When you think of Sydney, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the Sydney Opera House. Grandiose as it may be, we believe the Queen Victoria Building deserves as much attention. Built on 1898, 61 years before the Opera House, the QVB is more than just your typical mall. Located on an entire block circled by Druitt, George, Market, and York street – right on the city’s central business district – this Romanesque Revival/art-deco building currently houses over 150 boutiques, mostly luxury brands, and over 20 cafes and restaurants.
Its history is undeniable even though the building has undergone through several renovations and even periods of decay. On top of that, it has served several other purposes before becoming an arcade mall, including a market, local government offices, and city libraries.
Its architecture is a testimony of how the classic Sydney craftsmanship can be transformed into a world-class structure that looks gorgeous in all angles. Its most prominent feature is its glass domes. The biggest one being a central dome located right at the centre. A common misconception about this is that it’s just one huge dome but in fact, it is actually two domes in one – a stained glass dome which is seen from the inside of the building and a copper one which is what people see from outside. In addition, there are also 20 smaller domes of various sizes adorning the building’s rooftop. The QVB also has several beautifully-stained glass windows which let natural light in, adding to the majestic feel of the arcade – none of that sterile fluorescent lighting. Lastly, look for the Royal Clock at the upper level of the mall and catch scenes of the English royal history through mechanical animation, including a comical depiction of the execution of King Charles I. These scenes run every hour, six times during the day.
To know more about the exhaustive history of this building, there are guided tours for $15 that runs every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Visit the Queen Victoria Building with the intention of either shopping and dining or just to admire this amazing work of art. But one thing is for sure, this architecturally rich structure will turn your other neighbourhood malls into a mediocre piece of box.
The Queen Victoria building is such a delight during the Christmas season. With events and grand decorations adorning the area, you are bound to get into the Christmas spirit right from stepping into its doors. If you are in the area, perhaps for the Sydney Tower or Weasley Conference Centre then I recommend using a car parking facility such as the one found here to park your car for the duration. Particularly during the holiday season while the area is busy, the car parking inspectors will be working even harder to issue those pesky tickets, so it's best to play it safe and reduce stress by organising your parking in advance.
For your bourgeoisie fix, the QVB has set up its Swarovski Christmas Tree adorned with 100,000 crystals and 65,000 twinkling lights. This stretches up to three floors with its heights reaching the central dome. This is the city’s tallest, and probably grandest, Christmas tree.
In addition, it also currently it houses the World’s Most Expensive Advent Calendar. Made by Mondial, this calendar costs about $4,000,000 AU. From December 1 until Christmas day, the QVB will reveal a new treasure every day so if you are a jewellery fan, make sure to be present when they open up one of the calendar’s doors.
To cap it all off, the mall will also have a constant parade of Christmas carollers running from the end of November until Christmas Eve. From children’s choirs, quartets, and acapella groups, sit back and listen to heavenly voices fill up the halls of QVB.