Greenwich (World Heritage)

According to ezinereligion, the Royal Naval College ensemble, Greenwich Park, the former Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum, which also includes the Queen’s House, are part of the world heritage in the town to the east of London. Greenwich was once the center of court life. The buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries are closely linked to the history of the British Navy. They document the importance of seafaring for the state and society. Greenwich is best known for the so-called prime meridian, which has run through the observatory since 1884 and serves as the starting point for the classification of longitudes.

Greenwich: facts

Official title: Queen’s House, Park and Greenwich Naval School
Cultural monument: urban ensemble with the Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park, the former Royal Observatory and the National Maritime Museum
Continent: Europe
Country: Great Britain
Location: Greenwich, Greater London Area
Appointment: 1997
Meaning: Under the Tudor and Stuart dynasties, it was the center of court life and a symbol of a seafaring nation of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Greenwich: history

1616-35 intermittent construction and completion of Queen’s House
1662-98 Construction of today’s Royal Naval College as a palace for Charles II.
1675-1948 Royal Observatory Royal Observatory, now part of the Naval Museum
1694 Establishment of a seaman’s hospital in what is now the Royal Naval College
1809 Addition of colonnades to what is now the National Maritime Museum
1813 and 1857 Additions to the Royal Observatory
1869 Construction of the “Cutty Sark” and move of the Royal Naval School into the seaman’s hospital
1873 Relocation of the Royal Naval College from Portsmouth to its current location
1934 Establishment of the National Maritime Museum
1948-57 Relocation of the Royal Observatory to Herstmonceux Castle (Sussex)

Courtly life at the place of universal time

For the world it is the place of time. In 1884 Greenwich was declared the place from which West European Time – Greenwich Mean Time – is calculated. In the inner courtyard of the old royal observatory, the Old Royal Observatory, you can see a piece of the prime meridian, the imaginary line that separates the eastern from the western hemisphere.

In 1675, Charles II decided to “build a small observatory (…) on the highest point in Our Park in Greenwich” in order to discover “the longitude of places for perfecting navigation and astronomy”. At that time science was supposed to solve the orientation problem of seafarers, who repeatedly got into difficult situations because they could not determine the longitude and thus their location.

Sir Christopher Wren – mathematician, astronomer and English builder of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London – designed the Royal Observatory out of dark red brick for the first royal astronomer, John Flamsteed. It stands prominently on a leafy hill in Greenwich Park, London’s oldest royal park, nestling against a small former fishing village.

The Cutty Sark, the last remaining tea clipper, is in dry dock on the banks of the Thames. It is not uncommon for the river to be haunted by mist, which is the best view of a cluster of magnificent buildings that are considered excellent examples of 17th and 18th century English architecture. In the line of sight between the two wings of the Royal Naval College stands the gleaming white Queen’s House, which was designed by Inigo Jones. This “royal summer villa” is connected by porticos to the National Maritime Museum, which today commemorates the maritime cultural heritage of the earlier seafaring nation.

When Queen’s House was built, it was intended as a modern addition to the old Tudor palace “Placentia”. The “little summer palace” was designed for Queen Anne, the wife of James I, and completed by Charles I for his wife Henrietta Maria. She called this perfectly proportioned villa, which was built in the building tradition of “modern antiquity” of Andrea Palladio, her “House of Joy”. Henry VIII and his daughters Maria and Elisabeth saw the light of day in the old Tudor Palace. At a time when Greenwich was the center of court life, Queen Elizabeth I watched the return of the English privateer Sir Francis Drake from Placentia, who sailed up the Thames in his ship The Golden Hind after his voyage around the world. In Greenwich, she is said to have signed the death sentence of Mary Queen of Scots in 1585. However, the old royal palace lost its importance over time and was eventually demolished. Today’s (Old) Royal Naval College was built in its place until the middle of the 18th century. Considered one of the “overwhelming sights of English architecture”, this building was used as a hospital for wounded sailors until 1869, after which it served as the Royal Naval College. Since the late 1990s, it has housed the main building of Greenwich University, which was founded in 1992. The magnificent ceilings and murals in the “Painted Hall” of the Royal Naval College were painted by James Thornhill. It took the artist almost two decades to complete the lush paintings. The pay, on the other hand, was rather modest, he was paid £ 6,685, two shillings and four pence for his work, which reflects Britain’s success as a seafaring nation. When Lord Nelson fell at the Battle of Trafalgar, his body was laid out in this magnificent hall. The chapel in the Queen Mary wing of the college is also captivatingly beautiful. After a fire in 1779, the chapel was restored by James “Athenian” Stuart and William Newton. The delicate ceiling decorations and pastel colors are reminiscent of fragile Wedgwood porcelain.

Greenwich (World Heritage)