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St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral in London is the seat of the Bishop of London and a major London landmark. It is located on Ludgate Hill in the financial district known as the City of London.

The present St. Paul's Cathedral, which was built between 1675 and 1710, is the fourth cathedral to occupy the site, which was sacred even before Christianity arrived. The cathedral's immediate predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

The cathedral enjoyed by visitors today was designed by court architect Sir Christopher Wren. Wren's original, grander plan met with considerable resistance from the conservative Dean and Chapter.

The present building reflects a compromise, but still reflects the grandeur of Wren's design.

What to See

Like most Christian churches, St. Paul's Cathedral is laid out in the shape of a cross. The longer end of the main arm of the cross is called the nave; the two ends of the shorter arm are called the transepts.

At the "top" of the cross is the choir and the altar, where the sacrament of communion takes place. Where the cross' two arms intersect is a great dome, marked by a great circle on the floor beneath it. The crypt is in a basement underneath the cathedral.