The main square often becomes a visiting card of the city: even if you have not been to Venice, after hearing the name “San Marco”, for sure imagine the flocks of pigeons surrounding tourists, and “Times Square” will remind you of the neon signs of New York. In central squares, life is always boiling, important religious and state buildings are concentrated here – medieval town halls, elegant cathedrals, large monuments, in a word, there is something to see and what to shoot. We share with you a selection of ten most famous squares, many of which have witnessed important events in the history of cities.
Trafalgar Square, London
The area of King Wilhelm IV after the victory in the Napoleonic Wars in 1805 changed its name: ever since it perpetuates the success of Lord Horatio Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar. In the center of this public space is the statue of the admiral, mounted on a column guarded by four large bronze lions. Worthy and framing: the London National Gallery, the Arch of the Admiralty, the Church of St. Martin in-the-Fields and several embassies. In 2012, the fountains around the monument gained a multi-colored LED-backlight.
Plaza Mayor, Madrid
Earlier on this square bullfights and ball games were arranged, market trade was boiling, executions were carried out. Now Plaza Mayor is an oasis of tranquility: in fine weather, restaurants display tables and umbrellas, in winter, New Year’s illumination lights up in the evenings. Among the attractions – the statue of Philip III and the Casa de la Panaderia with an abundance of balconies and stucco elements, frescoes depicting magnificent ladies and angels. On the first floor was the headquarters of the Guild of Bakers, on the upper floors – luxurious rooms where the royal family stayed.
Times Square, New York
The shining neon signs of one of the symbols of New York look most spectacular in the dark of the day or in the fog. The first glowing advertisement appeared here a month after the opening in 1904 of the office of the newspaper “New York Times”. Over a hundred years, the square has become a recognized cultural and economic center of the city’s life: now there are a lot of shops of famous brands, cinemas and restaurants. Because of the abundance of tourists and visitors, it is called the “crossroads of the world”.
Sokalo (Constitution Square), Mexico City
The largest area of South America (195 by 240 m) is officially called the Constitution Square – in honor of the Cadiz Constitution of 1812. It is worth going to some festivity: marches, marches or parades are held every now and then. Here are the Cathedral, the National Palace, the old town hall, the gigantic size of the flagpole with the flag of Mexico. It is important to know that before the arrival of the conquistadors this place was the center of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlana: The National Palace was built on the foundation of the Montezuma II palace. And in half a block from the square the ruins of the Templo-Mayor temple pyramid have been preserved.
St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City
Opposite the main Catholic shrine – St. Peter’s Cathedral – there is an extensive square in the shape of an ellipse, containing in the days of the pontiff’s performance up to 400 thousand believers. It was built by the project of Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini in 1656-1667. A massive colonnade of four rows from certain angles marked with white circles looks almost transparent, while others look like a solid wall. The road connecting the shrine with the center of Rome, appeared thanks to Mussolini. And the Egyptian obelisk stood here before the birth of Bernini.
Jemaa el Fna, Marrakech
The date of the creation of this UNESCO heritage site is unknown, and there are disputes over the name either “a square without a mosque” or a “meeting of the dead”, because of executions conducted here before the XIX century. Nowadays it’s quieter here, but still life boils every day, especially towards evening, when the tents of a huge bazaar light the lights, and dozens of authentic street shops unfold nearby. Jugglers and snake charmers, dancers and healers, narrators and musicians perform until midnight.
Piazza San Marco, Venice
Venetians call this area simply Piazza – this is one of the key places of the city, existing since the IX century. Spacious, with no transport, with a historic building around the perimeter (the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Cathedral, the Sansovino Library) and with the ever-present flocks of pigeons that do not allow tourists to pass through the food, it is the center of universal attraction in all weathers. Even after another shower, when – because of the low location – it is not covered with puddles, even, but simply with a layer of water. Flood here few people are embarrassed: after all, there are rubber boots, and in especially severe cases, narrow wooden decks are being built.
Grand Place, Brussels
This market square originated in the XII century, and the most valuable buildings from the historical point of view of this ensemble are the Town Hall and the Bread House (which is also the King’s House), which survived when the city was fired by the French in 1695. Once every two years, in August, a floral carpet is arranged here: millions of begonias cover with bright patterns a surface of 1800 square meters. Meters.
Main Market Square, Kraków
The center of the Cracow Old Town is a solid monument of culture and architecture, and its heart, the Market Square (XIII century), is considered one of the oldest existing in the world. It is surrounded by historical mansions, palaces and churches, among them stands the Gothic Cathedral of St. Mary. Right in the center is the building of the Cloth Hall, reconstructed in 1555, and the Town Hall tower (the Town Hall itself was demolished a couple of centuries ago).
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
The record holder in size (from the 1950s ) and the number of government buildings, the square is praised by communism and its Chinese leaders. Here are the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, the National Museum of China and the southern entrance to the imperial palace complex – the Gate of Tiananmen, which literally means “the gates of heavenly tranquility.” On the square of the same name, it was not always calm: hundreds of people died here in 1989 during the suppression of mass protests, and on the stomach of one of the marble lions at the Gate a bullet is visible.