You Are At: AllSands Home > Travel > Places > What is Saint Paul's Cathedral?
Located in London, England at the head of Ludgate Hill, this masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren was built from 1675 to 1710. It was built on the site of a 13th century church, which was badly ruined by the great fire of London in 1666 and finally demolished in 1668.

Wren's original design for the church was in the shape of a Greek cross, but it was modified to provide the long nave and choir of the traditional medieval plan. The crossing is covered by a great dome that rises impressively above a colonnaded drum. The original St Paul's Cathedral was said to be built for God and exist for everyone. It was a center of many activities in which a large community of people shared worship, teaching, study, music, pastoral counseling and much more.

Christians arrived in London in the first centuries A. D. before church building was allowed. St Paul's Cathedral was originally built in 604 A. D. It began when Anglo Saxons built a cathedral where St Paul's Cathedral stands today. It was rebuilt by the Normans around 1180 A. D. and completed around the end of the Middle Ages. It was one of the largest Gothic churches in all of Europe. After being rebuilt by Wren it was damaged during World War II but survived and is now used by more people than ever before.

In the course of one year over two million people from every part of the world visit St Paul's Cathedral. On an average Sunday between 1,000 to 2,000 people attend the main services. St Paul's has hosted great services such as the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the Queen's Silver Jubilee Thanksgiving and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchhill.

The changing ideals, beliefs and aspirations of many generations are expressed on the walls of St Pauls. Memorials to war heros express an active part of world history. As you walk into the Nave one is struck by the vista of the Dome and High Altar. The Nave has a sense of movement that draws you forward. The North Aisle offers the Chapel of All Souls that is dominated by an effigy of Lord Kitchener. Next to this is St. Dunstans Chapel and numerous monuments including the sarcophagus of Lord Leighton. The North Transept is an area for private prayer. Moving to the very center of the Cathedral, which is known as the Crossing Wrens Dome dominates your attention. Decorated with the monochrome paintings of Sir James Thornhill which dispict incidents in the life of St Pauls Cathedral. The Quire with its wood carving of Grinling Gibbons on the stalls and organ case has a ceiling that was the work of Sir William Richmond in the last decade of the nineteenth century. He is also responsible for the glass mosaics in the quarter domes at the Crossing. The High Alter is separated from the Quire aisles by exquisitely worked wrought iron gates that were produced by Jean Tijou and are called the Tijou Gates. The Apse behind the High Alter contains the Jesus or American Memorial Chapel which was created as a British tribute to the 28,000 Americans based in Britain that lost their lives in World War II. Along with the many other incredible features of St Pauls Cathedral music plays a very important role producing eighteen men singers and thirty eight boy choristers who are educated in the Cathedrals Choir School which is one of the last remaining in England.