A $65 million restoration project on one of the world’s most iconic cathedrals, which has taken 15 years to complete, has finally been unveiled Thursday.
For a decade and a half, millions of tourists visiting London have only been able to see St Paul’s Cathedral covered in scaffolding. However, the massive restoration project has finally come to a close with the full “clean” face of St Paul’s majestic exterior on show today.
After being destroyed in the Great Fire of London, the task of redesigning and rebuilding St Paul’s was assigned to Sir Christopher Wren more than 300 years ago. The initial build took about 35 years to complete.
St Paul’s dome is 110m high and is the second-largest in the world after St Peter’s dome in Rome. The cathedral is home to the famous “Whispering Gallery” where even a whisper can be heard clearly echoing across its massive dome.
The cathedral has also hosted numerous world famous events; on June 2, 1981 Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer (Princess Diana), which led to the building becoming among the most visited churches in England.
The state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill, who ordered the cathedral to be saved after being bombed in the Second World War, was also held at St Paul’s on January 30, 1965.
St Paul’s Cathedral is also home to the American Memorial Chapel, which was built in the 1950’s to commemorate U.S. forces who died in the Second World War. This chapel has also been cleaned and fully restored.
The cathedral attracts about two million people every year for its services, tours, and other events, is currently celebrating its 300th anniversary since being officially declared “complete” by the British Parliament in 1711.
The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Rt. Rev. Graeme Knowles, said: “We're thrilled that in the year we celebrate the anniversary, we can mark the completion of this extraordinary project.
“The two million who come here each year can witness Wren's original vision.”
A celebration service will be held on Tuesday June 21.