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Victoria Square is the heart of Birmingham. Most city events take place at this square that is also home to the impressive Town Hall and the Council House. The square is easy to find: major roads New Street, Paradise Street and Colmore Row converge here and the square lies on an important pedestrian route that runs between Bull Ring and Brindleyplace. This is a wonderful spot to take a break and admire the architecture, for example on the large steps in front of the Council House.
The centrally located square used to be called Council House Square. It received its current name in 1901, after the unveiling of the statue in honour of Queen Victoria. The queen herself died only 12 days later. There are various other artworks to admire, such as ‘The River’, an interesting sculpture of a bathing woman. On the corner of the square stands the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – a visit to this large museum is highly recommended.
One of the most striking buildings on Victoria Square is the Town Hall, with its impressive white pillars. The architecture was inspired by the Roman construction style; in fact, the building is supposed to resemble the Temple of Castor and Pollux on the Forum Romanum in Rome. The building was inaugurated in 1834, as the home base for the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival. It quickly became the city’s most important concert hall. Even today the venue hosts frequent events, ranging from jazz and pop concerts to dance performances and fashion shows.
The Council House is easily recognisable by its large clock tower, which Birmingham locals (known as Brums) affectionately refer to as the ‘Big Brum’. The Council House consists of two parts: the city council of Birmingham is housed on the side of Victoria Square; the other part of the building houses the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. This large museum displays a great variety of exhibits, ranging from British paintings and sculptures to jewellery and archaeological findings from the Far East, such as India and Egypt, as well as from Latin America.
A large beautiful lady bathes in the fountain in the centre of the square. 'The River' was created between 1992 and 1994 by Dhruva Mistry, whose work depicts youth and eternity. The entire artwork with the fountain consists of 4 parts – besides 'The River' there are also the 'Guardians' (two mythical figures), 'Youth' (two children) and 'Object Variations' (two obelisks).
“Patrons of the Post Office Vaults get their beer passport stamped”
After strolling around Victoria Square, quench your thirst at the Post Office Vaults. This fun pub on the other side of Paradise Street offers an incredible 343 different beers from around the world. Request a beer passport and the bar tenders will stamp the beers you have sampled. This is a great way to travel around the world. Cider fans are also welcome; the pub offers more than 13 varieties of cider.