Covent Garden is most famed for the magnificent, glass-rooved building that dominates its centre, and which used to be a thriving fruit and vegetable market, but has since become the London Transport Museum. These days, the area pulls in around 30million visitors and tourists every year, drawn towards its many well-known open-air cafés, restaurants, pubs and market stalls. Not to mention its highly reccomended theaters, such as The Royal Opera House, and its street performers, who work day-in-day-out in the public square, to entertain Covent Garden's visitors.
The area actually started out as a vegetable field for Westminister Abbey in the middle ages, and was known as 'The Garden of the Abbey and Convent', which was later shortened to its current name. The land was confiscated in 1540, and nearly a century later, famous architect Inigo Jones transformed the area into a luxury neighbourhood, under the command of the 4th Earl of Bedford. Inigo was very partial to Italian design, and created London's first public square, complete with piazzas and arcade buildings, and overlooked by the church of St Paul, much as we see it today.
It wasn't until 1830, when the market had grown so large it covered the entire square (mostly due to the great fire of London in 1666), that Central Market building was constructed, its glass roof panes being added later in 1875 and 1889. The Flower Market building and Jubilee building were added in 1870 and 1904 respectively.
In 1973, it was decided that the area was unsuitable for London's busy market, which subsequently moved to Nine Elms, and the area was transformed into the successful shopping and leisure centre we see today.