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Norwich Market Place, Norman Castle and University
The Market Place on the
backdrop of St Peter Mancroft
(photo by Leo Reynolds)

The Market Place of Norwich is one of the largest markets under open-air in the UK. Here you can find a variety of stalls covered by stripy awnings. They offer everything, from clothes to fresh food, including locally sourced mussels and whelks. The market is surrounded by four remarkable buildings. They are different in architectural style and each one has its own character. At the northern side of the square is located the capacious flint-stone Guildhall. This is the oldest of the four buildings. Its construction works commenced in the beginning of 15th century. Opposite of Guildhall stands the ouster brick building of the City Hall with its impressive clock tower, rising in the heights of the square. The tower was built in a Scandinavian style during the 30s of the 20th century. The modern flashy building of the Forum occupies the south-western side of the Market Place. It was completed in 2001 and now houses the city library and the tourist office.

Without any doubt the most attractive of all four structures is the church of St. Peter Mancroft, situated south of the market. It has a long and beautiful nave and a magnificent stone belfry crowned by a spike small spire. The church is among the most exquisite examples of the Perpendicular architectural style with the typical slender columns in the nave supporting the graceful groins and the roof.

The eastern side of the Market Place is flanked by the Gentlemen's Walk – the city's main promenade, leading to the extravagant Royal Arcade. This is an Art Nouveau building from the end of the 19th century, today beautifully restored to impress again with rich decoration of stained glass, ironwork and swirling tiling.

The Norman Castle in Norwich
(photo by Tim Caynes)

The Norman Castle, one of the main landmarks of Norwich, is located on the top of a picturesque grassy mound, right in the city centre. Right next to the mound is built the large modern Castle Mall, a real heaven for shopping lovers. The stern stone walls of the castle were erected in the 12th century to show the Norman power. Centuries later the fortress was used as a prison. Today it houses the Castle Museum and the Art Gallery. The later features various temporary exhibitions and a constant display of works by the Norwich School for landscape painters. These are interesting, richly coloured and very realistic landscapes and seascapes in oil or watercolour. The Castle Museum shows a collection of informative archaeological finds from Norwich and the surrounding area. Usually the visitors’ attention is attracted most by a bloated model dragon once used during a folkloric guild’s day procession. From the Castle Museum, through a long dark tunnel, you can reach the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum. Its exhibition is related to the history of the regiment.

The University of East Anglia is situated on the outskirts, west of the city centre. Its modern structures form a sprawling campus. The main attraction here is the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. Designed by Norman Foster in the 70s of the last century, it holds one of the richest collections of sculpture and painting in England. Works by Degas, Picasso and Bacon are shown side by side with Egyptian and Mayan sculptures. Various temporary exhibitions are regularly organized in the centre too.

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