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Piccadilly Circus – Fascination of New Traditions of Britain

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Piccadilly CircusEvery capital city has its places of interest to boast and mostly these places are found in the center, the core of the history of the city. In this regard London is the special city since its places of interest are located throughout the city, not they are compacted in the same place. The historians and architects explain that London has no prominent historical center since the city was formed by merging several settlements neighboring some time back. One of the most famous and favored by the tourists is the Piccadilly Circus.

The name of the place is varied. The point is that the word circus may confuse tourists in association with the circus place with clowns, athletes and performing animals. Actually circus in Latin means circle which is the circular road junction which unite several streets without disturbing the auto traffic in England. There are several similar interchanges and squares in London, like Oxford Circus. The square was built under the planning of the architect John Nash in 1812 at the junction with Regent Street. That time the street was named Portuguese though later 1612 Robert Baker purchased a land and built a villa there. Baker was a tailor famous for selling piccadillies, fashionable rigid kind of collars with the cogged edges tightened with lace. Later on the house of the entrepreneur was called Piccadilly Hall where the name covered the street also.

The Piccadilly Circus is loved by the tourists who find the place convenient since the tube stations of the London Underground are located there, including the one that goes from the Heathrow Airport throughout the whole city. Since the taxi pay is too high in London, the foreigners who arrive to the city try to take an underground trip to get to the place. And the Piccadilly Circus is the most comfortable place for tourists in this regard.

Tourists will not get astonished with the squares and buildings of the XVIII-XIX centuries in London City for there are plenty of them. Yet, the Piccadilly Circus differs from others. This is a road interchange which is always busy for there are three streets that meet at the point, namely Regent Street going to the North, Shaftesbury Avenue, going to the North-East and the Piccadilly Circus which goes to the West with the length of around two kilometers to the Triumphal Arch. The most attractive sites at the square are the illuminated advertising hoardings on buildings, starting in the early 1900s and the place is full of neon signs which look gorgeous especially at nights associated with the brightness of Broadway in New York.

However, the major symbol of London City is the Shaftesbury Monument Memorial Fountain, which was erected in 1892-1893 to honor the philanthropic works of Lord Shaftesbury, who was a famous Victorian politician and philanthropist. Sooner the statue was called The Angel of Christian Charity and also known as Eros. It is known that Eros is the mythical Greek God of Love with such attributes as a bow and arrows.  So, the statue became the London icon to boast and show to tourists. On the top of it, the image of the statue appears on the masthead of the Evening Standard newspaper.

The Criterion Theatre stands on the south side of Piccadilly Circus. Apart from the box office area, the entire theatre, is underground and is reached by descending a tiled stairway. This is one of rare buildings free from advertising boards. The building of the theatre was projected by Thomas Verity and opened on March 21, 1874, although preliminary the plans were to open a concert hall. The theatre closed in 1989 to be totally renovated, reopening in October 1992.

Besides, there are buildings of ancient music halls with the local branch of the MadameTussauds Museum. The other complex is occupied with the set of stores, entertainment places and the Guinness Museum.

As son as you want to relax from the prevalence of the classic historical buildings with pompous establishments inside, you are welcome to go to the Restaurant of American cuisine Hollywood Planet which is also at the Piccadilly Circus.

If you walk to the northeastern side of Piccadilly Circus, you will see the London Pavilion on the corner between Shaftesbury Avenue and Coventry Street. The first building with the name was built in 1859 as a music hall. In 1885 the new London Pavilion was constructed, which was also used as a music hall.

When people mention «it's like Piccadilly Circus» which is commonly used in Britain it refers to the place or event which is incredibly busy with people. They say that if you are at the Piccadilly Circus for longer time, you will definitely face people you are familiar with.

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