For all FYA or First Year Abroad students my school is trying something new. Like the Hogwarts Houses we have Bridge-Houses. I was picked for Chelsey Bridge, my Bridge-Master being Meghan, who was the best person to be paired with, so its ok. The five houses are run by permanent members of the London staff. A few times a semester we will do bridge activities. Meghan did ask if we wanted to do them more often which we all responded positively too, so hopefully there will be more.
Essentially, we go in a small group to do some type of activity and either before or after getting free food. For a bunch of broke college students, it’s a pretty good deal. Plus, you spend time with a member of the staff which helps if you want to become a PA once you graduate. PA’s are students who have graduated who come and work for six months at the study canter. I hope I will have the opportunity to come back as one eventually. Beyond that, you learn new things about the city from someone whose been there.
This Friday we had our first outing. We went to the London Mithraeum. This is a tiny museum/exhibit that houses the remains of the Roman Temple of Mithras discovered in 1954 and excavated in 2010-14. The temple was found by chance while going over a post-World War Two bomb sight. They were then poorly resembled about a hundred yards away in 1962. When Bloomberg acquired the site in 2010, they corrected to re-construction and created what you see today.
When you enter they will offer you a free guide book, which has some interesting information in it. As you proceed in you will find a wall of artifacts. Next to the display are tablets that allow you to find information on every piece. My favorite was probably the make-up application tools that doubled as surgical tools. They made be quite happy for our medical advancements.
Down the short stairs to the second level, if you pay attention to the walls, are lines that mark the ground levels at different times in London’s history. You are literally “Descending though time” as they say at the Museum. Once down there’s a black walled room with projections of constellations and scenes representing Mithras and his followers. On one side of the room are three sculptures: one of Mithras’s head, the central icon of the Mithras Cult (Mithras killing a bull), and a mini version of the temple remains.
Lastly, are the actual ruins of the Temple of Mithras. This includes a few minutes audio/light immersive experience to feel what it was like when during cult rituals. Mithras was a Roman god born of stone, who seems to have represented creation and daily-life. His followers would often hold ritual sacrifices and banquets in his honour. None of the Mithraeums were very large, nor were the congregations. This one found was one of the biggest, holding around 30 people. Oh, and the Mithras cult was purely made up of men. Which made less sense when I realised the Mithras sculpture was of a male and not a female as I first assumed from the picture I had seen.
Tickets are free, though you do need one to get in, and can be found here. Although the place has three floors, it is small and should only take twenty to thirty minutes to get through. I would recommend it.
After, we took a short walk to One New Change, a shopping centre right next to St. Pauls Cathedral. There are shops, restaurants and on Fridays, there are even a few booths from local shops set up on the ground floor. We went to take pictures from the terrace. The view is amazing and there is even a restaurant and bar if you want to spend more time enjoying it. We ended the event by having tea and sweets at the Museum of London’s café.
The history was amazing, the day great, and I can’t wait to share my next bridge-house activity with you.