The friendliest city in the world – Sydney
Let me give you the latest information: according to a survey conducted by the American travel magazine Conde Nast Travel, Sydney was recognized as the best tourist destination in the world. According to the terms of the contest, which has been held since 1988, the survey participants evaluated the level of comfort and services, entertainment, hospitality and the uniqueness of nature. This year, for all these indicators, the former penal settlement – Sydney was in the lead, ahead of such recognized tourist attraction centers as Florence, San Francisco and Bangkok. I emphasize that the Australian metropolis has been recognized as “the friendliest city.” If you have not yet matured in order to immediately go to this address, I propose to take a distance walk.
It is best to fly to Sydney by plane, and from the airport the city center is easily accessible by regular bus. He will take travelers to Alfred Street, right in Sydney Harbor. On the left – the famous suspension bridge, a miracle of technology of the first half of the twentieth century, on the right – a huge shell of the Sydney Opera House. Not reaching the bridge, on the left, next to the historic building of the maritime station, there is an observation deck from where you can take excellent pictures of the opera house and a group of skyscrapers adjacent to the harbor. The landscape is complemented by the Kahil Expressway freeway and the railway running under it at the height of the 6-7th floor.
The Sydney Opera House is world famous. Against the background of City skyscrapers, it looks like an outlandish stone flower. Others compare it with giant shells or sails swollen by the wind. The analogies are justified: this peculiar structure was located on a cape, crashed into Port Jackson Bay. When, on Sundays, the expanse of the sea is enlivened by countless yachts, you begin to understand where the creator of the opera, the Danish architect J. Utson, drew imagination.
You will find the famous silhouette on almost every postcard for tourists: the opera house has turned into a visiting card not only of the city, but of the whole of Australia. Meanwhile, the project, which became more expensive before our eyes (in the end, the cost reached $ 102 million), caused a heated debate. The author, offended by criticism and endless amendments, even left the country before his creation, 15 years after the start of construction, rose in all its glory to the rocky Cape Benelong.
It is impossible to overestimate the importance of this cultural center in the life of Sydney. An opera house with 1,550 seats and a concert hall with 2,700 fit under one roof. A “small stage” has been set aside for theater productions – another hall with 550 seats. There is room for film screenings for 420 viewers. You can use a recording studio, a library, hold exhibitions and ceremonies. The complex, which is visited annually by approximately one and a half million people, is complemented by art mini-salons, cafes and restaurants.
But there is a disturbing note. Recently, more and more often talk about the danger looming over the Sydney Opera House. The first warning was received in early 1986, when a piece of tile fell off the roof and crashed into glass. They started to understand. And with horror it was established that the building was on the verge of decline: an architectural masterpiece began to corrode from within a malignant tumor called “concrete cancer”. We remembered the warnings of skeptics who claimed that the coatings of concrete arches were able to serve reliably for not twenty years, as suppliers promised, and in the best case, half as much.
Both were mistaken. But that does not change matters. The one million white roof tiles that clad the roof and walls are fragile and require delicate handling. And they have to face constant overheating and salted sea air.
Even before the first signs of disaster in the late 80s, city officials budgeted $ 58 million for a 6-year opera house restoration program. Even then, voices were heard that these funds to maintain Utson’s creation in good health would not be enough. Now it has become clear: they will have to spend from 8 to 10 million dollars annually for these needs …
But let’s continue the walk. Our way is along Pitt Street to the television tower, also a Sydney landmark. Another, no less interesting, was also located here: on the corner of Market Street, we are waiting for the monorail station, which allows us to make a ring detour of the exhibition center and the maritime museum. Monorails sometimes run through buildings, overhanging water or over the sidewalk. This makes the road compact, taking up little space in urban traffic. The entire route will take less than half an hour, but during this time you can see a lot.
Returning to Market Street, we turn onto the main street of the city – George Street, starting its inspection with the huge “Queen Victoria Building” – a redstone department store built in colonial style. And if you move north, back to the harbor, we get into the historic Rocks district – the place where Sydney began. There are many private restaurants and bars, and from here you can climb the famous Sydney Bridge (Harbor Bridge). By the way, Sydney people call it a “clothes hanger” at home.