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The Monument

The Monument (82)

With this concise name Londoners refer to the 61-metre high Doric column that commemorates the Great Fire of 1666 as well as the reconstruction of the city. The monument, built between 1671 and 1677, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, and his friend and colleague, Doctor Robert Hooke.

The Monument, which is in the City district, at the junction of Fish Street and Monument Street, consists of an enormous Portland stone column crowned by a tambour and a bronze urn from which emerges some flames that symbolise the Great Fire. The 61 metres height represents the distance between the Monument and the point in Pudding Lane where a baker’s house was sited and where the fire started. 

The Great Fire is recalled as one of the great tragedies that London has suffered. It began on the 2nd of September 1666, and could not be controlled until 4 days later. During this time more than 400 streets were razed and left some 200,000 people homeless. It also struck important buildings such as the Guildhall and Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

On the columns you can see some of the relief work that describe King Charles II returning the city its integrity. Around the pedestal, some inscriptions narrate the harmful effects of the flames, as well as the process for reconstructing the city.

The 61 metres of the Monument make it the tallest isolated column in the world. It is well worth taking on the 311 steps of the spiral staircase inside. At the top, a balcony offers magnificent views of the metropolis. Your safety is guaranteed since, after several accidents and more than one suicide, in 1842 the gallery was protected by a railing. When you get your breath back, you will be able to make out the port of London and the dome of Saint Paul’s. 

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