The Sydney Opera House
No building on earth looks like the Sydney Opera
House. Covering almost 1.82ha (4.5 acres) the Opera House is Sydney's most
popular tourist attraction, and is also one of the worlds busiest performing arts centres.
But the Opera House is more than a just tourist attraction, it is a presence, a part of
the landscape that seems to have been there forever, and it is impossible to imagine the
Harbour without it. Each time the sun shines on it just a little different than the moment
before, each time the blue Harbour waters reflect off the tile and glass exterior, it
seems to change personality, to change moods. Even Sydneysiders who have seen it for years
are awestruck when they catch a glimpse of it through the corner of their eye.
In 1957, J°rn Utzon won an international
competition to design the Opera House. He envisioned a building that could be viewed from
any angle- land, sea, or air- with the roofs as a "fifth fašade". It presented
architectural and engineering problems that had never been encountered before. When the
construction began in 1959, the original design was impossible to execute and had to be
greatly modified. Utzon resigned in 1966 and an Australian design team completed the
building interior. An appeal fund was set up, eventually raising A$900,000, while the
Opera House Lottery raised the balance of the A$102 million final cost. The Opera House
took 14 years to complete and was opened in October 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.
There is much to see on the outside of
the Opera House as well. The roof, which looks smooth from a distance, is actually made up
of tile. The tiles were not fixed in place individually, but instead were installed in
panels to create the smooth and continuous roof surface. On Sundays, The Monument Steps
and forecourt are used for outdoor films and free entertainment, where you can listen to
jazz, folk, or soft rock bands playing. Next to the Opera House are small stands where you
can buy a variety of offerings, from old photographs to souvenir boomerangs. And if you
feel the need to escape the crowds, the Botanic Gardens are a just a short walk away.
Tours of the Opera House operate daily, from 9am to 4pm