Monday

Top Attraction of Berlin Charlottenburg Palace Schloß Charlottenburg

Schloss Charlottenburg is an early eighteenth century Baroque palace in Berlin's western Charlottenburg district. The building burned to the ground during the Second World War but has been completely reconstructed.

History

 Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin. The original, central part was constructed between 1695 and 1699 as the summer residence for Sophie Charlotte, wife of the Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick III.

The palace, designed by Johann Arnold Nering, was expanded shortly after Frederick became the first Prussian King in 1701 as Friedrich I.

Swedish master Johann Friedrich Eosander von Göthe supervised the expansion, which included the addition of the 48 meter tall cupola and the construction of the orangery at the west wing. 
 
Glass-Bedchamber
 Glass Bedchamber
 
Chapel
 
A statue of the goddess Fortuna was placed on top of the cupola.

In 1740 Frederick the Great - king Frederick III - commissioned the expansion of the east wing to complement the longer west wing. It was completed six years later after a design by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff. The palace was hit in 1943 during an allied air raid causing a fire which completely destroyed the building. After the war the palace was meticulously reconstructed.

Interior

The interior was just as beautifully reconstructed. The royal rooms are open to visitors, such as the Oak Gallery, paneled with oak and lined with oil paintings. The porcelain gallery, decorated with mirrors, has a fine display of Chinese porcelain. Other interesting rooms include the White Hall, the rococo style Golden Gallery and The Gallery of the Romantics, which has a collection of paintings from the German Romantic period. Also noteworthy is the Schlosskapelle, the completely reconstructed palace chapel.

Charlottenburg park

 Schlossgarten


Belvedere
 
The park behind Schloss Charlottenburg was originally laid out in French Baroque style. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the park was converted into a less formal, landscaped garden. With the reconstruction of the park after the war, a small part was laid out in French style again.

In the beautiful park you'll find a number of buildings such as the mausoleum, a Doric temple built in 1810 as the burial place for members of the royal family. It contains the sarcophagus of Friedrich Wilhelm II among others.

Another building in the garden is the Belvedere, commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II and built between 1788 and 1790 as a teahouse. Near the palace is the Schinkel pavilion, built by the renowned German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel for king Friedrich Wilhelm III. In front of the pavilion are two columns, topped with statues symbolizing victory.

Statue of the Great Elector

 The Great Elector

At the entrance of the palace stands a large equestrian statue of the Great Elector. It was designed in 1698 by Andreas Schlüter and commissioned by king Friedrich I, the elector's son. At the base of the statue are four chained warriors, symbolizing the four temperaments (which stem from the antiquity where they were used to describe personalities).

The statue was originally located in front of the Stadtschloss at the Museum Island, but during the Second World War the statue was submerged to the bottom of the Tegeler See, a large lake in Berlin. The statue was recovered in 1952 and after a restoration it was moved to the Charlottenburg Palace.

Top Attractions of London St. Paul's Cathedral

The majestic St. Paul's Cathedral was built by Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1711. It is one of Europe's largest cathedrals and its dome is only exceeded in size by that of the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

History

St.-Paul's-Cathedral


St. Paul's Cathedral
St.-Paul's-Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral
St.-Paul's-Cathedral
 St. Paul's Cathedral seen from Millennium Bridge

St. Paul's Cathedral has had an eventful history. Five different churches were built at this site. The first church, dedicated to the apostle Paul, dates back to 604 AD, when King Ethelbert of Kent built a wooden church on the summit of one of London's hills for Mellitus, Bishop of the East Saxons. At the end of the seventh century, the church was built in stone by Erkenwald, Bishop of London.

In 962 and again in 1087, the cathedral was destroyed by fire, but each time it was rebuilt and expanded. By that time, it had become one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. Renovations and extensions in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries enlarged the cathedral even more.


The Great Fire

St.-Paul's-Cathedral-Scale-model


Scale model of the
old St. Paul's Cathedral

In 1665 Christopher Wren designed a plan for the renovation of the St. Paul's Cathedral, which was starting to fall into decay. But disaster struck again on the night of September 2, 1666, when the Great Fire of London destroyed four fifth of all of London, wiping 13,200 houses and 89 churches, including the St. Paul's Cathedral off the map.


Christopher Wren's Masterpiece


In 1669, three years after the fire, Christopher Wren was appointed 'Surveyor of Works' and was tasked with the construction of a new church to replace the destroyed Gothic cathedral.
St.-Paul's-Cathedral-South-facade

South facade

St.-Paul's-Cathedral-front-facade
 St. Paul's Cathedral front facade
His first design was deemed too modest. In his second design, known as the 'Great Model', the cathedral was shaped like a Greek cross, with a portico, Corinthian columns and a striking large dome, which would be the world's largest after Michelangelo's dome at the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. This design was rejected as well; the Bishop considered it unsuitable for large processions.

Wren suggested a third design, this time with a larger nave and smaller dome, which was accepted in 1675. After the approval however Wren enlarged the dome and made several other adjustments so that the built cathedral now resembles the 'Great Model' and not the approved design.

The cathedral was built in a relative short time span: its first stone was laid on June 21, 1675 and the building was completed in 1711.


The Church


The Dome

St.-Paul's-Cathedral-Cathedral-dome


Cathedral dome

The dome reaches a height of 111 meters (366 ft) and weights about 66,000 ton. Eight arches support the dome. On top of the dome is a large lantern with a weight of 850 ton.
560 steps lead visitors along three galleries all the way to the top of the dome. The first gallery, the Whispering Gallery, just inside the dome, is renowned for its acoustics. The second gallery, the Stone Gallery, is situated at a height of 53 meters (174 ft) on the outside of the dome, right above the colonnade. On top of the dome, at a height of 85 meters (279 ft), is the narrow Golden Gallery, which encircles the lantern's base. From here you have a magnificent view over the City.


Interior


The Baroque interior is just as imposing as the exterior of the church. The mosaics on the ceiling were added in 1890 by William Richmond after Queen Victoria complained that there was not enough color in the cathedral. The baldachin above the altar was rebuilt in 1958 after it was damaged by bombardments during World War II. The design is based on a sketch created by Wren. The only monument in the church that survived the fire of 1666 is the tomb of John Donne, from 1631.
Several famous people are entombed in the cathedral's crypt. Most notable are the tomb of the Duke of Wellington - who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo - and the tomb of Admiral Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar. 
St.-Paul's-Cathedral-west-facade

The west facade
There is also a tomb of Christopher Wren himself and a number of important artists are buried here as well.


The West Facade


The impressive facade at the west side of the church consists of a large portico and pediment. A relief on the tympanum depicts the conversion of Paul and was created in 1706. The portico is flanked by two towers which weren't part of the original plan. Wren added them at the last minute, in 1707.


Important Events


The church was the site of a number of important historic events such as the funeral of Admiral Nelson in 1806 and the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965. Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer married here in 1981.

Sunday

Top Attractions of London Gherkin 30 St. Mary Axe

30 St Mary Axe, better known by its nickname Gherkin, is one of the most eye-catching buildings in London and it stands out prominently in the city's skyline. The Gherkin is one of several modern buildings that have been built over the years in a historic area of London.

Construction

Construction of the Gherkin was commissioned by Swiss Re, a reinsurance company. The 41-story skyscraper was built in 2004 after a modern glass and steel design by the architectural firm of Foster and Partners. 
 
The Gherkin
 
The Gherkin
Glass-facade-Gherkin
Glass facade of the Gherkin
 
Gherkin-at-dusk
Gherkin at dusk
 
Originally known as the Swiss Re Building, it was later renamed to its street address 30 St. Mary Axe after Swiss Re sold the building in 2007. Even before its construction was complete Londoners dubbed the building the 'Gherkin' for its distinctive shape, and it is still known by that name.

High-rises in the City

The tower was built in the heart of London's financial center at the site of the 1903 Baltic Exchange Building which had been damaged by a terrorist attack in 1992. The construction of a glittering high-tech building in the middle of a relatively low-rise area with plenty of historic buildings and narrow medieval streets set off a new debate about the need for tall buildings in the City of London. But even as many new skyscrapers are now built in Canary Wharf - well outside the city's historic center - the Gherkin has acted as a catalyst for the growing cluster of high-rises in the City.

Architecture

The Gherkin
Street level
 
The cigar-shaped structure has a steel frame with circular floor plans and a glass facade with diamond-shaped panels. The swirling striped pattern visible on the exterior is the result of the building's energy-saving system which allows the air to flow up through spiraling wells.
On the street level, the Gherkin's base is well integrated with an open public plaza. Huge white X braces create a dramatic entrance. The top of the tower, where visitors find an open hall covered by a glass conical dome is even more spectacular. From here you have great views over the city. Unfortunately the building is not open to the public.

Its unique, bold and energy efficient design has won the Gherkin many awards including the Stirling Prize, the London Region Award, and the Emporis Skyscraper Award.

Friday

Top Attractions of New York City - Chrysler Building

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the race for the world's tallest building started in earnest with several developers in New York vying for the coveted title. The Chrysler Building was the first building to top the then tallest structure, the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 
Chrysler-Building


Chrysler Building

New York would keep the tallest building in the world until 1974, when the Sears Tower was built in Chicago.


A race for the tallest building


For Walter P. Chrysler, from the car manufacturer, building the tallest building in the world was a status symbol. The Chrysler Building was in a race with the Bank of Manhattan (now 40 Wall Street) for obtaining the title of tallest building in the world. It looked like the Bank of Manhattan would win the race, with an expected height of 282 meters (927ft) to around 230 meters for the Chrysler Building. But the spire of the Chrysler Building was constructed in secret inside the tower. 
Chrysler-Building-Art-Deco-Entrance


Art Deco Entrance
Chrysler-Building-Gargoyle

Gargoyle
Chrysler-Building-The spire

The spire
Just one week after the Bank of Manhattan had topped out, the spire of the Chrysler Building was put in place, making it 318 meters (1045ft) tall, thus beating the Bank of Manhattan as the tallest building in the world. It would not keep this title for long: one year later the Empire State Building was erected.


Art Deco


The Chrysler building is one of the last skyscrapers in the Art Deco style. The gargoyles depict Chrysler car ornaments and the spire is modeled on a radiator grille. Since it was restored in 1996 it glitters again like it must have in the 1930s.

And the building's Art Deco interior is even more magnificent than its exterior. The marble floors and many Art Deco patterns such as on the stylish elevator doors make the Chrysler Building one of New York's most beautiful office towers.


Popularity


The building's design by architect William van Alen was largely dismissed by contemporary architecture critics, who claimed the spire's design was kitsch and the tower nothing more than a folly.

But ever since its construction the popularity of the building has grown constantly, both among New Yorkers and architecture critics. It is now regarded as one of America's greatest buildings, and the Chrysler Building is often featured on the cover of architectural books and magazines.

Monday

Top Attractions Of London - Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a busy square in the heart of London. It is famous for the fountain that was installed here at the end of the nineteenth century and for the neon advertising that turned the square into a miniature version of Times Square
 
Piccadilly-Circus

Piccadilly-Circus
 
 
Piccadilly-Circus
 
 
Piccadilly-Circus
 
Piccadilly Circus
 
 
The Circus lies at the intersection of five main roads: Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly Street, Covent Street and Haymarket. It was created by John Nash as part of the future King George IV's plan to connect Carlton House - where the Prince Regent resided - with Regent's Park.

Billboards

The creation of Shaftesbury Avenue in 1885 turned the plaza into a busy traffic junction. This made Piccadilly Circus attractive for advertisers, who installed London's first illuminated billboards here in 1895. For some time the plaza was surrounded by billboards, creating London's version of Times Square, but currently only one building still carries large (mostly electronic) displays.
 
 
 
Eros-statue
Eros statue

Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain

At the center of the Circus stands the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. It was built in 1893 to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury, a philanthropist known for his support of the poor.
The seminude statue on top of the fountain depicts the Angel of Christian Charity but was later renamed Eros after the Greek god of love and beauty. The fountain was made in bronze, but the statue is made of aluminum, at the time a novel and rare material.

Piccadilly

The name 'Piccadilly' originates from a seventeenth-century frilled collar

named piccadil. Roger Baker, a tailor who became rich making piccadils lived in the area. The word 'Circus' refers to the roundabout around which the traffic circulated. 
 
 
 
Piccadilly-Circus-night
The Circus at night

Piccadilly Circus Today

Piccadilly Circus is now partly pedestrianized and a favorite place for people to congregate before going to the nearby shopping and entertainment areas. Soho, Chinatown, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square are all within walking distance.

Sunday

Top Attractions of New York City - Wall Street

Wall Street is one of the world's most famous streets. Historically known as the center of New York's financial district, Wall Street is often associated with wealth and ambition in America.

How It Got Its Name

Wall-Street


Wall-Street


Wall Street
NYSE


NYSE
40 Wall Street street view

40 Wall Street

After the Dutch purchased "New Amsterdam" from the Native Americans, a palisade was erected that formed the northern boundary of the new colony. The first "walls" along the street were basic plank fences, but as time passed and tensions grew, a stronger, taller wall was built in order to defend the colony against both the British and the American Indians tribes that still dominated the area. In 1685, after the original palissade was torn down and replaced with a new wall, a new street was created parallel with the wall, aptly named Wall Street. The British removed the defensive wall in 1699.


How It Got Its Reputation


Records show that in the years after the Revolutionary War, traders and speculators would gather under a particular buttonwood tree that sat at the foot of Wall Street. They soon formed The Buttonwood Association (1792), which is believed to be the roots of the New York Stock Exchange, whose headquarters has been located on Wall Street for centuries.


Buildings along Wall Street


By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Wall Street was "the place" to be if you were a large financial institution or other big business. So many buildings sprung up on this tip of Manhattan that the Wall Street district began to boast its own distinct skyline, separate from the buildings in Midtown.

People like J.P Morgan built headquarters like the one at 23 Wall Street, which was - for decades - the most important financial institution in the country. (One can still see the pockmarks on the building, left there from an unsolved bombing that occurred in 1920.)

Other notable buildings include the columned Federal Hall, originally built to house City Hall and its offices. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) Building is also quite grand, built by George B. Post in a neoclassical style 
Federal-Hall-Wall-Street


Federal Hall
Charging-Bull-Wall-Street


Charging Bull
that earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Equally as notable is the ornate 40 Wall Street, once home to the Bank of Manhattan.


The Charging Bull Statue


One of the Financial District's most famous symbols is the 'Charging Bull' Statue (The bull represents a bull market, a constantly rising market).

Inspired by the stock market crash in 1987, sculptor Arturo Di Modica created the 7,000-pound (3175kg) bull statue as a token of optimism. In 1989 he placed it - without authorisation - in front of the New York Stock Exchange in Wall Street. Police removed the statue but thanks to a public outcry it was reinstalled, but this time on Bowling Green, a small square annex park near Wall Street. The statue has become one of Lower Manhattan's most popular attractions.

Monday

Top Attractions of New York City - Grand Central Terminal ( Station )

Grand Central Terminal is one of two magnificent train stations that were built in New York in the heyday of railway transportation. The other, Penn Station, was demolished in the 1960s. 
 
Grand-Central-Terminal
 
Grand Central TerminalGrand-Central-Terminal-Interior

Interior
 
Grand-Central-Terminal-Cornelius-Vanderbilt
 Cornelius Vanderbilt
 
Grand-Central-Terminal-Side-Entrance

Side Entrance
 
The monumental railway station was constructed in 1903-1913 for the New York and Harlem Railroad company. It is a grand Beaux-Arts building which serves as a transportation hub connecting train, metro, car and pedestrian traffic in an efficient way. It has 67 train tracks on two different levels.

Penn Station

The other, even grander railway station - Penn Station - was built in 1902-1911 after a design by Charles McKim. In an act of vandalism, the monumental landmark - which was modeled on the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome - was destroyed in 1963-1966 and replaced by a banal railway station and office tower.

Grand Central Terminal almost suffered a similar fate but thanks to New York City's new landmark preservation laws - implemented in part thanks to the outcry over the demolition of Penn Station, the building was able to escape the wrecking ball.

The First Grand Central Station

The current Grand Central Terminal was not the first railway station at 42nd Street and Park Avenue. As early as in 1863 Cornelius Vanderbilt, known as 'the Commodore' consolidated railroad lines including the Harlem Railroad and New York Central Railroad. As a result of the consolidation the need for a large railway station soon became apparent.

In 1869, Vanderbilt commissioned architect John B. Snook to build the largest railway station in the world on a large property at 42nd Street. The resulting station, named Grand Central Station, featured a large glass and steel train shed, 650ft long, 200ft wide and 100ft high (198 x 60 x 30 meters). But increasing traffic and the smoke from the steam engines obscured vision in the Park Avenue tunnel, causing an accident in 1902. Seventeen people were killed and a public outcry called for electrification of the railway system. This resulted in a new state law requiring that steam engines would not be allowed in Manhattan, starting in 1910.

A New Railway Station

Shortly after the accident, the New York Central Railroad proposed plans for a new, larger Grand Central Station. The costly electrification and construction of the new railway station was compensated by the use of air rights: Electrification made it possible for the tracks to be covered and paved over all the way to 49th Street. Developers were allowed to construct buildings on top of it, but had to pay an extra sum to the railway company, the so-called air rights. Even the air on top of low-level buildings can be sold this way so that taller neighboring buildings are allowed.

In 1903 a competition was held for the design of the new Grand Central. The firm of Reed and Stem was chosen. William K. Vanderbilt II, one of the descendants of the 'Commodore' 
Grand-Central-Terminal-
 
Elevated road separating
cars from pedestrians
Grand-Central-Terminal-Underground-corridor
 
Underground corridor
Grand-Central-Terminal-Hercules-Mercurius-Minerva
 
Hercules, Mercurius and Minerva
Grand-Central-Terminal-The-Main-Concourse

The Main Concourse
 
asked Warren and Wetmore to collaborate with Reed and Stem. While the latter were responsible for the overall design and layout, Warren and Wetmore were responsible for the architectural details and Beaux-Arts style.

Terminal City

The project included not just the new railway station, but a whole complex with office buildings and apartments, which became known as 'Terminal City'. This was a 'city in the city' complex, similar to the concept of Rockefeller Center, created several decades later. Special attention was paid to the circulation of traffic. Pedestrians and cars are separated by special elevated ramps - the so-called Park Avenue Viaduct - which lead the cars around the railway station.

Construction of the new station, now known as Grand Central Terminal, lasted ten years and cost eighty million dollars. In the process, 180 buildings between 42nd and 50th Street, including hospitals and churches, were demolished. The railway station officially opened on Sunday February 2, 1913. But it would last until 1927 before the station was fully operational.

A Grand Design

The building's facade on 42nd Street has a true Beaux-Arts design. Large arches flanked by Corinthian columns are topped by a large sculpture group designed by Jules-Alexis Coutan. The 50ft / 15m high group depicts Mercury (the god of commerce) supported by Minerva and Hercules (representing mental and moral strength). 
 
Grand-Central-Terminal-Ceiling-Painting
Ceiling Painting
 
Grand-Central-Terminal-Central-Clock
Central Clock
 
Grand-Central-Terminal-Chandelier
Chandelier
 
Inside, the main concourse is most impressive. It is 470ft long, 160ft wide and 150ft high (143 x 49 x 43 meters). The ceiling was painted by the French artist Paul Helleu. The design with zodiac constellations was taken from a medieval manuscript. It is painted backwards, alledgedly so that the stars are shown as they would be seen by god, not by man.

Light enters the main concourse through six 75ft / 23m high arched windows. The western double staircase in Botticino marble was designed after the large staircase in the Opera Garnier in Paris. It connects the main concourse with the entrance on Vanderbilt Avenue. The floor of the concourse is of Tennessee marble, the walls of Caen stone.

Redevelopment

In 1994, the firms of LaSalle Partners and Williams Jackson Ewing were chosen by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to redevelop Grand Central Terminal.

The firms were chosen for their successful renovation of another Beaux-Arts icon, the Union Station in Washington DC.
The MTA's goal was to increase revenue while restoring the building's former grandeur. This was achieved by renovating the large public areas, removing former alterations (like lowered ceilings), adding a new entrance and creating a retail mall and food court, similar to the renovation project in Washington DC.

During the 197 million dollar restoration process, a large iron eagle was added on top of the new Lexington Avenue & 43rd Street entrance. This eagle once adorned the first Grand Central Station in 1898.

Sunday

Top Attractions of New York City - Central Park

Central Park is one of those places that make New York such a great place to live. The huge park, 341 hectare large (843 acres), is located in the center of Manhattan. Its design has served as an example for city parks around the world.
New-York-City-Central-Park
 


The park boasts several lakes, theaters, ice rinks, fountains, tennis courts, baseball fields, many playgrounds and other facilities. It is also home to the Central Park Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Especially during the weekends, when cars are not allowed into the park, Central Park is a welcome oasis in this hectic city.

History

Conception

New-York-City-Central-Park

 

When the terrain for Central Park was bought by the City of New York in 1853, it was faraway from civilization, somewhere between the City of New York and the village Harlem. The area contained sheds from colonists, quarries, pig farms and swamps.

In 1857, the city of New York organized a competition for the design of this new park, which had to rival with the great parks in London and Paris. A design by Frederic Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, named 'the Greensward Plan' was chosen. 
New-York-City-Central-Park
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center
 
 
This plan featured an English style landscape with large meadows, several lakes and hills. Winding pedestrian roads were separated from main roads and the huge number of trees ensured the city's buildings were not visible from within the park.

Creation

To convert the swampy area into the park the designers had envisioned, several hundred thousand trees were planted, more than 3 million cubic yards of soil was moved, roads and bridges were constructed and a large reservoir was dug out. It took more than 15 years before the 20,000 workers had completed the park. 
 
New-York-City-Central-Park
The Lake
 
 
Central Park immediately became a popular place for all New Yorkers, attracting millions of visitors each year.

From Relaxation to Recreation

Frederic Law Olmstead's goal was to create a place where people could relax and meditate. He saw the park as a kind of social experiment where people from both upper and lower classes would meet, a rather revolutionary idea at that time.

After the appointment of Robert Moses in 1934 as New York City Parks Commissioner, the focus of the park shifted from relaxation to recreation. 
 
New-York-City-Central-Park
Small bridge at The Pond
 
 
During Moses's 26 year tenure he constructed many sports facilities, playgrounds and the Wollman rink. He also renovated the Zoo, and installed several sculptures including 'Alice in Wonderland '.

Decline and renovation

After the departure of Moses in 1960, Central park started to decline. Graffiti, garbage and criminality kept both citizens and tourists from visiting the park. In the 1970s the park became a symbol of New York City's decline.
 
New-York-City-Central-Park

Rowboats at The Lake
 
The tide started to turn in 1980 when a group of citizens created the Central Park Conservancy. Together with the city, it started a 50 million dollar renovation project. Several parts of the park, including Sheep Meadow and Bethesda Terrace were restored. Three employees were hired to remove the graffiti - it took them three years to complete this task. Criminality was reduced with the deployment of a large police force.
 
New-York-City-Central-Park
Balto Statue
 
Thanks to these efforts by both the city and private groups, Central Park is now a relatively clean and safe place, visited by more than 30 million people each year.

Sights & Attractions

There's plenty to see and do in Central Park. Sports facilities can be found all over the park but most of the interesting sights are found in the lower half of Central Park. You'll come across historical buildings, statues, monuments, beautiful bridges, and of course plenty of nature. Some of it is quite rugged like the forest-like Ramble while other parts of the park are more manicured and feature beautiful flowers and shrubs.
 
New-York-City-Central-Park
Merchants' Gate
 
 
There are eighteen gated entrances to the park. Each of them has its own name. Several of these gates are ornate such as the Vanderbilt Gate, Engineers' Gate and in particular Merchants' Gate at Columbus Circle.

Central Park Zoo

Many people enter the via the Scholars' Gate at Grand Army Plaza, near Fifth Avenue, which leads to a nice pond with a beautiful stone bridge. More to the north is one of the park's most popular attractions: Central Park Zoo. The zoo has exhibits divided into several regions such as a tropic zone and polar circle. Some of its popular residents include polar bears, snow leopards, red pandas and penguins. Just north of the Central Park Zoo is the Tisch Children's Zoo, where small children can see and touch domestic animals.

Dairy

West of the Central Park Zoo is the Dairy, a Victorian style cottage created in 1870. The picturesque building houses a Visitor Center where you can get maps, guides, gifts, and information on events that are planned in Central Park. The Dairy is located at a former pasture, where cows grazed to provide fresh milk for the city's children, hence the name of the building.

Bethesda Terrace

New-York-City-Central-Park
Bethesda Fountain and Terrace
 
The Mall, a wide boulevard lined with American elm trees, brings you from the Dairy to the Bethesda Terrace, one of Central Park's architectural highlights. The terrace has a central covered arcade flanked by two staircases that lead to a plaza. The focal point of the plaza is the Bethesda Fountain, installed here in 1873. The fountain's statue, Angel of the Waters, was created in 1842 by Emma Stebbins to commemorate the opening of the Croton water system, which for the first time provided New York with clean water. Bethesda Terrace overlooks The Lake and the Loeb Boathouse, where you can rent rowing boats or even a gondola.

Statues

New-York-City-Central-Park
Alice in Wonderland
 
Remote controlled model boat enthusiasts head to the Conservatory Water, a pond situated east of The Lake. There are two statues near the pond that are very popular with children. At the west side of the pond stands a statue of Hans Christian Andersen while a sculpture group of Alice in Wonderland and her friends can be found just north of the Conservatory Water. Children love to climb on the giant mushroom. Another famous statue in Central Park shows Balto, a Siberian Husky sled dog who in 1925 helped transport medicine across Alaska to deliver a serum necessary to stop a deadly outbreak of diphtheria.

Sheep Meadow and Great Lawn

Just west of the Mall is one of Central Park's largest open spaces: Sheep Meadow, an expansive pasture popular in summertime with sunbathers. The Great Lawn, more to the north and at the geographical center of Central Park, is even larger. The oval lawn, created in 1937, often plays host to free summer concerts.

Metropolitan Museum and Cleopatra's Needle

New-York-City-Central-Park
Cleopatra's Needle
 
The most important monument in Central Park is Cleopatra's Needle, an authentic Egyptian obelisk, located east of the Great Lawn. The 20 meter tall granite obelisk was originally erected at Heliopolis and later moved to Alexandria. In the mid 19th century it was donated to the US as a gift from Egypt.
The obelisk stands near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the world's most important museums, with an enormous collection of artwork from all continents, covering a period from prehistory to today.

Strawberry Fields

Strawberry Fields is a memorial garden situated near the entrance to Central Park at W 72nd Street. It was created in honor of John Lennon, who was shot dead in front of the Dakota Apartments, where he lived. The tear-shaped garden was dedicated in 1985 as a garden of peace. It is named after a Beatles song written by John Lennon. 
New-York-City-Central-Park
 
Strawberry Fields Mosaic
 
The famous mosaic with the word Imagine (another Lennon song) was a gift from the city of Naples in Italy.

Bow Bridge and Ramble

There are many bridges in Central Park - each with a unique design. One of the most interesting in the 18 meter (60 ft) long cast-iron Bow Bridge, that spans The Lake between Cherry Hill near the Bethesda Terrace and the Ramble, a 15 hectare (38 acre) large woodland. Here Central Park is at its most natural, with narrow paths winding through thickets of trees. This is a popular place for bird-watching: the Ramble is on a trans-Atlantic migration route and more than 250 different bird species have been spotted here.

Belvedere Castle

New-York-City-Central-Park

Belvedere Castle
 
Just north of the Ramble is the Belvedere Castle, situated at the highest point in the park. The castle was created in 1869 as a lookout tower after a design by Calvert Vaux. The tower overlooks Turtle Pond, named for the many turtles that live here.

Shakespeare Garden

Shakespeare Garden was created in 1913 as the Garden of the Heart. Three years later, on the 300th anniversary of the Shakespeare's death, it was dedicated to the famous play writer. The garden contains plants that were mentioned in Shakespeare's plays. Stairs connect the garden with the Swedish Cottage, a replica of a Swedish school from the 19th century. It was transported to Philadelphia on the occasion of the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 and it eventually ended up here in New York's Central Park.

Conservatory Garden

New-York-City-Central-Park

Conservatory Garden
 
The upper part of Central Park is less visited and there are also less interesting sights. One major exception is the Conservatory Garden, the only garden in Central Park with a formal layout. It is divided into three sections: a central Italianate garden flanked by a French-style garden to the north and an English-style garden to the south. The gardens are adorned with several beautiful fountains, including "Three Dancing Maidens", created in 1910 by the German sculptor Walter Schott.

Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Further up north, bordering Harlem, is Harlem Meer, one of the largest lakes in Central Park. The pretty Victorian-style building near the lake is much younger than it looks: it was built in 1993. It is home to the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, an environmental educational center targeting families and children.
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