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Big Ben

Big Ben, or more accurately, what the English preferred to knick name so, is among the most treasured cultural icons in London today. In truth, the cultural icon is the great bell hosted by the Elizabethan clock tower, at the north edge of the Westminster Palace. Today, the clock, its Great Bell and the Elizabethan tower are now popularly known as the Big Ben. The reason why this clock is such a popular tourist attraction is, surprisingly, part of its lasting appeal.

Here is the reason. What should be more iconic, perhaps and logically so, is what used to be the clock tower. What simply used to be known as the clock tower was renamed to the Elizabethan Tower in 2012. This was part of the London society, displaying the city’s architectural, cultural, and civilization premise as a giant in England and across Europe. A single look at a photograph of the clock tower published in a newspaper in Australia or Brazil would immediately evoke the town of London. Even today, films always identify the mise en scene as London by incorporating the clock in their shots. For more than a century, the clock has represented London, across the globe.

Understandably, therefore, the clock was so renamed to celebrate diamond jubilee of Britain under the thrown of Elizabeth II. Yet rather than people associate the attraction to the Queen’s historical significance, most people still value the tourist attraction not for the tower itself, but for the Big Ben. A possible explanation is that the tower stood strong for over 158 years since. In 1859, a specialist team of clockmakers working with Charles Barry gave London the prince of street clocks. Today, Big Ben still stands as the world’s biggest, strikingly grandest and the most accurate chiming clock.

This explains why the clock serves as one of the most significant cultural icons in London today. Receiving millions of tourists every year, its popularity is incomparable to any other cultural icon in the United Kingdom. On 31st May 2009, the tower celebrated the 150th anniversary and the Westminster Bridge recorded how passionately tourists really love Big Ben. Add it to your list of things to see in London, and you will realize why millions before and after you will never be disappointed.

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