration of the great European cathedrals of the time and much of his thinking including the large dome seen today were drawn up before the fire as a plan to rejuvinate the aging building.
The large Renaissance style Cathedral was officially completed on Christmas Day 1711 despite further works and additions being made for another decade after this date. Much of the look has derived from Paris and Rome with the Dome in particular being derived from St Peter's Basilica of the Vatican.
The Cathedral's toughest times came during the Blitz of the Second World War. As Nazi planes bombarded the city, the Cathedral was only partially damaged as several large bombs were either diffused or failed to explode upon hitting the Cathedral.
Today the Cathedral is one of the most visited sights in London and boasts a very rich and ornate interior to match the grand look of its columns and statues from the outside. The Cathedral's north-west tower holds a set of 13 bells including the United Kingdom's largest - Great Paul - weighing in at 16.5 tonnes.
Throughout the Year
Entry to St Pauls' Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral
5-10 St Paul's Church Yard
United Kingdom EC4M 8AE