Published on November 29, 2011 | by Daniela0
Windsor Castle: a journey from London
One of the major reasons why tourists visit Windsor – in the English county of Berkshire – is due to its major attraction: Windsor Castle. You just cannot leave this charming town without visiting its most alluring landmark.
Windsor Castle, is the largest and oldest occupied castle in the world. The Union Jack flag flies over the Round Tower of the Castle, except when the Queen, yes, Her Majesty the Queen, is in residence: in these cases, the Royal Standard will be flying in its place, as the Windsor Castle is one of the Queen’s three official residences, often said to be her favorite.
The Castle covers an area of 26 acres and contains, as well as a royal palace, a magnificent chapel and the homes and workplaces of a large number of people. In 1666 Samuel Pepys defined the Castle as “the most romantique castle that is in the world”. We all still agree with him.
Windsor Castle was first built by William the Conqueror, following his invasion of England in 1066. The original structure held an evident strategic purpose, due to its position on a steep hill overlooking the River Thames. The Castle grew in importance over the years. Henry II constructed the Round Tower and the original stone outer wall, while it is after the English Civil War, that it became a royal palace. The Windsor Castle has remained largely unchanged since the early XIX century, apart from the restoration work following the fire.
In fact, in 1992, during work on some of the State Rooms, fire destroyed or damaged more than 100 rooms in the north-east part of the Castle. Fortunately, the rooms worst affected were empty, as most treasures and works of art had been removed temporarily. The restoration work was completed in 1997 by some of the most skilled craftsmen from around Europe.
Today, the Castle is open to the public, and is certainly a must-see for anyone visiting London, just as the Roman Baths and Stonehenge. The salient highlights of a Windsor Castle tour are the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House and St George’s Chapel.
The State Apartments of Windsor Castle are truly captivating, especially because they keep some of the finest works of art from the Royal Collection, including paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Canaletto and Gainsborough. From October to March it is possible to enjoy George IV’s private apartments (the Semi-State Rooms), boasting some of the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle.
Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is the most famous dolls’ house in the world. 1,500 craftsmen, artists and authors have worked for over three years to build it. The house has electric lighting, hot and cold running water, and even flushing lavatories. It will amaze not just little girls, and… not just girls, actually.
St George’s Chapel is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in England. It is the spiritual home of the senior order of British Chivalry, and the place where ten distinguished monarchs are buried, including Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour, and Charles I.
Windsor Castle is a legend in the UK, for its appealing scenery, great splendor and, of course, for the fact that it holds a mesmerizing royal past, 1000 years of history having unfolded within its walls. Don’t miss a chance to discover it!
Photo by bortescristian