Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Liverpool city of culture

Liverpool is going to be the European city of culture in 2008, see www.liverpool08.com, so while I was there for the recent conference I thought I would see some of the City, I'd not been before. There are some interesting things to see, the Albert Dock is beautiful and has some good museums, one on slavery and a Tate gallery (www.tate.org.uk/liverpool) . There were lots of boats about to leave on a race (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/6997693.stm), and a Beatles museum (one of many). Also I saw the musical act in the video above.

There aren't many modern Cathedrals in the Country, and two of them are in Liverpool. There's the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ, Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s 1901 design, finished in 1978. It’s built on a hill and is visible from miles around. Unfortunately though imposing its quite ugly when seen close up, it has almost no decoration, you expect carvings showing biblical stories, but on this building you just get one single statue of Jesus. Also I'm used to large supporting columns, but I think this is built from more modern steel and concrete, so no functional support structure is visible. There is a most unusual walk to get there, walking through a sort of tunnel carved through rock, lined with gravestones, see pic, very gothic. More info at the website www.liverpoolcathedral.org.uk/content/About/TheCathedral.aspx

Not far away is the even more modern Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, designed in 1962 by Sir Frederick Gibberd's and finished 5 years later. Its said to reflect the Second Vatican Council. The normal layout of Churches is the shape of a cross, but in this case its circular, it reminded me of a very old church in Rome(www.sacred-destinations.com/italy/rome-santo-stefano-rotondo.htm). It was full of people worshiping, which helped the atmosphere. The surrounds leave something to be desired, some of it looks like a building site. The bell tower is interesting, and very loud. See www.liverpoolmetrocathedral.org.uk

They beat five other hopefuls to be city of culture in a contest in 2003; Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Newcastle-Gateshead and Oxford. The UK's last City of Culture - Glasgow in 1990 - saw a massive increase in tourism as a result of winning the title. Cork in the Republic of Ireland was city of culture in 2005, Patras in Greece in 2006 and Luxembourg jointly with Sibiu in Romania this year. In the future it will be 2009 Linz (Austria) — Vilnius (Lithuania)
2010: Istanbul (Turkey) — Pécs (Hungary) — Essen (Germany)
2011: Turku (Finland) — Tallinn (Estonia)

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