Everyone knows that London is an old city. A city filled with narrow streets, cobblestone, and most of all, history. However, as I’ve gone around the city, I’m struck with the reminders that this city is not only full of the history of the British Empire. It is a product most prominently of Greek and Roman culture. Every street has elements of a culture we often think of as far removed from the English culture of today.
Columns. Everywhere. Tons of buildings have columns harkening back to the Romans and their beautiful and powerful construction techniques.
The columns blend so well with the brick and cobblestone that some are hardly even noticed. Others, like on outer walls of huge museums, are focal points of the building.
The Elgin marbles are Greek sculptures that have been in England so long they have become just as much a part of the history of England as they are of Greece.
England has elements that are iconic which have evolved outside of Greek and roman traditions. The most striking examples to me have been within the Gothic architecture of buildings like Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.
From the early times of British history, in the buildings, churches, and sculptural traditions, other cultures have been present and visible. Even today, in the modern city, cultures are melding with what it means to be English and creating an ever changing and worldly environment. Every step we take here is a chance to be transported around the world without ever leaving London.