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LONDON 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's 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 km. 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 5 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 legens in England that the Tower will fall if it loses it's ravens. That's why these birds are carefully guarded. Wesminster is the aristocratic, official part of London. It's very attractive for tourists because it has historical places full of customs and 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 beutiful 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 wached 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 Tate Gallery, 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's an exhibition of hundreds of wax models of famous politicians, kings, queens, sportsmen. Here you can meet Elton John, Picasso, Lenin, Hitler, The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and so on. London has more than 80 theatres. The best known are the Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Theartre, 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. Oxford and Cambridge are the oldest universities in England. The capital has 17 bridges, the famous Tower Bridge being 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. But the most famous park is the Hyle Park because of its famous "Speaker's Corner" ( a corner where everyone can stands there with a microphone and tell other people whatever they want) The part of London, called Soho is known as restaurant centre where Londoners and visitors can taste Russian, Italian, Frech 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 lievs there. London is the chief port of the country, it has 2 airports and 16 railwaystations. London is an important manufacturing centre. It's well known for printing, film production, manufacture of clothing, food. Automobile and aircraft industries are centred there.
London is the capital city of England and of the United Kingdom. It is the most populous region of the country. Its history dates back over 2,000 years. During this time the city has underwent numerous outbreaks of plague, civil war, devastating fire, terrorist attacks and bombardments. Nevertheless, it has become one of the most beautiful, financially and culturally significant capitals in the world. The official history of London begins around AD 43. At that time, it was a civilian town (Londinium), established by the Romans shortly after their invasion. In around AD 60 London was destroyed by the Iceni tribe. The city continued to grow normally after this conquest and soon Londinium’s population was almost 30,000. During the 2nd century the city was at its height. With the population of 60,000 it became the capital of Brittania. The Roman occupation of London became to an end by the 5th century.
Certain archaeological excavations prove that Anglo-Saxon settlement of the city began as early as in the 5th or 6thcentury. It was then known as Lundenwic. While early Anglo-Saxon London belonged to Middle Saxons, by the 7th century it became the East Saxons’ kingdom. In the 650s King Sigeberht II established the Christianity in the kingdom. The 9th century was marked by frequent Viking attacks. By 1066 London was under the Norman regime. It was the time when the first stone castle in the country was built to replace a wooden fortification. The most important of these fortresses was the Tower of London. Many remarkable constructions were built during Norman and Medieval periods. For example, in 1097 the son of William the Conqueror started the building of Westminster Palace. The first bridge through the river Thames was built in 1176. Middle Age London was marked by a steady trade growth. London has survived series of tragic events. Thus, in 1348 England suffered from Bubonic Plague, brought from the continent. One third of the city population was killed by this illness. In 1381 London was stormed by angry peasants, who set fire to lots of buildings. This event is recorded in history as the Peasants’ Revolt.
By the 19th century the number of inhabitants reached 1 million. By that time London had become an artistic capital, which is reflected in many posh areas of the city. In the middle of the 19th century, due to potato famine, thousands of Irish refugees moved to London. In 1851 the First World Fair, also known as the Great Exhibition, was held in Hyde Park. This event was a tremendous success. It brought large amounts of money, which were later used to build the greatest museums of the city: the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum. By 1900 the population of London has reached 6 million people. The city was extensively bombed during the World War II. More than 35,000 people were killed and injured. In 1948 London hosted Summer Olympics. After the 1960s it has become an epicenter of youth culture.
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