The capital of the UK is London . It is a very old and big city. London is situated at mouth of the Thames-river. First mentions about a settlement there date back to the time when Celtic tribes lived on the British Isles , and it was long before Christi. In the first centuries of the Christian era London became an important city of the Roman Empire . And in the 12 th century it already was the capital of England . London consists of several main districts, and also includes numerous suburbs. The main districts had formed during the long life of the city. For example, the City is the center of business life with many banks, offices and different enterprises except for industrial ones. In the Westminster historic buildings and other places of interest are concentrated, and this also the district where the Queen lives. There also such districts as West-End, East-End, Cheap-Side, and their names are well-known in the world due to English literature.
There are many historic buildings, various museums, galleries, and other places of interest in London .
The Tower is a world-famous symbol of London , it is more than 900 years old. During long-long centuries it was a fortress, a royal palace, a prison… But now it is one of the most popular museums. The Tower is guarded by Yeomen Warders who wear splendid scarlet and gold uniforms. The Tower is famous for the ravens are too – a legend says that without them the Tower will fall. That’s why all employees of the museum as well as the tourists take care of these birds.
Almost all English Kings and Queens had been crowned in Westminster Abbey. It is one of the most beautiful buildings of London . Inside one can see memorials to great English poets and writers, as well as to scientists and other outstanding English people. For example, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton are buried here.
The beautiful Buckingham Palace is the London home of the Queen. It was built in the 18th century and rebuilt in the 19th century by the architect John Nash.
Every day the traditional ceremony of Changing the Guards takes place there.
The Houses of Parliament is, in fact, the seat of the British Parliament. It was first built in the 12 th century and then it changed its appearance many times. The last rebuilding was made in 1857. The Houses of Parliament has two towers. One of them is the Clock Tower, or Big Ben – a famous London landmark.
England ‘s great architect Sir Christopher Wren is the author of St. Paul ‘s Cathedral, which was built between instead of the old cathedral that was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666. There is a golden ball and cross on the top of the Cathedral that can be seen from far away.
The world-famous Natural History Museum is known for its beautiful galleries and expositions, for example “Human biology”, “History of the Earth”, “Discovering mammals”, and so on. The Museum was opened in April 1881.
Western European paintings created in the period from about 1250 to 1900 are represented in the National Gallery’s permanent collection. There are paintings by Italian masters such as Raphael and Veronese , as well as Rembrandt, Rubens and El Greco.
The British Museum was founded in 1753 due to the efforts of three rich men – Sir Robert Cotton, Sir Hans Sloane and King George II. They donated their private collections and libraries to the museum. Now one can see items from ancient Greece , Rome , Egypt , China and Japan in the British Museum .
The Tate Gallery grew out of the collection of paintings which belonged to Sir Henry Tate, who donated this collection to the State in 1897. Now the Tate Gallery has become the national collection of British painting. A large collection of European 20th-century art is shown in the gallery too.
Trafalgar Square is the centre of modern London . One can see a column in the middle of it. This is the Nelson’s Column placed here in honour of Admiral Lord Nelson who destroyed the French Fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar.