The Heart of Boston
By the early 19th century, Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace was no longer large enough to accommodate the increasing number of farmers who came to sell their wares. Then-mayor Josiah Quincy therefore had a new market built that would eventually bear his name, Quincy Market (Faneuil Hall Marketplace, tel. 617-523-1300, www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com).
A sizeable reward awaits visitors at the top of Beacon Hill, namely the superb Massachusetts State House (24 Beacon St., tel. 617-727-3676), which is crowned with a blind cupola entirely covered in 24-carat gold leaf. The Federal-style building, whose cornerstone was laid in 1795, houses the seat of the Massachusetts government.
Though not the largest building on Copley Square, Trinity Church (206 Clarendon St., tel. 617-536-0944, www.trinitychurchboston.org), considered one of the finest examples of 19th-century American architecture, is its crowning centrepiece.
Boston has long been renowned for its rich and varied intellectual and cultural life. It is therefore no surprise that the country's first major public library was established here in 1848. Forty years later, the Boston Public Library (700 Boylston St., tel. 617-536-5400, www.bpl.org) began construction of its current building.
Commonwealth Avenue (between Charlesgate St. and Arlington St.) is one of the most beautiful avenues in North America. The backbone of Back Bay, with a tree-filled linear park running down its centre, the avenue is lined with mansions that seem to strive to outdo each other in luxury and elegance.
On the evening of April 18, 1775, sacristan Robert Newman hung two lanterns in the belfry of the Old North Church (193 Salem St., tel. 617-523-6676) to warn Bostonians of the imminent arrival of British soldiers by sea. This simple gesture, combined with Paul Revere’s famous “midnight run,” launched the United States' War of Independence.
The long facade of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave., tel. 617-267-9300, www.mfa.org) unfurls in the middle of an immense, closely cropped lawn alongside Huntington Avenue. Boston’s fine arts museum is full of lavish collections that were gathered by Boston merchants as well as archaeologists from nearby Harvard University.
Concealed behind a rather bland facade, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (280 The Fenway, tel. 617-566-1401, www.gardnermuseum.org) houses fabulous treasures in rooms that surround an abundantly flowered interior courtyard that recalls those found in 15th-century Venetian palaces.
Receiving a diploma from Harvard University (around Harvard Yard, tel. 617-495-1000, www.harvard.edu) is a guarantee of success, as this internationally acclaimed university only accepts top-notch candidates.