Oxford: an open-air history museum

The university city where time stands still

In 2016, the University of Oxford became the first UK academic institution to top the Times Higher Education ranking, thus confirming its status as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. With a history dating back as far as 1096, it is the second-oldest university operating without interruption, having educated numerous prominent politicians, scientists and artists throughout the centuries, including 28 laureates of the Nobel Prize and 27 British Prime Ministers.

When we looks away from the statistics and factual information, we discover a magical world where knowledge, intelligence and academic excellence continue to thrive in a cultural environment embellished by carefully preserved traditions. If you are lucky, throughout the academic year you may spot students wearing sub fusc, the official uniform for special occasions such as ceremonies and examinations. Although most Oxford rituals take place behind doors closed to the public, if you plan your trip for the beginning of May, on the first day of the month you will have the chance to listen to the choir of Magdalen College sing the Eucharist from the top of the Magdalen bell tower as part of a tradition going back 500 years. May is the right time to visit also if you would like to experience the lively atmosphere of a traditional university sporting event. Head to the Christ Church Meadow to watch the Summer Eights, Oxford’s most important intercollegiate rowing competition.

Between your visits to the colleges, do not miss any of the symbols of Oxford. At a stone’s throw from the city centre, you will find the Sheldonian theatre, which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, as well as the iconic Radcliffe Camera and the main site of the Bodleian Libraries. You can even visit the latter, as it offers guided tours, while a marvellous view of the central area can be enjoyed from the tower of the St Mary the Virgin church. However, no visit of Oxford is complete if it does not include the Ashmolean, the oldest public museum in Britain.

As Oxford is just a two-hour coach ride away from London, why not escape from the buzz of the capital city for a couple of days with a trip to this medieval gem filled with history and tradition?

English – German glossary

to top = (hier) anführen

ranking = Rangordnung

prestigious = renommiert

to date back = stammen aus

without interruption = fortwährend

laureates = Preisträger

factual = sachlich

to thrive = gedeihen

to embellish = verschönern

to preserve = bewahren

spot = erkennen

bell tower = Glockenturm

to go back = (hier) zurückreichen

lively = munter

rowing = Rudern

charm = Reiz

spire = Turmspitze

to resemble = ähneln

stroll = Spaziergang

setting = Handlungsort

gorgeous = wunderschöon

impressive = imponierend

to drop in = vorbeikommen

free admission = freier Eintritt

the latter = das Letztere

marvellous = fabelhaft

buzz = Schwirren

gem = Juwel

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