London, the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, is situated on the banks of the river Thames. The city is very old, it is more than 20 centuries. Its population is nearly 9 million people. The area known as “Great London” occupies the territory of about 1.8 thousand square kilometres.
The capital of the country is the important financial centre and one of the largest ports of the world. Administratively London is divided into 33 districts, but at the same time there are some parts of London, which have some distinctive features: the West End, the East End, the City, Westminster.
The City of London is the commercial centre of all the country. It contains the Bank of England, business firms, companies, corporations, office buildings. Besides the Bank of England, London has five largest commercial banks of the United Kingdom and well-known London Stock Exchange.
The masterpiece of architecture in the City today is St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Christopher Wren, the famous English architect of the 17th century. In this Cathedral there are statues and tombs of the national English heroes: Nelson, Wellington and others.
The Tower of London is an old castle, situated in the City. It was used as a fortress , a palace and a prison. During its long period of existence it was time when the Tower was even the Zoo. It was the Royal Zoo, of course. Now the Tower is a museum and houses the Crown jewels and other treasures. There is a legend in England that the Tower will fall if it loses it’s ravens. That is why these birds are carefully guarded.
Westminster is the aristocratic, official part of London. It is very attractive for tourists because it has historical places full of customs ad traditions. Parliament is situated in the Palace of Westminster. The famous Big Ben, the clock from which all people of this country take the time is in one of its beautiful towers..
Westminster Abbey is very beautiful church, which is more than 900 years old. Nearly all the kings and queens of Britain were crowned and buried there. Many famous people of this country were buried in the Abbey, among them Newton, Darwin, Dickens, Kipling and others. In the Poet’s corner there are memorials to Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Scott, Thackeray and Longfellow.
The official residence of the Queen of England is Buckingham Palace. The changing of the guard before Buckingham Palace several times a day is watched by hundreds of people.
London has 30 museums. One of the best known museums is the British Museum, its library has unique collection of manuscripts; the richest collection of antiquities and seven million of books. The Art Galleries of London such as the TaleJjallerv, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts are considered to be the largest in the British Commonwealth.
Visitors of London are surprised by the famous Madam tussaud’s Exhibition, which was opened in 1802. It is an exhibition of hundreds of wax models of famous politicians, kings, queens, sportsmen. Here you can meet Elton John, Picasso, Lenin, Hitler, The Beatles and so on.
London has more than 80 theatres. The best known are the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Old Vic located in the West End of London.
London is the centre of education and science. Higher educational establishments among which the London University, the British Academy, the Greenwich Observatory are well known in the world.
The capital has 17 bridges, the famous Tower Bridge being the most attractive among them.
Nice parks and gardens of the capital are loved by inhabitants of the city. The capital has a number of beautiful parks such as Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, St.James Park, Green Park, Regent Park and others. Regent Park has open air theatre, where every summer Shakespeare’s comedies are performed. Regent Park has the largest Zoo in the country. Here you can feed the ducks and watch the pelicans. In Hyde Park you can see famous “Speaker’s Corner”.
The part of London, called Soho is known as restaurant centre where Londoners and visitors can taste Russian, Italian, French exotic food. This is also the district of cinema producers. All the biggest film companies have offices in Soho. The capital has more than 200 cinemas and a lot of concert halls.
The East End of the capital includes the Port of London, Docks and the poorest districts. Rather unattractive in appearance it is very important to the country’s commerce.
The streets of London are always of great interest to tourists. Fleet Street is the street of British Press. Oxford, Regent, Bond streets are the main shopping centres. Downing Street is famous as the official residence of the Prime Minister of the country. Piccadilly Circus is the place where people gather on New Year’s Eve.
The English are fond of sports, they have a great number of sport federations, associations and clubs. The most interesting tennis and football competitions and tournaments are held in Wimbledon court and Wembley stadium.
The West End is the richest and the most beautiful part of London, symbol of wealth and luxury. English aristocracy lives there.
London is the chief port of the country, it has 2 airports and 16 railwaystations.
London is an important manufacturing centre. It is well known for printing, film production, manufacture of clothing, food. Automobile and aircraft industries are centred there.
The oldest underground called “tube” is still one of the largest in the world. It was opened in 4863. The famous red double-deckers are also an important part of the public transport system.