15 Sydney Opera House Facts

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 every day throng to the Sydney Opera House to see one of the most distinctive buildings and performing arts venues globally.

The Sydney Opera House encountered storming waters during its construction, though. Lots of controversies, mostly caused by costs blow-outs and engineering disagreements, made its progress and completion difficult till the opening in 1973.

Sydney Opera House at night
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Why and How shall you visit the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House, with its unique and imposing shell-shaped building, gained over the years global cultural significance, thus becoming not only an iconic symbol for Australia but also a worldwide recognisable image that was officially sealed when UNESCO in 2007 declared the Sydney Opera House a World Heritage Site.

To visit this Australian iconic landmark, there are many ways, probably the preferred and most genuine way of doing it is hanging around the Sydney Opera House, marvelling at its magnificent building while taking photos from as many angles as you can.

Sydney Opera House Facts
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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 as well as in several foreign languages. The tour shows you the building’s interior architecture, and as you walk through the halls, you will be able to see the shells from more angles.

Moreover, you will watch 2 videos and view some of the theatres and concert halls. The tour guide will go through the major Sydney Opera House facts, from conception to completion of the building.

Here below, I have prepared a recap of 15 Sydney Opera House Facts.

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  1. Danish Architect Jørn Utzon is the man who designed the Sydney Opera House. He won the worldwide design competition.
  2. The building’s foundation was completed in 1959, 3 years before its design was developed.
  3. Due to disagreements, Utzon left the project before the building was completed.
  4. 14 years later, in October 1973, the Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elisabeth.
  5. The first Opera performance that took place was War and Peace.
  6. The original cost estimate for the building was 7millions in 1957. The final cost at the opening was 102millions.
  7. The project was financed mainly by the government, and part of the cost was covered through a public lottery.
  8. In 1998 the opening of the 5th theatre brought the construction cost of the entire complex to 160millions Australian dollars.
    SOH Shells
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  9. The shell roof sections are made of 2194 pre-cast concrete totalling a weight of 15 tons.
  10. The roof is covered with 1million self-cleaning glazed granite tiles from a Swedish producer, 6200 square meters of glass panels and 645 km of electrical cables.
  11. In the Opera House, there are 2 opera theatres, 1 drama theatre, 1concert hall, 1 recital hall and over 1000 rooms.
  12. Over 3000 events take place all year round and attract an audience of 2millions per year.
  13. Performances range from opera, dance, musicals, plays to various performing arts and TV shows, conferences, courses, etc.
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  14. Over 250,000 visitors take a guided walking tour, and over 6millions visitors come to see the Sydney Opera House every year.
  15. 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 the Architect. It supersedes any medal of any kind that I could get and have got.

Best places for taking Sydney Opera House Photos

Seeing Sydney Opera House from afar it’s a great way of capturing the Sydney Opera House. Different perspectives and points of observation 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, which is 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.

  1. From the ferry on the Harbour
  2. From the Sydney Harbour Bridge lookouts.
  3. From the Royal Botanical Gardens.
  4. 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 things to do in Sydney city.

Here below some Sydney Opera House photos taken from a scenic flight over Sydney. And from the ferry.

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And this view of the Opera House from the ferry.

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How to get to Sydney Opera House

The easiest way is to walk from anywhere in Sydney City. The Sydney Opera House is located on the Bennelong Point into 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 distances. 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. For guided tours, you can check these day tours from Sydney.

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