If you have not been to London, then you, probably, dream of it. Regardless the weather, London’s architecture is always a pleasant sight, had it been the palace of Westminster, the Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the National Gallery, or London’s Eye. There are also the remarkable public spaces like Hyde Park or Trafalgar Square. The city is packed with wonders; however, some of its little-known wonders seem to carry the magic of foreign lands.
1.BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir / Neasden Temple
Wow! Is that in India? Well, no. That exquisite Hindu Temple happens to be in London. However, it sort of came from India. The beautifully carved Italian Marble and Bulgarian Limestone is the handy work of Indians. Then, the parts were transported to London and assembled there, erecting this marvelous oriental structure on the Northwest of the capital city.
With this one, you don’t really know where you are exactly. There are those Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling, but there are also those Austrian chandeliers. So, let’s just make this a trip through time and, exactly back to the 50s. Rivoli Ballroom happens to be the last remaining hall of its kind from the past mid-century. Its interior is a mix of neo-classical and Art Deco, with extravagant red velvet covering the walls.
No, this is not Kyoto. It is London again, and to be precise, in Kew Gardens, a botanical garden which was founded in 1840. It is considered the world’s largest and most diverse in its collection. One if its most interesting parts is the Japanese Landscape which features a Zen garden, Japanese shrubs, and a gate that resembles a traditional Buddhist temple.
This is a water canal, but this is not Venice, and you have probably realized it because, instead of the gondolas, there are narrowboats. Little Venice is a smaller version of the floating city but in the English capital. Instead of taking the Gondola on a tour you would take the narrowboat and go on a fascinating journey to view the admirable landscape of London.
5.Russian Orthodox Church
This relatively modern Russian Orthodox Church in Chiswick, London, carries the traditional style of Russian churches. The all white church with pitched brown roofs is crowned with a bright blue dome like the ones you would find in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The dome is ornamented with golden stars and topped with a golden cross; that is in addition to the golden bells which can be seen on one side of the elevation.
6.Leighton House Museum
The more than 200-year-old house was the residence of the English painter Lord Frederic Leighton. While the exterior of the house carries nothing different from the usual neoclassical façades, which are plentiful in England, the interior is a different story. There is the double-height Arab hall which was built especially to house Leighton’s collection of tiles from the middle-east. The hall design was inspired by La Zisa Palace in Palermo. Palermo is in Italy, indeed, but the palace was constructed by an Arabian craftsman. In addition to the Arabian and Turkish tiles, some of which features Arabic calligraphy, there are the hand-crafted wooden latticed windows, known as ‘Mashrabiya’, from Damascus.
7.Ashby’s Mill / Brixton Windmill
Apparently, if you want to see the iconic windmills, it doesn’t have to be in Netherlands, because London has one at Blenheim Gardens. Ashby’s Mill, also known as Brixton Windmill, was built in 1816. It was used for energy supply, and then for storage before it was abandoned in 1934. However, since 1964 and there have been efforts to restore the mill which was finally opened to the public in 2011.
So apparently, you can go to London and get a glimpse of a few other cities from all over the globe in the process. Whenever you there, don’t forget to check some of them out.