London, Capital of Great Britain
London is the capital of Great
Britain, its political, economic, and commercial centre. It is one of the
largest cities in the world and the largest city in Europe. Its population is
about 8 million.
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. Numerous banks, offices, and firms are
situated there, including the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange, and the Old
Bailey. Few people live here, but over a million people come to the City to
work. There are some famous ancient buildings within the City. Perhaps the most
striking of them is the St. Paul's Cathedral, the greatest of English churches.
It was built in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren. The Tower of London
was founded by Julius Caesar and in 1066 rebuilt by William the Conqueror. It
was used as a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison. Now it is a museum.
Westminster is the
governmental part of London.
Nearly all English kings and
queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey. Many outstanding statesmen,
scientists, writers, poets, and painters are buried here: Newton, Darwin,
Chaucer, Dickens, Tennyson, Kipling, etc.
Across the road from Westminster
Abbey is Westminster Palace, the seat of the British Parliament. The Clock
Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big bell, known as
"Big Ben". Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen.
The West End is the richest
and most beautiful part of London. It is the symbol of wealth and luxury. The
best hotels, shops, restaurants, clubs, and theatres are situated there.
The Trafalgar Square is the
geographical centre of London. It was named in memory of Admiral Nelson's
victory in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The tall Nelson's Column stands in
the middle of the square.
On the north side of the
Trafalgar Square is the National Portrait Gallery. Not far away is the British
Museum — the biggest museum in London. It contains a priceless collection of
ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures, etc, and is also famous for its
There are a lot of factories,
workshops, and docks in the East End.