Oxford: the city of dreaming spires

I’m feeling a little nostalgic. Not for my motherland, but for the UK. And especially for my favorite city there. It’s the hometown of Lewis Carroll’s Alice, of Hogwarts and its Great Hall, of Tolkien’s career. It’s modern and old, it’s a place where you expect to see knights and monks. I love the atmosphere, the bikes and the buildings.



Oxford is famous for its University and place in history. Over 800 years it has been the home to royalty and scholars. The city was founded around the 3rd century BC by the Celts, then populated by the Saxons and the Danes. In the 13th century, following the founding of the Oxford University, it became one of the most important research centers in Europe.

Oxford University is the oldest university in the UK, founded in 1167. Today it is considered one of the best and most renowned British educational institutions.


The Bodleian library is the main library of the University of Oxford and is one of the world’s greatest treasures . Оne of the oldest libraries in Europe, the second largest in England after the British Library, it is named after Thomas Bodley, who opened it for scholars in 1602. Today the library has more than 11 million works in its collections. An interesting fact is that JRR Tolkien studied English Language and literature at Oxford and eventually became a professor there. Many of his manuscripts are now housed in the library. Other valuable works stored there are: manuscripts by Ashmole, Carte, Douce, Laud, ​​Vernon, letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, four copies of the Magna Carta, one of 42 surviving copies of the Gutenberg Bible, the first published collection of Shakespeare’s works, and many other.

Built in 1749 to accommodate the  Radcliffe Science Library, the Radcliffe camera is now a part of the Bodleian library. The distinctive circular dome of the building makes it one of the most recognizable and frequently photographed sights in Oxford.


The beautiful architecture of the library makes it a favorite location for filmmakers who want to represent Oxford University or other locations. It has inspired a number of writers. JRR Tolkien noted that the building looks like Sauron’s temple to Morgoth on Númenor. Elizabeth Kostova’s novel “The Historian” includes a very tense scene inside the Radcliffe Camera. The building was used as a setting in the novel by Dorothy Sayers  “Gaudy Night”, as well as in Colin Dexter’s novel about Inspector Morse “The Wench is Dead”. The climax of “Operation Pax” by Michael Innes is set in a fictional room, hidden under Radcliffe Square. Deborah Harkness a great part of her first novel ” A Discovery of Witches” in the Bodleian Library and the city of Oxfird. The book also includes as a central plot element a real, missing from the catalog of the library, manuscript by Elias Ashmole (Ashmole 782).




Now that you’ve learned so much about one of the most interesting cities in the UK, I can only wish to you to visit it and see its magic for yourself. And not get lost like I did 🙂



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