Find ancient Rome in the heart of London

Friday 17 June 2011
zoocha-admin

Skyscraper in City of London

The Real City of London

The true City of London, or the Square Mile, forms the financial heart and hub of London. It's a place of steel and glass, of suits and speed and the habit of gambling on the future rather than rambling on about the past. Yet among some stunning new buildings, the decadence of the Victorian era and the legacy of ancient Rome live on.

Photo of crumbling ancient Roman walls right in the centre of London's financial square mile Roman walls at the base with medieval walls above

Just a few hundred yards from Tower Hill tube station, these former city walls stand outside the Grange City Hotel. Roman walls form the base, with the more uneven section at the top a remnant of the medieval London boundary.

Photo of tiny St Andrew's Church among the gleaming concrete buildings of the City of London St Andrew Undershaft - Opposite the Gherkin

Next up is the tiny St Andrew Undershaft church, a medieval building that looks decidedly out of place on St Mary Axe, surrounded as it is by some of the City's most famous modern buildings. Somehow it survived the Great Fire of London, the bombing of the Blitz and enthusiasm of the property developers and now sits snug and smug between the Gherkin, the Willis Building and the Lloyds Building:

The "inside-out" Lloyds Building reflected in the Willis Building, City of London The "inside-out" Lloyds Building reflected in the Willis Building, City of London
The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London -a modern symbol of London The Gherkin, 30 St Mary Axe, City of London

Opposite the Gherkin, you can step back to the 1930s with this Art Deco extravaganza:

Photo of Art Deco in the City of London Art Deco in the City of London

Then, by disappearing down a few side streets, you reach the Victorian Leadenhall Market...

Victorian London: The Leadenhall Market, City of London Victorian London: The Leadenhall Market, City of London

..to return right back to the present day with the rather eccentric Stirling Building at 1 Poultry Lane:

Photo of the Stirling Building, City of London Stirling Building, City of London

Yet there's one building that will, to me at least, forever represent the City of London: St Paul's Cathedral.

Photo of St Paul's Cathedral, City of London, with a winter's tree, forever London St Paul's Cathedral, City of London

This post about the ancient ruins in the heart of the City of London first appeared in Inside the Travel Lab, a travel blog on unusual journeys.

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