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London (Лондон)

Продолжение серии материалов «Cultural Reader», информация о Великобритании.
Перейти в начало — Great Britain (Общая информация о Великобритании), British Climate (Климат Британии), National Stereotypes (Национальные стереотипы).
Следующие статьи - Famous British Cities and Towns (Британские города и поселки), British Educational System (Система образования Британии), British Holidays (Британские праздники).


London is the capital and the largest city of the UK. Its population is about 8 and a half million. London is the country’s main industrial and financial centre. London is also one of the largest ports in the UK. It is linked with all parts of the country by roads and railways. Besides, London is a great educational and cultural centre.

Traditionally London is divided into several parts: the City, Westminster, the West End and the East End. The heart of London is the City, its financial and business centre. There are a lot of banks, offices and firms there, including the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and the Old Bailey. Few people live here, but over a million come to the City to work.

The City is famous for its oldest part, the Tower of London, which was founded by Julius Caesar and rebuilt in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. For many centuries the Tower has been a fortress. But at various periods of history it was also used as a Royal Palace, a prison, a royal treasury, a mint, an arsenal, a Royal observatory and even a Royal Zoo. It is now a museum of arms and armour and as one of the strongest fortresses in Britain, it contains Crown Jewels. The Tower is guarded by the famous ’Beefeaters’ in the picturesque uniforms. The Ravens are also a part of its history. There is a legend that if the ravens disappear, the British monarchy will fall. That’s why their wings are cutback and they are carefully guarded.

St. Paul’s Cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the 17th century is one of the most famous churches in the world. It took Sir Christopher Wren 35 years to build this masterpiece. It is a beautiful building with many columns and towers. The magnificent classical structure is crowned by the dome. Inside the dome there are scenes from the life of St. Paul. Here too is the famous Whispering Gallery, where the words whispered into the stone wall can be heard right round the other side. There are many memorials in the Cathedral including those to heroes such as Wellington and Nelson.

Westminster is now the political centre of London. The Palace of Westminster is among the world’s most famous buildings. It houses the British Parliament and is often called the Houses of Parliament. The Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big hour bell, known as’Big Ben’. Many government buildings, including 10 Downing Street, the official residence of Prime Ministers for more than 250 years, are nearby.

Opposite the Houses of Parliament there is Westminster Abbey where from the Norman times British monarchs have been crowned and later buried. Many other famous people are also buried in Westminster Abbey including statesmen, musicians and writers. In the Poets’ Corner one can find the tombs of William Shakespeare, Byron, T. S. Eliot and others.

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen. London’s most popular spectacle is the Changing of the Guard. It takes place in the forecourt and lasts about 30 minutes.

The West End is the name given to the area of central London which includes the main shopping areas of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, and the entertainment centres of Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square. It’s the richest and most beautiful part of London. The best hotels, shops and restaurants, clubs and theatres are situated there.
Trafalgar Square, which is also in the West End, is considered to be the geographical centre of London. It was laid out in memory of Lord Nelson’s great victory of 1805 in the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson’s Column in the middle of the square commemorates this national hero, who died during the battle.

There are a lot of museums and galleries in London. On the north side of Trafalgar Square there is the National Gallery, one of the finest art galleries in the world. The biggest museum in London is the British Museum. It contains a priceless collection of ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures and is famous for its library.

The East End covers a wide area to the east of the City and is quite different from the other parts of London. There are many warehouses and factories producing clothes there. It is also one of those areas of London where working class people live.

The Royal Parks of London — St. James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and Regent’s Park — are London’s lungs.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.

Следующая статья серии - Famous British Cities and Towns (Британские города и поселки).

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