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London St Paul's Cathedral restored to mark its 300th aniversary

08-01-2011 10:46 BJT

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St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London is celebrating its 300th anniversary. One of the capital's most famous landmarks has just undergone a huge restoration project - the biggest ever undertaken in the UK.

The dome of St Paul's Cathedral is one of London's most iconic landmarks, rising majestically into the city skyline for three centuries.

Standing at 111 meters high, St Paul's remained the tallest building in London from its completion right up until the 1960s.

This year the cathedral celebrates it's 300th anniversary, marked by the completion of a 65 million-US-dollar renovation project.

Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece St Paul's Cathedral is overshadowed, literally, by the Shard, the London tower set to be the highest in western Europe.

It has taken 15 years to restore the cathedral to its former glory.

St Paul's is the seat of the Bishop of London and mother church of the Diocese of London. It was designed in the English Baroque style, with all the grandeur that its status demands.

There has been a cathedral on this site, in the commercial heart of the capital, since the 7th century.

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the present St Paul's is the fifth to be built here, commissioned after the Great Fire of London destroyed more than 80 percent of the city in 1666.

For centuries these magnificent interiors have played host to almost all the major events of State and Royalty.

Schoolchildren wave Union flags as the Queen leaves a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral to celebrate its 300th anniversary.

This is where Diana, Princess of Wales, married His Royal Highness Prince Charles, and where the funeral of wartime leader Winston Churchill was held. It's the final resting place for numerous heroes and dignitaries.

Today St Paul's attracts over two million visitors and worshippers each year.

But time had taken its toll on the fabric of the building with the ivory-colored Portland stone blackened by years of smoke and grime, inside and out.

The cathedral had to be kept open during restoration, adding another layer of complexity to an already delicate task. To clean the stonework the restorers devised a new technique to lift out the dirt, without causing more damage.

Today St Paul's attracts over two million visitors and worshippers each year.

Martin Stancliffe, Surveyor to the Fabric of St Paul's Cathedral, is the architect in charge of the restoration said, "We actually used a technique that was specially developed for the cathedral, which involves spraying a latex poultice onto the stonework, at night, and then in the day time that could be carefully peeled off, effectively taking the dirt with it. And it proved to be an extraordinarily effective and suitable process for the cathedral."

All the paintings, carvings, mosaics and sculptures in the cathedral's interior have been also been transformed, once again shining as brightly as they did when first installed.

300 years on from the completion of Wren's original vision, the cathedral is finally restored, and looks in better shape than ever.

St Paul's looks set to act as a beacon for London for a few more centuries to come.

Today St Paul's attracts over two million visitors and worshippers each year.

 

Today St Paul's attracts over two million visitors and
worshippers each year.

Editor:Li Wanran |Source: CNTV.CN

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