The biggest ferris wheel in Europe (135 m) – the London Eye – was opened on 9 March 2000 in London. The London Eye symbolises entering into a new millenium, which is why it’s sometimes called the Millenium Wheel. This marvellous vantage point is located on the bank of the Thames, near Country Hall; initially, it was not supposed to be there to stay. However, the London Eye had quickly become one of the most popular attractions in the world, becoming even more popular than the Eiffel Tower. When attempts were made to extend the exhibition, 85% of Londoners voted the London Eye to stay. We will surely have the chance to view London from the ferris wheel until 2025, or perhaps even after that date. Currently, it is difficult to imagine the London’s skyline without the London Eye.
People marvel at the London Eye because of its simplicity and size. We have the chance to see London from a different perspective as we revolve for about 30 seconds in one of the glass capsules (the London Eye has 32 capsules which symbolise 32 districts of London). The ferris wheel moves slowly enough for us to admire all the details in London’s skyline.
The Millenium Wheel is also an interesting piece of surrealistic architecture – the grand glass wheel contrasts with the famous Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. In 1993, the Sunday Times invited readers to participate in a competition in which they were asked to design a monument which would symbolise the new millenium. Several months later, the chief editor of the newspaper informed that nobody was creative enough to win the competition. The marriage of David Marks and Julia Barfield decided to try once more and decided to design the Millenium Wheel. The success of the enterprise was secured by the British Airways which provided financial support. Still, obtaining a construction permit proved to be the most difficult part. The creators conducted numerous meetings and delivered many presentations to explain the idea of the London Eye. Despite all the complications and some people’s inability to understand the idea, 80% of decisive people agreed to the construction of the London Eye. This is how it began and has lasted for 17 years.
Trivia about the London Eye
The most important New Year’s eve party has been held near the Eye since 2005. When Big Ben strikes midnight, the sky is lit up by fireworks, and one of the most breathtaking attractions are the fireworks let off straight from the London Eye. Yet another piece of trivia is that 430 people have got married on the London Eye (including 21 civil unions), and nearly 3000 celebrities have observed the London’s skyline from the London Eye.
Do not hesitate, go for a trip to London or start a language course and discover the most interesting places in the capital of the United Kingdom.