Exploring New Zealand #6: Christchurch Cathedral Square and Canterbury Museum

When I was preparing this trip to New Zealand, some people told me Christchurch wasn’t that good. How wrong they were. Christchurch is a beautifully planned city plenty of interesting things to keep you busy for a couple of days. We took many photos at the Cathedral Square, climbed the Christchurch Cathedral tower, visited the fascinating Canterbury Museum and spent an afternoon at the Orana Wildlife Park.
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Cathedral Square, locally known simply as the ‘Square’, is the geographical centre and heart of Christchurch, New Zealand, where the city’s Anglican cathedral, ChristChurch is located. The square was originally intended to be called Ridley Square, after the Protestant martyr Nicholas Ridley, but in Edward Jollie’s 1850 plan of central Christchurch it is clearly marked Cathedral Square. Ridley’s co-martyrs and colleague bishops, Cranmer and Latimer have Squares named after them, not far distant from Cathedral Square.

– Update 5 September 2010: Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch’s landmark heritage buildings have made it through yesterday’s damaging 7.1 magnitude earthquake, and hefty aftershocks, relatively unscathed. Five hundred buildings have been affected across Christchurch, including 90 in the central city where there are many heritage and character buildings. Christchurch landmarks to have fared well the earthquake include the Provincial Chambers, the Christchurch Cathedral, the Arts Centre, Christ’s College and the Public Trust building and other buildings on Oxford Terrace. One building extensively damaged is the Repertory Theatre in Kilmore St, just months ahead of a major restoration project, a city council spokeswoman said. Staff from Christchurch City Council and the Historic Places Trust have begun inspecting central city buildings alongside the council’s building evaluation team, and will also assess buildings elsewhere in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula. A very small number of buildings have suffered extensive damage due to the earthquake, and further assessment will determine whether they can be restored. Many others have suffered minor to moderate damage, and will be fixed in coming weeks. Buildings already strengthened by property owners had generally fared well. “We encourage building owners to seek appropriate advice from structural engineers and architects and take steps in the interim to reduce damage and cost by keeping them weather-tight,” Urban Design and Heritage team leader Ceciel DelaRue said.

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