Trafalgar Square

pictures, photos, facts and information on Trafalgar Square (London)

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Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous squares in London. It commemorates the British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars – the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). It is home to Nelson’s Column as well as other notable statues and fountains. It is also the popular site for various demonstrations and gatherings.

The southern end of the square was originally Charing Cross, place where The City and the Westminster met. It has been considered the heart of London. The original name of the square was King William IV’s Square, but George Ledwell Taylor suggested Trafalgar Square name. The first architect of the square was John Nash in 1820. The present look is the work of Sir Charles Barry who completed it in 1845.

Trafalgar Square is a large area surrounded by roads on three sides and the National Gallery on the fourth, north, one. The square adjoins The Mall via Admiralty Arch in the southwest. There is the Whitehall to the south, Strand and South Africa House to the east, Charing Cross Road to the north and Canada House to the west.

There is the Nelson’s Column in the middle of the Trafalgar Square, with the statue of Horatio, Viscount Nelson on the top. He led the British Fleet at Trafalgar. The column is surrounded by fountains designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and added in 1939 and four huge bronze lions sculpted by Sir Edwin Landseer. At the corners of the square, there are four plinths with statues. On the northwest plinth, there is George IV, on the southeast corner stands Henry Havelock and on the southwest is Sir Charles James Napier. The northeast plinth was originally designed for the equestrian statue of William IV. However, at first there was no money to build the statue, later agreement could not be reached which monarch or military hero should be place there. Today the plinth belongs to the most modern and provoking statue on the square – Alison Lapper Pregnant designed by Marc Quinn. There are another two statues on the square – on the lawn in front of the National Gallery, James II and George Washington.

In the past, Trafalgar Square was famous for its pigeons. However, their droppings looked ugly on buildings and damaged the stonework, and such a big flock (around 35,000 birds) was considered a health hazard. Since 2000 there has been some steps taken to put the pigeons away and nowadays there are just few birds on the square.

There has been a Christmas ceremony on Trafalgar Square every year since 1947. Besides that, it is popular place for various gatherings and demonstrations. And last but not least, Trafalgar Square is the famous tourist destination in London.
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