• Explore Greenwich Gardens, site of the London 2012 Olympics

    Arts & Culture, Environmental Design

    Greenwich Gardens is the site of 2012 Equestrian Olympics. The Games were held at Greenwich Park, a large slab of green with every plant, tree, and structure holding some significant history of London and England's inhabitants.

    There are many positive reasons to the naming of Greenwich Gardens and Park as the site of the 2012 Equestrian events. First, Greenwich Park is located in southeast London allowing the Equestrian riders to be near the main activities, instead of holding them at a more remote location. This should also mean that more spectators could be expected including many of whom may know little about the sport. For the riders and other equestrian participants horses excluded of course the location means they can take part in the ceremonies and glamour of the main location, which Olympic riders at other Games may have missed due to the distance of travel involved. The venue is particularly rich in British history. Some of the trees are hundreds of years old including an ancient oak called the Queen's Oak.

    The Queen's Oak refers to Queen Elizabeth I. The park's more interesting history begins in the 1400's when Henry VI gave the land to his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester. He built a house and a castle. The house made several transitions before becoming Greenwich Hospital. The castle rejoined history as the Royal Observatory in 1675. During the lapse in use, the land surrounding it was used for hunting and harboured deer introduced by Henry VIII. Some of their descendants still live in an enclosure on the grounds. The park was landscaped and the wall surrounding it was built. From that point, the land became a public park. The park moved forward with a railroad running underneath parts of the gardens. Buildings also underwent a change of purpose with the exception of the Royal Observatory. Inside the park are a Children's Playground, herb garden, flower garden, duck pond, tennis courts, bandstand, and roman remains. It's a Royal Park of London and part of the Greenwich World Heritage Site. It currently contains 183 acres. The public park portion opens all year in the morning and closes at dusk. It does allow some vehicle traffic over a very specific area during rush hours.

    The Greenwich Park was chosen for proximity and historic value and for meeting people. The site choice was under scrutiny when some expressed concern over the possibility of damaging that history. There is a great deal of British national history within the park. The size of Greenwich was also held up as a possible deterrent, considering the site spans 183 acres. It seems odd to find a green space that large in a city the size of London.

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