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Founded in 1966 and housed in a converted warehouse, Modern Art Oxford specializes in 20th-century art. Permanent displays of paintings and drawings are complemented by regular temporary exhibitions of modern sculpture, photography, paintings, printing, ceramics and textiles. Don't be put off by the building's characterless exterior. In fact once inside, you'll probably find that the stark white walls are the perfect setting for the exhibits. MOMA also has a comprehensive program of lectures, concerts and films. The shop, which is full of mainly art-related books, artwork, posters and other goodies, is a great place to buy gifts.
Known as 'The Taylorian' and completed in 1844, this building, with its impressive classical features inside and out, houses lecture theaters, offices and the main libraries and reading rooms of the Modern Languages Faculty, and is used mainly by students of the university. The female statues on top of the four Ionic columns represent France, Italy, Germany and Spain, whose languages are the main ones taught in the building. Please note that this building is not open to the public.
Dating from about 1040, St Michael at the North Gate is Oxford's oldest building. It is situated in the middle of the shopping area and is passed every day by thousands of people who scarcely give it a glance. Built during the late Saxon period, the two towers of the original north gate were later connected by the Bocardo prison which held the three martyrs (see Martyrs' Memorial) before they were burned at the stake. Their cell door is in the tower, as are a page from a 1437 set of churchwardens' accounts, some fine examples of church silver (including a 1562 chalice), and the great seal of King James I.
Established as a cenotaph to Edward Bouverie Pusey, a prominent figure in the iconic Oxford Movement, Pusey House was built in the year 1884. Edward Pusey also served at Oxford University as a Hebrew professor. The chapel's architecture is credited to Temple Moore while several additions like a baldacchino were created by Ninian Comper. Pusey House is also home to a historical and theological library containing nearly 80,000 volumes of Pusey's historical as well as theological volumes' collection. Today, the organization boasts of a devout student force from the graduate as well as the undergraduate courses.
For years, students have attempted to persuade visitors to Oxford that this spire-shaped memorial at the south end of St Giles is the tip of an underground cathedral. In fact, it commemorates a sombre event: the burning at the stake of three martyrs in Oxford during the reign of Queen Mary. Bishops Latimer and Ridley were martyred in 1555 and Archbishop Cranmer in 1556. In the 19th century, a public appeal was launched, resulting in this memorial which was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built in 1843. Cranmer (holding his Bible) faces north, Latimer (with head bowed and arms crossed) faces west and Ridley faces east.
A boat trip along the Thames is a fine way to see Oxford and get a special sense of its history. Oxford River Cruises offers a selection of public cruises (the River Experience, Alice in Wonderland, Lunchtime Picnic Cruise), which depart from the restaurant at No1 Folly Bridge. You can join one of these, or order your own bespoke cruise, with or without food and wine, to enjoy with a group of friends. Their private boat hire (punts and rowing skiffs) operates from a base in Port Meadow, one of the city's loveliest open green spaces. The style is luxurious and intimate, and the stories, especially that of Oxford mathematician Lewis Carroll and his child friend Alice Liddell, turning Oxford's river into Wonderland, inspiring. For more details, call ahead on the toll free number +44 845 226 9396