Oxfordshire, a county well known for its rich culture and history, is located in south-central England. It is the home to the acclaimed University of Oxford. The river Thames runs spanning from the west to the southern edge of the city thus, covering the entire basin. The county houses five various districts and consists of two uplands divided by a broad vale of about 10 miles. 

Geography

To the northwest, there is the North Oxfordshire Heights which are developed in limestone and strata dating back to the Jurassic period. Other hills and valleys are also developed on cretaceous chalk. Also, a clay vale stretched from northeast to southwest which is the home to the Oxford heights. 

There have been numerous historic artifacts that have been recovered from the floodplain gravels from the Thames border.  Various ancient tools and pottery remains have been found at many points. Dorchester and Alchester were prominent sites in Oxfordshire and highly populated during the Roman era. Subsequently, some settlements were concentrated at the valley along the river Thames and its major tributaries.

Culture, Art, and Architecture

Oxfordshire is one of the world’s most exciting arts and cultural destinations and home to some other the worlds’ most renowned libraries, museums, art galleries, and world heritage sites. It also houses various theatres and music venues that host various cultural events throughout the year thus, making it a prodigious tourist spot. 

An eminent world heritage site is the Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. It turned into built-in recognition of the first duke’s victory inside the early 1700s over French troops. The palace is encompassed by a massive landscaped park and various structures. It was built in the 18th century and is a masterpiece of baroque architecture. It conserves the world’s finest collections of Europe.

Architecture of Cities: Oxfordshire- The City of Dreaming Spires - Sheet1
Blenheim Palace_©Wessex Archaeology

A popular site is the Oxford University Museum of Natural History with a purpose-built gallery holding changing exhibitions.  The modern extensions accommodate receptions, shops, café, outdoor seating, and lush garden. Built in the neo-gothic style, it flaunts its rich architecture in every corner of the structure. The museum has a striking glass and iron roof. The columns are adorned with fine carvings. It has a deep reflection of botany throughout the museum.

Architecture of Cities: Oxfordshire- The City of Dreaming Spires - Sheet2
Oxford University Museum of Natural History_©nick.garrod

Another interesting place to visit include the University of Oxford famous for its dreaming spires. This includes various structures including the New College, Christ Church Cathedral, Radcliffe Camera and Observatory, Divinity School, Sheldonian Theatre, and many more. All these buildings were constructed in various eras spanning from the early 12th century to the late 18th century. The architectural styles varied throughout the centuries, but they are prominently defined by the gothic style with its splendid spires. In the later structures, there are detailed elements added as a reflection of the advancement of the styles.

Architecture of Cities: Oxfordshire- The City of Dreaming Spires - Sheet3
Dreaming spires’ University of Oxford_©Wallace Wong

More than just a prestigious university district, Oxfordshire is the prime location to some of England’s most fascinating heritage trails and country walks. It is the home to the world’s oldest museum, the Ashmolean Museum, built-in 1683. It remains accessible to the public.

Ashmolean Museum_©Lewis Clarke.jpg

Natural Wonders

As known for its rich culture and heritage, Oxfordshire is also a location to some natural wonders and exotic wildlife. Crocodiles of the World is the United Kingdom’s only crocodile zoo, near Burford, West Oxfordshire. Located in the vicinity is the Cotswold Wildlife Park which is the abode of over 260 species of animals. Cotswold also housed the blanket industry which now functions as a thriving market town. It also holds various spaces for antique shops and restaurants. 

Economic and Social Facets

Oxfordshire’s primary financial system consists of production, publishing, technology-primarily based industries in addition to schooling, research, and tourism. Additionally, agriculture is an essential revenue generator within the county. The North Oxfordshire heights play a vital role in sheep and arable farming. The Southern component is referred to for its fruit production.

A varied range of materials is found in this country like ironstone, clay, sand, and gravel. A suburb of Oxford, Cowley, is a major industrial center that produces motor vehicles. There are several paper mills as well in the district. 

An unknown fact about the district is the education for women. Oxfordshire is popular for its prestigious universities but, in the earlier times, women were not allowed to study at the University of Oxford. Later, in 1974, the university allowed women too. 

Political Dynamics

The non-metropolitan county is run by the Oxfordshire county council. It is responsible for the strategic local government services in the region. It provides a wide range of services including public health, social services, maintenance, etc. Before the election of the county council in 1889, this region was run by unelected quarter sessions. This new system of democracy helped in carrying out a significant amount of development and reflected the increasing range of functions carried out by the local government bodies. During the English Civilian War, Oxford was declared the capital of England.

Conclusion

The district has an unparalleled offer that caters to every interest and activity from natural history to a unique collection of art and heritage sites, classical music, and visual arts, making it an inspirational place to stay or visit.

References:

  1. Experience Oxfordshire. (n.d.). Oxfordshire World-renowned arts and culture. [online] Available at: https://www.experienceoxfordshire.org/arts-and-culture/#:~:text=Oxfordshire%20is%20one%20of%20the [Accessed 28 Jan. 2022].
  2. ‌www.britannica.com. (n.d.). Oxfordshire | county, England, United Kingdom | Britannica. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/place/Oxfordshire [Accessed 28 Jan. 2022].
  3. ‌Experience Oxfordshire. (n.d.). Places to Visit in Oxfordshire. [online] Available at: https://www.experienceoxfordshire.org/places-to-go [Accessed 28 Jan. 2022].
  4. ‌Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Oxfordshire. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxfordshire.
Author

Namita Karnik is a budding architect, zealous explorer, and imaginative thinker. With the knack of writing, she wishes to convey her thoughts to the world. Thriving for new experiences, she holds immense love for travel, sketching, and photography.

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