Sunday, October 5, 2008

Walking through the city: Remember your Religion

Walking through the city of the world's financial capital, I'd have to say that the most impressive edifices among the stretch of skyscrapers and important buildings were not those of financial or business nature. I found myself most in awe at the number of old churches, religious monuments, and the influence of religious presence in the area. For a country that has a fairly large percentage of people who "Have no religion," they sure have a lot of churches, and right in the heart of the city. I did not get pictures of all the churches we passed and visited, but the following pictures should give a good idea of what I am talking about.

I honestly don't remember the name of this building, but I've seen lots of these clocks on the sides of the towers. I've come to like them. I think they are rather cute, and I wish there were more on modern chapels.

The Tower of All Hollows Staining dates back to c1320. This church has been built and rebuilt many a time, but this tower of the second church survived the Great Fire of 1666.

I thought this street sign, among many others, shows the influence of the church in the very naming of its streets: Fenchurch Street, Gracechurch, street, whitechapel, etc. There were a lot of them.

Here is a lovely white steeple, making a sharp contrast to more industrial-looking buildings surrounding it.

The interior of St. Magnus's Church. William Coverdale, the man to complete the first complete English translation of the Bible, was rector of this church for a time in is life.

Again, I don't know the name of the church in this building, but we passed it from a distance while we were doing the Shakespeare additions to the walk. I thought it was pretty nice, and gave the city a softer touch among compares other churches with more intimidating architecture. It was also in an area of the city that was rather open and quiet-- rare!

St. Etheldreda's church was an interesting church. It is supposedly the oldest Catholic church in Britain, though it did not always operate as one. I really enjoyed the modern stained glass windows.

Okay, this is kind of a joke, but what if aliens from another galaxy came and visited London?There are more Starbucks here than churches, public restrooms, any food food chain, or variety of building! The aliens would probably think that we worship coffee... or Starbuck, Captain Ahab's first mate from Herman Melville's Moby Dick-- more likely, coffee.

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