London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. It is rated among the largest cities in the world. The town is situated on the river Thames in south-east of England. London has a population of over 8 million people. Most Londoners are of British nationality, but there live also many migrants with different religions and cultures. London is one of the world's leading business, financial and cultural centres. The town is made up of the City of London and 32 boroughs. The centre of London consists of the City of London and the City of Westminster.
CITY OF LONDON
The largest part of the town with a lot of sights is called the City of London. East part of the City is the East End. The East End is a place where many new immigrants and working people live. There are many shops, theatres and cinemas in the West End. The City of London is an international finance centre and the famous London Stock Exchange can be found here.
The top attraction for tourists in London is the Tower of London. William the Conqueror began to build this fortress in 1066. The Tower served till 16th century as a royal home, a prison, a royal mint and an observatory. Now it is a museum where tourist can admire expositions of weapons and the Crown Jewels. There is also the prison where many famous persons were kept and even put to death, such as Sir Thomas More, Anne Boleyn and
Catherine Howard and many others. The Tower is guarded by the Yeomen Warders who still wear the uniform of Turod times.
The most famous bridge is Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge has stood over the River Thames in London since 1894. It is the only bridge on the Thames which can be raised.
The largest church of the city is St. Paul´s Cathedral. It was built by Christopher Wren in the Baroque style. The cathedral stands on the site of the previous cathedral which was damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666. Many important events took place here, for example the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer or the funeral service of Sir Winston Churchill. Admiral Nelson and Sir Wren are buried there.
Not far from St. Paul Cathedral tourists can find the Monument whichcommemorates the place where the Great Fire of London started.
THE CITY OF WESTMINSTER
This part of the town is known as the centre of political and administrative life of the country. The Houses of parliament are situated on the left bank of the Thames. They were rebuilt in Neo-gothic style after fire in 1834. The oldest part of the building- Westminster Hall remained preserved. House of Lords and the House of Commons are open to public and visitors can hear debates from the Visitor´s Gallery. The House of Lords is a gothic hall with the throne of the Sovereign.
Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock tower which belongs to the Houses of Parliament. The chimes of Big Ben were first broadcast by the BBC in 1923, a tradition that continues to this day.In June 2012 the House of Commons announced that the clock tower was to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II.
Westminster Abbey is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs. There is famous Coronation Chair and Poet’s corner with monuments of some famous poets like John Milton and William Shakespeare.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the Queen. When the Queen is at home, visitors can see her royal flag flying from the flag pole on top of Buckingham Palace. This flag is called the Royal Standard. The first monarch to live in Buckingham Palace was the Queen Victoria. In front of the Buckingham Palace the Changing of the Guard takes place. During August and September the Queen makes her yearly visit to Scotland allowing to open up the palace to the public.
Close to this complex is 10 Downing Street. It has been the official home of the Prime Minister since 1735.
Trafalgar square is considered to be the best-known square in London. Its name commemorates the victory of Admiral Nelson over Napoleon. There is Nelson´s Column in the middle of the square. The square serves as a meeting place for tourists, demonstrations and celebrations. One side of the square forms the National Gallery. Visitors can see one of the greatest collections of paintings from 13th to 20th century. A short way from Trafalgar Square lies Piccadilly Circus. It is the centre of entertainment with many theatres, cinemas, night clubs and restaurants. There is a statue of Eros – the god of Love in the middle of Piccadilly.
The British Museum is the largest museum in the world. It houses many antiquities from ancient Greece, Rome and the Orient, Egyptian mummies, medieval manuscripts.Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is another interesting museum. It contains wax life-size models of famous people from history and today from all over the world. The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a museum dedicated to the famous detective Sherlock Holmes.
London is rich in parks and gardens. The most popular is Hyde Park. There is the Speaker´s Corner where everybody can speak without fear of being arrested for their opinions. Hyde Park continues with Kensington Gardens where the Albert Memorial is situated. Another famous park is St. Jame’s Park offering lakes, gardens and a zoo.
Pop and rock fans can visit many of London’s music arenas, especially Wembley Arena. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian of the world.
Oxford Street, Regent Street and Covent Garden are the most visited shopping streets in London.
The quickest way how to get around in London is the Underground, also called the Tube. It is the oldest underground in the world. There are also three airports in London, including Heathrow, which is the busiest airport in the world. Another typical kind of transport in London are red double-decker buses. Tourists can also use famous taxis called black cabs.
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