After arriving, the first place I stopped was the visitor information center to grab a map and guide to the university. Here are some basic facts about Oxford I learned from the guide:
There is evidence of teaching in Oxford as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world's second-oldest surviving university.
- In 1167 Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris, causing many more scholars to settle in Oxford.
- The University is currently made up from a variety of institutions, including 38 constituent colleges.
- There are many famous alumni of Oxford University, including world leaders, noble prize winners Olympic medalists, authors, and more.
- Gerard Manely Hopkins, Grahame Greene, John Locke, Christopher Wren, Lewis Carroll, Albert Einstein, J.R.R. Tolkien, Evelyn Waugh, CS Lewis, Oscar Wilde, and T.S. Eliot are some notable Oxford alums.
|The Claredon Building, next to the Sheldonian Theare|
|The Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Sir Christopher Wren|
The next place I stopped was the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin, which dates back to the 13th century.
|The Radcliffe Camera, a reading room near St. Mary's Church|
|The Bridge of Sighs, designed like the bridge of the same name in Venice (also near St. Mary's Church)|
|The Thames, called the Isis in Oxford|
|Remains of the Tolkien Tree|
|The outside of Christ Church College|
|Christ Church Cathedral|
After lunch I stopped by the original Blackwell's bookstore. It was huge! My favorite parts were the foreign language sections. The store even had ancient Greek and Latin translations of popular fiction!
|Part of Lincoln College|
|The Bodleian Library|
|The Divinity School|
I saw the spires of Oxford
As I was passing by,
The grey spires of Oxford
Against a pearl-grey sky;
My heart was with the Oxford men
Who went abroad to die.
-Winifred Mary Letts, "The Spires of Oxford" (1916)
And that sweet City with her dreaming spires
She needs not June for beauty's heightening
-Matthew Arnold, "Thyrsis"