What’s the first thing people want to see when in Sydney? That’s easy: the Sydney Opera House!
Thousands of visitors who visit Sydney throng to the Sydney Opera House daily to see one of the most distinctive buildings and performing arts venues globally.
The Sydney Opera House encountered storming waters during its construction, though. Many controversies, caused mainly by cost blow-outs and engineering disagreements, made its progress and completion difficult until the opening in 1973.
Why visit the Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House, with its unique and imposing shell-shaped building, gained global cultural significance over the years, thus becoming an iconic symbol for Australia and a worldwide recognisable image that was officially sealed when UNESCO in 2007 declared the Sydney Opera House a World Heritage Site.
To visit this iconic Australian landmark, there are many ways. The preferred and most genuine form of doing it is hanging around the Sydney Opera House, marvelling at its magnificent building while taking photos from as many angles as possible.
Interesting Sydney Opera House Facts
Many websites write about the intriguing history behind the building. Still, a great way of learning about curios Sydney Opera House facts is to take a Sydney Opera House Tour.
The guided tour takes an hour and is offered in English and several foreign languages. The tour shows you the building’s interior architecture, and as you walk through the halls, you can see the shells from more angles.
Moreover, you will watch two videos and view some of the theatres and concert halls. The tour guide will go through the interesting Sydney Opera House facts, from conception to completion of the building.
Below, I have prepared a recap of 15 Sydney Opera House Facts.
- Danish Architect Jørn Utzon is the man who designed the Sydney Opera House. He won a worldwide design competition.
- The building’s foundation was completed in 1959, 3 years before its design was developed.
- Due to disagreements, Utzon left the project before the building was completed.
- Fourteen years later, in October 1973, the Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elisabeth.
- The first Opera performance that took place was War and Peace.
- The original cost estimate for the building was 7millions in 1957. The final cost at the opening was 102 million.
- The government financed the project, covering part of the cost through a public lottery.
- In 1998 the opening of the 5th theatre brought the construction cost of the entire complex to 160 million Australian dollars.
- The shell roof sections are made of 2194 pre-cast concrete totalling a weight of 15 tons.
- The roof is covered with 1 million self-cleaning glazed granite tiles from a Swedish producer, 6200 square meters of glass panels and 645 km of electrical cables.
- The Opera House has two opera theatres, one drama theatre, one concert hall, 1 recital hall and over 1000 rooms.
- Over 3000 events are taking place year-round, attracting an audience of 2millions per year.
- Performances range from opera, dance, musicals, and plays to various performing arts and TV shows, conferences, courses, etc.
- Over 250,000 visitors take a guided walking tour, and over 6millions visitors visit the Sydney Opera House annually.
- In 2004 the former reception hall was redesigned by Utzon and renamed after him: The Utzon room is the only authentic interior design by Utzon.
From Denmark, Jørn Utzon commented: The naming gives me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. I don’t think you can give me more joy as an Architect. It supersedes any medal of any kind that I could get and have got.
Best places for taking Sydney Opera House Photos
Seeing the Sydney Opera House from afar it’s a great way of capturing the Sydney Opera House. Different perspectives and observation points can deliver unique images of this magnificent building, making it almost a living thing.
There are many places where you can view it and take photos. There is a viewing point named the Southern Pylon Lookout of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, popular among visitors for a clear view of the Opera House.
Best Vantage Points for taking Sydney Opera House Pictures:
If you wonder where you shall take photos, the choice is big.
- From the ferry on the Harbour
- From the Sydney Harbour Bridge lookouts.
- From the Royal Botanical Gardens.
- From the air on a Sydney helicopter tour.
My preferred Sydney Opera views are from the water and the air perspective because you can see the building as a whole complex and admire its design. Cruising the harbour is one of the fun outdoor things in Sydney.
Below are some Sydney Opera House photos from a scenic flight over Sydney. And from the ferry.
And this view of the Opera House from the ferry.
How to get to the Opera House
The easiest way is to walk from anywhere in Sydney City. The Sydney Opera House is located on Bennelong Point in the Sydney Harbour, close to Circular Quay and surrounded by a beautiful Sydney Harbour bridge setting. On the south, it faces the Royal Botanical Gardens.
If you are travelling by train or bus, get off at Circular Quay, which is only a few minutes walking distance. There is a good choice of fine restaurants and wine Bistros surrounding the Sydney Opera monumental area. The Mozart Bistro has meals at affordable prices.
There are also 5 Opera House Bars within the complex, providing outdoor terraces with a spectacular view over the Sydney Harbour. Now to get your visit to Sydney organised.
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