London (Part 1)
London is the capital of Great Britain. Once, London was a small Roman town on the north bank of the River Thames, where the Romans landed nearly 2000 years ago. But slowly it grew into one of the world's major cities. From about 1800 until World War II, London was the biggest city in the world, but now there are many cities which are much bigger. Now London has a population of about 6,770,000. It lies on the River Thames. London is interesting for many things. In London one meets the past and the present, the old and the modern.
Tourists come from all over the world to visit its historic buildings, such as St Paul's Cathedral, which has a huge dome, and the Houses of Parliament, where you can see and hear the famous clock, Big Ben. The clock Big Ben came into service in 1859. Big Ben is the biggest clock bell in Britain. It weighs 13.5 tons. Tourists also come to visit its theatres, museums, and numerous shops, such as Harrods, Marks & Spencer, Next, Gap, Selfridges ("The customer is always right", said the department store owner H. Gordon Selfridge) where you can buy everything.
Like, many big cities, London has problems with traffic and pollution. Over 1,000,000 people a day use the London Underground. The London Underground is the oldest one in the world. The first line was opened in 1870. It was like a tube, that's why it was called the Tube. English people call the old lines the Tube, the new lines the Underground: There are still too many cars in the streets. The air isn't clean, but it is cleaner than it used to be 100 years ago until the Clean Air Act was adopted in 1956, when London was famous for "smog", which is a mixture of smoke and fog. The best thing about London is the parks. There are five in the city centre. The parks of London are the places, where Londoners and visitors can escape from the noise of the city streets and relax under the park trees. You may 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 country, miles away.
1. Answer the questions.
1) What is London's population?
2) Where is Big Ben situated?
3) What problems with pollution and traffic does London have?
4) What is the best thing about London?
2. Write about your capital using the sentences from the text.
1) Once, the city was a small town on the bank of the River...
2) It lies on the River...
3) Tourists come from all over the world to visit its historic buildings, such as ...
4) This place is the historical area of the city...
5) Like many big cities, the city has problems with traffic and pollution ...
3. Compare British and your capitals. Find the things that are common and the things that are different.
London (Part 2)
London is traditionally divided into 4 main parts. They are Westminster, the: City, the West End and the East End. Different areas of London seem like different cities. Westminster is the historical area of London. Famous monuments and buildings are located there. One of the most beautiful places is Westminster Abbey, famous for its architecture and history. Nearly all Kings and Queens have been crowned in the Abbey, since the time of Conquest. Chaucer, Spencer, Dickens, Newton, Darwin and many other famous Englishmen and writers were buried there. There are memorials to Shakespeare, Milton, Burns and many other English poets and writers in the Poet's Corner .
The official London residence of the Queen is Buckingham Palace. It was built in the 18th century. The City is the oldest part of London. It's only one square.mile in area but it is the most important Ranking and commercial centre of the country. Only 10 thousand people live here, but in the daytime millions of people come here to work.
The West End is the richest and the most fashionable part of London. The most interesting places can be found here. The Trafalgar Square is in the centre of the West End. One can see the statue of Lord Nelson in the middle of this square. The Tower of London comes first among the historic buildings of London. The Tower dates from the Roman times and in different periods of British history it was a fortress, a royal palace, a prison and a King's treasury. Now it's a museum of armour and also a place where the Crown Jewels are kept. At night, the offices in this part are quiet and empty, but the West End stays alive, because Londoners come to enjoy themselves. There are two opera houses here, several concert halls and many theatres, as well as cinemas, and in nearby the place Soho is situated where you can find pubs, restaurants and nightclubs which are busy half the night.
The East End of London is considered to be a district for the working people. There are many factories, workshops, docks there. The old port area is called "Docklands". But the time of the great ships has gone, and the area is changing Very fast. Some of the poor areas have become fashionable now, and people of means are moving into them. One can say that the City is the money of London, the West End is the goods of London, the East End is the hands of London. Fewer people live in the centre now, but the suburbs- are still growing. Many small villages, like Hampstead, Chelsea and Mayfair, became the parts of London, but they still keep some of their old atmosphere.
The places to visit in London
Victoria and Albert Museum
It's an outstanding museum, displaying applied arts of all disciplines, all periods, all nationalities, and all tastes. This museum referred to as V & A. Prince Albert was responsible for the foundation of this permanent version of the 1851 Great Exhibition. See it and you will never forget it.
The Tate Gallery
It was given to the nation by a rich sugar merchant, Sir Henry Tate, who had a taste for the fine arts. It overlooks the Thames, not far from the Houses of Parliament. English artists are naturally well-represented . here, and the gallery also has a lot of modern works, including some sculptures by foreign artists.
The National Gallery
It is situated on the north side of Trafalgar Square and contains Britain's best known collection of 2,200 pictures. The collection was begun in 1824, with the purchase of thirty-eight pictures. The gallery is rich in paintings by Italian masters, it contains pictures, representative of all European schools of art, and of course, the best English tradition, including Turner, Hogarth, Gainsborough, Stubbs and Constable. Admission to the gallery is free, as is the case with other British national museums and galleries.
The British Museum
This is the world famous museum. Aljow plenty of time here. There are 4 kilometres of the space inside,. split into nearly 100 galleries of treasures from everywhere in the world, some as old as humankind itself. This unique collection, in brief, represents the progress of civilization. You'll find here such rarities as Rosetta Stone, carved in 196 ВС, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the famous Magna Carta, Egyptian Mummies and a lot more unique exhibits.
The National Portrait Gallery
The collection which is arranged chronologically begins on the top floor (Level 5) with the Tudors. Each room has been given a particular historical theme. The gallery was founded in 1856 to collect the portraits of famous British men and women. The visitor can see portraits of British monarchs since the reign of Richard II (1377—1399), and of historical celebrities who created (and are still creating) the history and the culture of the nation.
This is one of London's busiest sights. Numerous visitors to the museum can see life-size wax figures of famous people: politicians, actors, athletes and Royalty. They can also see criminals zfad murderers in the Chamber of Horrors. The admission fee to this museum is the highest in London.
1. Answer the questions.
1) What are the main parts of London?
2) What is Westminster Abbey famous for?
3) Where is the official London's residence of the Queen? 4) Why is the City so important?
2. Choose the place in London you like the most.
In pairs ask and answer questions.
Try to guess each other's place.
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