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The Circus, Latin for “circular”, is an iconic building in the city of Bath, in Somerset, in England, consisting of three curved segments of Grade I listed townhouses arranged in a circular shape. Originally known as The King’s Circus, this 18th century landmark was designed by architect John Wood, the Elder, although he never lived to see his plans turned into reality as he died less than three months after the first stone was laid in 1754. His son, John Wood the Younger, completed the building in 1768.

Wood wanted to create a classical Palladian architectural landscape for the city. His inspiration was the Roman Colosseum, but whereas the Colosseum was designed to be seen from the outside, the Circus faces inwardly. If you look closely at the detail on the stonework and you’ll see many emblems, such as serpents, acorns, nautical symbols, devices representing the arts and sciences, and masonic symbols. Wood was also fascinated by prehistoric stone circles. The acorns atop the Circus parapets is thought to be his tribute to the druids, who were supposed to have created the Stonehenge.

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