Selfridges store (photo by Haversack)
In Birmingham City Centre, a couple of steps east of the New Street Railway Station is located the Rotunda Square. It is named after the beautiful tall tower with round body, which is the sole intact survivor of the old Bull Ring commercial and leisure centre, constructed in the 60s of the last century. Today it is turned into a new, ultra modern shopping and entertainment complex, fully reconstructed and changed. The old building has been divided into two separate structures and in the gap between them there are wonderful views of the adjacent medieval Church of St Martin with its lovely spire - an appealing blend between the old and the modern. The most impressive architectural idea is the design of the Selfridges store. It has an extravagant futuristic shape of an organic billowing swell, attached to the east side of the Bull Ring. For a best view of this really striking architectural invention you should climb the stairway which connects the Rotunda Square with the St Martin Church. Resembling the form of an inside-out octopus, the Selfridges sparkle with its original cover of countless silver disks, a successful result of the bold and very eccentric attempt to be created an impressive new city landmark.
Town Hall (photo by ahisgett)
A few minute pleasant walk west of the Bull Ring, along the lively pedestrian New Street, lined with elegant shops and cafes, you will reach the beautifully revamped Victoria Square. The highlight of the square is the remarkable fountain in its geometrical centre, designed by the talented Indian sculptor Dhruva Mistry. Here you can also see the statue of Queen Victoria on the wonderful backdrop of the Council House - a 19th-century architectural jewel, representing a handsome combination of different styles, perfectly matching diverse gables, towers, cupolas, classical columns and admirable sculptured and frescoed decoration. Another important architectural monument, located on the opposite side of Victoria Square is the Town Hall. It is a masterpiece of the neoclassical architecture, completed in the second quarter of the 19th century. The design was created by Joseph Hansom, who successfully tried to reproduce the famous Roman Temple of Nīmes, Southern France. The simple and straight classical lines of the building and its regular rectangular body, surrounded by colonnades, are in a clearly distinguishable contrast with the surrounding buildings, making its effect even stronger.
Right next to Victoria Square, behind the Council House and the Town hall is located the Chamberlain Square. The main attraction here is the
Museum and Art Gallery of Birmingham / BM&AG. It is housed in a remarkable Edwardian building with a tall clock tower. The gallery displays
a very rich and varied collection in several different sections. As the collection is too large to be displayed at one time, the exhibits are
regularly changed and very often temporary exhibitions are organized too. The most impressive part of the constant exhibition is the section of
Pre-Raphaelite paintings, displayed in rooms 14, 17 and 19.
» Victoria Square and Around