June 13, 2008

Windy Wellington - Part 2

The Parliamentary Complex comprises four main buildings: the distinctive and well-known modernist Beehive, which is exactly what it looks like, the Parliament House, the neogothic Parliamentary Library building and the Bowen House. Parliament has met on its present site in Wellington since 1865, when it moved from Auckland. There’s a free one hour tour every hour on the hour, and when I was there, the House was in sitting and I took the opportunity to visit the Public Gallery of the House to witness the parliamentary session.

Left: The Beehive and Parliament House. Right: Parliamentary Library

Wellington Cathedral of St. Paul is a spectacular building located just two minutes from Parliamentary Complex. The cathedral is known for its distinctive stained-glass windows and many treasures and art works, including a dramatic 9m high hanging of Christ in Glory. The Lady Chapel, built from New Zealand rimu (a native wood), is an historic highlight of this Anglican cathedral.

The historic 1876 Old Government Building, built on reclaimed land in a style imitating stone, is world's second-largest wooden building. It was used by many different government departments and after the 1907 Parliament fire, Cabinet met there temporarily. Since 1993 the building has been restored and strengthened and the Law Faculty of Victoria University is now housed here.

The Old St. Paul Church, constructed entirely of native timber, is a unique example of Colonial Gothic architecture. Built in 1866 as the parish church for Thorndon it was used for 98 years as the cathedral for the Wellington diocese. With stunning wooden arches and magnificent stained glass windows, it is now a popular venue for weddings, funerals, concerts and recitals.

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