IELTS Cue Card: A historical building in your country or city

A historical building in your country or city

IELTS Cue Card Question 22 With Model Answer: 

Talk about a historical building in your country or city that you know.

You should say:
  • what and where is it?
  • when was it built? Why?
  • what is it known for?
and describe this historic building.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


Model Answer 1:
History talks about the past. It narrates the events that have gone by. Usually, humans cannot go back to the past but could have a look on the relics to learn and imagine about the past. Usually, the historical buildings remember the past events when people go visiting the places.

In my country, South Africa, we have some historical places and structures and among them, the ‘Union Buildings’ is considered as one of the most important historical places in the country and the centre of politics in the country. Actually, the building is the official place for the government of South Africa and simultaneously the President resides in the house. The house is situated in Pretoria by covering the largest space in the locality under Arcadia and is adjacently accompanied by Church Square (another historical place of the country) and another monument named Voortrekker Monument. The building is a South African national heritage site and once it was the largest building the entire country and region.  

The building was founded in 1910 (in fact the foundation stone was set up on the spot it is standing today) after lots of speculation. It was necessary to establish a building like that to run all the necessary administrative activities of the country. In the beginning, the entire area was a colony and all the colonies started becoming united in 1910 and formed the Union of South Africa. The current location – Pretoria was considered as the administrative capital of the country. So, when the capital started working effectively, the requirement of a building to accommodate all the staffs, officials and host a new government was highly needed. Later, based on the Union Buildings, the entire city was planned.

The building is mostly known for hosting the governmental offices and as the resident of the President of South Africa. A large number of political decisions have been taken and implemented from the building and it has been serving as the nucleus of politics in South Africa. Moreover, the building is the sign of the finest architecture in South Africa in terms of different attractive internal decorations and establishments.

The ‘Union Buildings’ has a unique design with fountains, pools, trees, an amphitheatre and the interior design is based on the Cape Dutch Style. All the doors of the building are made with heavy timbers and furniture is also made with similar woods for durability with the Rhodesian teak. Indigenous materials have also been used to beautify the interior. Granite and sandstones have been used for making the courtyards. The building is named after the Union of South Africa which was founded in 1910 by the unification of the then colonies. Over 1000 workers, artisans and workmen have worked for over three years to make the building and the building was done by 1913. The structure was designed by Sir Herbert Baker.

With the emerging demands, the house was allotted to the President of South Africa although in the beginning it was aimed to house the Public Service of the Union of South Africa. Regarding the construction, imported materials have been used but the traditional South African materials have also been prioritised. The architecture is the blend of Italian and English renaissance with the association of Cape Dutch impression.


Model Answer 2:
India is the land of history and the histories have been created by different rulers at different times. Now the rulers are absent but their relics are visible. The Mysore Palace is one of those spots which remind the olden days of India.

This is a royal palace located in Mysore under Karnataka in the southern part of India. This is a historical building and was the seat of the royal family in Mysore who also ruled the locality during the 12th century. This is now one of the most stunning tourist attractions in the country and has gained fame for some specific reasons. Mysore is known as the city of palaces but the Palace of Mysore is the most important one for its large structure and architectural designs and perfections.

The first palace in Mysore was built in the 14th century by King Yaduraya and he had built the palace inside the Old Fort with residential purposes. But with the change of times and necessities, the palace was demolished and again was constructed to meet the needs. After being burnt, another new palace was constructed at the same place during the ruling period of Rajarshi Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV in 1897. The construction of the new palace was done by 1912 inside the Old Fort replacing the damaged one, and gradually it was expanded in 1940. The Public Durbar Hall was included in the expansion as part of its beautification. Before constructing of the new palace, the inhabitants used to live in a nearby Jaganmohan Palace and gradually shifted to the Mysore palace.

The Mysore Palace is mostly known for its architectural beauty and its linkage with the royal family. In fact, the palace is the official seat for the rulers of Mysore who have ruled the land from 1399 to 1950. The Mysore Palace is located on the central part of Mysore and is renowned for its durbar halls. There are two large durbar halls and they played the roles of holding different events and meetings organised by the rulers and royal family members living in the Palace. Besides, the beautiful garden, large courtyard and buildings are also noteworthy to increase the Palace’s beauty. A large number of crowds from different parts of the world come here to visit the Palace and enjoy its beauty.

This is one of the most remarkable historical building in India and the architectural design of the building is known as Indo-Saracenic. As a result, almost all available styles like Muslim, Rajput, Gothic and Hindu styles have been blended here. When it was commissioned, the design appeared to be weird but with the passage of time, the oddity of the design has been removed and now it has become a symbol of Mysore. The entire structure is made of stones while the domes of the Palace are made with marble. This is a three-story building with a tower measuring 145 feet. The entire palace is surrounded by a large beautiful garden with three entrances.

Part 3: Detail Discussion:

Q. Is it important to conserve old buildings? Why?
A. The old buildings are the representatives of the history. They tell the past stories of thousand years and let us know about different issues like how they lived, how their living styles were, what they did, what sort of construction style they had and more other necessary information. If the historical buildings are not preserved, people will be unable to learn about their pasts. It is important to know about the origin, the forefathers and the past in order to live with dignity. If the important buildings are not preserved, the national history will go under oblivion. Moreover, the young generation of a country will be unaware of its history and the greatness of the nation. Usually, the old buildings contain the relics and people develop their idea over their past which is another cause for preserving the old establishments.

Q. Is the history useful for the coming generations? Why?
A. History is always useful. It teaches us different important lessons and most of the people who have succeeded in life have taken their learning from the history. So, history is also useful for the coming generations. It may happen that they are in some sort of trouble and if they look back in history, they will find that there were some other people who also had the same troubles and got rid in any specific way. Thus, history helps them to get out of any troublesome situation. Moreover, if they are in any critical situations, they could take help of history, but it should be remembered that history does always not refer the events old about 100 years.

Q. What is the difference between houses built in the past and now?
A. The basic difference between the house of past and current is space. Earlier, the houses were made more spacious and covered large spaces to be built. But with the increasing population, the houses are made in small space and the number of houses is on the increase. Moreover, the past houses were designed after different distinctive styles. There were ample spaces for recreation and entertainment for the residents. But in the current days, apartments are being made with lower space and even at times they do not have proper walking space in the staircase. Earlier, the houses covered horizontal space but now they are vertical.

Q. What are the differences in sizes of houses? Why?
A. The house sizes are different for various reasons and the top most cause is the increased population around the world. To meet the demand of the growing population, the house sizes are becoming small. Currently, it is almost impossible to build a house covering a large space for the living of a family in a comfortable manner rather the large space could be used to build apartment blocks or residential towers that could house several families instead of one family. Accommodation is one of the greatest challenges in the coming days and already people are experiencing the problem in different cities of the world.

Q. Do you prefer a big or a small house? Why?
A. I prefer living in a big house because the environment of a big house is comfortable. The houses are made in such manner that light and air could pass easily. Moreover, the houses allow the people exercising some hobbies (I like gardening) and if there are spaces, the residents could make gardens before the house which will increase the beauty of the house. But if it is a small house, the options are rare. Moreover, the architectural style of the big houses is usually very attractive and good looking which attracts me more. But the small houses are made commercially to accommodate people, not to exercise their hobbies.

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