London is one of the most popular cities in the world and it is Europe’s most visited city. Over 20 million international visitors make way to London every year, which says a lot about its popularity. This UK’s capital is famous for its rich history and for that reason there are numerous landmarks that are not just aesthetically pleasing and fascinating, but have a great historic value. Whatever your reason for visiting London might be, you simply must not miss to see British Museum.
This landmark was founded in 1753 and contains about 8 million works that originate from all continents and this collection spans over two million years of human history. Its founder is Sir Hanse Sloane, Irish physician and collector who gathered around 71,000 objects during his lifetime. The British Museum is national museum; it belongs neither to king nor church and is open to public. It is not just a museum, because when Cotton and Harley manuscripts were added it became a library as well.
The building was designed by Sir Robert Smirke in Greek Revival style in 1823. It was first a quadrangle with four wings, i.e. East Wing, which is the King’s library, North Wing, now known as Wellcome Gallery, West Wing or the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery and the South Wing, that was built last. Later on, few changes were made, most important being those who Sydney Smirke, Robert’s brother, and Sir John Taylor designed, the Round Reading Room and the White Wing. The building has 44 columns that are 14 meters high and in 1852 sculptures were added to the pediment of the main entrance, which consist of 15 allegorical figures.
There are ten departments, including library and archives, and those are: department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, dept. of Greece and Rome, dept. of Middle East, Prints and Drawings, Prehistory and Europe, Asia, dept. of Africa, Oceania and Americas, dept. of Coins and Medals and department of Conservation and Scientific Research.
There is certainly a lot to see, and this museum will remind you of how brilliant and mesmerizing world and its history actually is.
The entrance to the British Museum is open for public and free, except for some special exhibitions and certain events, though the donation of 5£ is recommended.