Philadelphia on my mind

Philadelphia on my mind
Historic Philadelphia - the city is a great spot to spend a weekend and preferably a long one. There are lots of places to see in the city, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Ask for directions to the Independence National Historic Park where both are situated.

The Liberty Bell’s inscription conveys a message of liberty which goes beyond the words themselves. Since the bell was made, the words of the inscription have meant different things to different people. When William Penn created Pennsylvania's government, he allowed citizens to take part in making laws and gave them the right to choose the religion they wanted. The colonists were proud of the freedom that Penn gave them and in 1751, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a new bell for the State House. He asked that a Bible verse to be placed on the bell - "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25:10).

Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell traveled around the country to expositions and fairs to help heal the divisions of the Civil War. It reminded Americans of the earlier days when they fought and worked together for independence. In 1915, the bell made its last trip and came home to Philadelphia, where it now silently reminds the populace of the power of liberty. The building is open year round, but the timings vary according to the season.

The Independence Hall was constructed between 1732 and 1756 as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania. Considered a fine example of Georgian architecture, and it was in the Assembly Room of this building that George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. It was also in the same room that the design of the American flag was agreed upon in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and the U. S. Constitution was drafted in 1787. The "rising sun" chair used by George Washington as he presided over the Constitutional Convention is original and worth a ‘dekho’.

For the inveterate art lovers, Philadelphia also has some outstanding art museums, including the marvelous Rodin Museum. Open to the public in 1929, this remarkable ensemble of architecture, landscape, and sculpture, designed by architect Paul Cret and landscape architect Jacques Gréber, is now restored to its original splendour. Walk around and experience Rodin's art in the galleries and gardens, ever-changing with the seasons. Rodin is the genius who is often regarded as the father of modern sculpture. Let tingles of excitement run up and down your spine when you see the actual ‘Thinker’ among other renowned Rodin pieces.

Spend at least an hour or two exploring the collections, considered world's most distinguished of works by Auguste Rodin. Learn more about such masterpieces as The Gates of Hell, The Thinker, and Eternal Springtime as well as his lesser-known works.

For science buffs, The Franklin Institute of Science Museum is one of many exhibits, honouring the life and work of Benjamin Franklin. In 1824, The Franklin Institute opened in Independence Hall to honour Benjamin Franklin and his great inventive genius. Constructed in 1934, the current building and the adjacent Fels Planetarium, have become a hands-on science museum. Later, the IMAX Theater and the Mandell Center were added in 1990. Today, thousands of tourists throng its doors and it is considered Pennsylvania’s most visited museum. An innovator in designing hands-on exhibits before “interactive” became a buzz word.Don’t miss the 3D Theater and the indoor SkyBike.

And then, after digesting all of that culture and more, save enough room to indulge in a classic Philly cheese steak sandwich. What's that?? A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. The art of the cheese steak preparation lies in the balance of flavours, textures and what is often referred to as the “drip” factor. Other toppings may include fried onions, sautéed mushrooms, ketchup and hot or sweet peppers. Some sandwich shops also offer a cheese steak hoagie, a hybrid version that combines the cheese steak with cold hoagie dressings like lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise. Sink your teeth in and indulge!

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