How London has spent £12 billion to stage a remarkable 'city wide' Olympics of both historic architecture and state of the art design
When the London 2012 Olympics begin - with an Opening Ceremony by Oscar-winning Danny Boyle - on Friday 27th July, London will become the first and only city ever to host the modern Olympic Games three times, following previous Olympics in 1908 and 1948. In the following 17 days in which the Olympics are played out, 10,500 Olympic athletes from 204 nations will compete in 34 stunning venues in and around London.
This Summer Games is unique in how London has combined its historic architecture and famous landmarks with new state of the art architecture to create an entire city as the home of this year's Olympics, as illustrated by this brilliant map of venues, created by LondonTown.com.
The brand new £6.8 billion London Olympic Park, home to the Zaha Hadid designed Aquatics Centre, the Velodrome with its 'Pringle'-shaped roof, and the state-of-the-art Olympic Stadium, and art installations including the Anish Kapoor ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, provides only 9 of the 34 Olympic and Paralympic venues in and around London.
Beach volleyball will be at Horse Guards Parade - the parade ground of mounted military ceremonies since 1745. The Mall - the 'driveway' to Buckingham Palace, is the start and finish point for road cycling, race walk and marathon races, which also pass iconic sights such as the Tower of London and Houses of Parliament. Hampton Court Palace - the oldest surviving Tudor palace, will provide a stunning backdrop for the time trials of the road cycling competition.
The 18th century Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich - a military weaponry base for hundreds of years, is a fitting site for the Olympic shooting events which take place in structures with brightly coloured giant 'bullet holes'.
Add to this mix already world famous London sporting venues which are being rolled out to host Olympic events including Wembley Stadium, the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon (tennis) and Lord's Cricket Ground (archery).
Visitors to the 2012 Olympics will find a city, like no other Olympic city before, where innovative elements - like the 'Javelin' train and the Thames Cable Car - have been cleverly stitched together with existing architectural and cultural heritage.