London

London is the capital of Great Britain, its political, economic
and commercial centre. It is one of the largest cities in the
world (together with Tokyo and New York) and the largest city in
Europe.

The city is very old. It has more then 20 centuries old history.
Once, London was a small Roman town on the north bank of the Thames, but
slowly it grew into one of the world’s major cities with population of
about 8 million. Fewer people live in the centre now, but the suburbs
are still growing.

Traditionally London is divided into several parts: the City,
Westminster, the West End and the East End. They are very
different from each other.

The city is the oldest part of London, it’s financial and
business centre. Numerous banks, offices and firms are
concentrated here including the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange
and the Old Bailey. Few people live in the City but over a million
come to work here. Two masterpieces are situated within the City:
St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. St. Paul’s
Cathedral was built in the 17th century by Christopher Wren. The
Tower of London was built in the 11th century. It was used as a
fortress, a palace and a prison. Now it’s a museum.

Westminster is the aristocratic official part of London. It
includes Buckingham Palace where the Queen lives and the Houses of
Parliament stretching for nearly 1000 feet along the north bank of
the Thames. The Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous
for its big hour bell, known as «Big Ben».

Westminster Abbey is the place where coronation of nearly all kings
and queens has taken place. Many of them are buried here as
well as some other famous people of the country (G. Chaucer,
Tennyson, Newton, Ch. Dickens, T. Hardy, R. Kipling, etc.).

The West End is the richest and most beautiful part of London.
It is a symbol of wealth and luxury. The best hotels,
restaurants, shops, clubs, parkland houses are situated there.
English aristocracy lives in this region. One of the busiest
streets in the West End is Oxford street. There are many various
shops in it which attract — customers from different countries of
the world.

By the day the whole of London is busy. At night, the offices are quiet
and empty, but the West End stays alive, because this is where Londoners
come to enjoy themselves. There are two opera houses here, several
concert halls and many theatres, as well as cinemas, and in nearby Soho
the pubs, restaurants and night-clubs are busy half the night.

Trafalgar Square is the geographical centre of London. It was
named in the memory of Admiral Nelson’s victory at the battle of
Trafalgar in 1805. The tall Nelson’s Column stands in the middle
of the square.

Opposite the Nelson’s monument is the National Gallery and the
National Portrait Gallery. They contain the finest art
collections in the world. Not far from the National Gallery is the
British Museum famous for its rich library (about 7,000,000
books).

One of the most popular museums in London is Madame Tussaud’s. Almost
every visitor has seen Madame Tussaud, an old lady of 81 standing at the
entrance of her own exhibition. She is made of wax, like all the models
of people in the museum. Madame Tussaud’s brings together a host
contemporary celebrities from many different walks of life during many
centuries. Kings and queens, politicians and military leaders,
presidents and writers, scientists and musicians, actors and actresses
stand, sit and lie in many different rooms of exhibition. The history of
Madame Tussaud’s goes back over 200 years during which time the
exhibition has formed an integral part of experience of countless
million of visitor to London.

The East End is an industrial district of London. There are
many factories and the Port of London there. The region is
densely populated by working class families, those people who have
built the palaces of the West End. Old residents of the East End
are proud to be called cockneys, which means true Londoners, hereditary
inhabitants of the area. They love the district very much.

London is situated on the river Thames. A hundred years ago, the river
was crowded by ships, leaving for Java and Japan, New Zealand and New
York, but now people travel by air, and London’s main airport, Heathrow,
is one of the busiest in the world.

The London Underground is the oldest one in the world. The first line,
opened in second middle of XIX century, was like a tube. That’s why it
was called the Tube.

Like all big cities, London has streets and concrete buildings, but it
also has many big parks, full of trees, flowers and grass. Sit on the
grass (you’re allowed to!) in the middle of Hyde Park or Kensington
Gardens, and you will think that you’re in the countryside, miles away.

London is one of the world’s most enjoyable capital of Europe.

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