Westminster Abbey - a special royal church

Westminster Abbey, located on the north bank of the Thames near the Houses of Parliament in London, perhaps the most famous of the English monasteries, such as Holyrood in Scotland Escorial in Spain.However, it can be called a historical place rather than religious.Since 1066 all the coronation of British kings, with the exception of Edward V (was killed) and Edward VIII (abdicated), were in it.It also serves as the burial place of many British rulers, politicians, historical figures, cultural figures, aristocrats and monks.

Westminster Abbey is so crowded with statues, monuments, sarcophagi, many graves are set in the vertical position due to lack of space.A total of 3,300 people are buried there, including Geoffrey Chaucer, Henry Purcell, Robert Blake, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Rudyard Kipling, Alfred Tennyson, David Livingston, William Wilberforce, the abolition of slavery in the United Kingdom.Since the beginning of XX century more and more people began to cremate the dead.The first in this se

ries was the body of the actor, tragedian Sir Henry Irving.Since 1936, has no one was buried in a coffin.The only exception is the Duke of Northumberland, owning his own tomb in the abbey.

Date of this historical monument is not precisely defined.For Bede does not mention it, but the early tradition attributes its foundation Sebert, King of Essex.At the beginning of the seventh century, when it in the wetlands near London, on the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, was built the Church of St. Peter, the site of which is now Westminster Abbey.History tells us that she miraculously was consecrated by St. Peter.Of course, this is only a legend, will appear later, but the fact that the monastery existed in this place in the eighth century, confirms the charter of King Offa.In it, he referred to Westminster, apparently, to distinguish it from the Church of St. Paul.There are also other evidence, in any case, we can confidently say that when Edward the Confessor began the construction of a church in Romanesque style in 1055, to provide for themselves a place for burial in a religious ceremony, there was already an important relic, andthere was a community of Benedictine monks.

construction during the life of Edward has not been completed (only in 1090), but the lighting was held in December 28, 1065, a week before the death of the king.Before our time from the original building has been preserved, and the track.Only his image is shown on the tapestry of Bayeux. Westminster Abbey in its current form dates back to a greater extent over the years 1245-1272.Then Henry III decided to rebuild it in the Gothic style.It was subsequently extended: Henry VII chapel was added between 1503 and 1512 years, the two western towers were built in 1745, it completed the construction of the northern entrance of the XIX century.

nave of the abbey, which is the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is the highest in England.The body of an unidentified British soldier who was killed in World War I, was buried on November 11 at the same time like the burial of the French soldiers in the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.These are the first examples of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Westminster Abbey has never been a cathedral (bishop's residence), but what is called a Royal Peculiar ("special royal church").The temple is subordinate directly from the British monarch.Besides it, this status is currently enjoying St. George's Chapel in Windsor (Berkshire).

Westminster Abbey, the presentation of which is presented in different languages ​​on his own site also includes a museum where exhibits death masks of all generations of the royal family, private garden (Kolidzh Garden), open to the public in some Tuesdays and Thursdays inafternoon, the monastery was founded in the XIII century.Entrance to the majority of the seats set free.