The spiritual and political heart of the city, the Palace of Westminster was built here a thousand years ago and has served as a royal household, seat of government, and abbey. The square was planned as part of the rebuilding program after a fire destroyed the palace in 1834. Usually known as the Houses of Parliament, the new Palace of Westminster stands opposite Westminster Abbey. On the north side of the square, Parliament Street leads to Whitehall and No. 10 Downing Street.