LONDON - THE CAPITAL OF GREAT BRITAIN.
London is the biggest city in Britain and one of the biggest in the
world. More than
eight million people live and work there. London is one of the most
important cities in
the world. It is the centre for business and for tourism.
In London you can find some of the best theatres, cinemas and
museums. There are many
beautiful old churches in London.
There are about 10 thousand streets in London. Most of the streets
are not very wide.
There are a lot of shops in London. The main shopping centre is Oxford
Street. You can buy
nearly everything here. People from all over the world do shopping in
You can find many old and new beautiful parks in the city. The
largest park in London
is Hyde Park. It is one of the most popular places of Londoners on hot
summer days. There
are many other pleasant parks and green squares there too.
The Romans came to the island Great Britain long, long time ago. They
built a town on
the River Thames. The called the town Londinium. The place for the town
was very good.
Soon the Romans built a bridge over the River Thames.
Londinium got bigger and bigger. The Romans built houses, palaces,
roads, bridges. But
in 410 the Roman legions were withdrawn from Great Britain, as the Goths
were at the gates
of Rome and the Romans rushed to defend their Empire. After them,
Anglo-Saxon tribes came
to Great Britain.
The river Thames has always been part of London's history. In Roman
was a small town with the Thames in the centre. Now London is a very
large city but the
river Thames is still in the centre of London as the city has grown in
both sides of it.
Until 1749, there was only one bridge over the river: London Bridge.
The old London
Bridge looked very strange. There were houses and shops on it.
Unfortunately, we cannot see old London Bridge in London now: in the
hard times, when
it was clear that London needed new bridges but there was no money,
decided:to sell the Old Bridge to some rich American. Now it is in
America but there is
no river under it - only a street.
In the 19-th century there were already many new bridges in London.
Now there are
twenty seven bridges over the Thames.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS.
London is in fact three cities: the City of London, the East End and
the West End.
There are 27 bridges over the Thames in London and 8 tunnels under
London is 46 kilometres from north to south and 58 kilometres from
east to west.
London has got more than 8 million people and that's 13% of Britain's
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.
At the beginning of the 11-th century England was already a big
country and London was
a very important city.
In 1066 William from Normandy came with his people to England. They
William thought that he had right to become King of England. After the
battle at Hastings
he got the name of William the Conqueror and became King of England. The
King lived in
London. A lot of his people lived in London too. But William was afraid
of the English, of
Londoners and he built the White Tower to live in it. It was the
beginning of the Tower of
London and now it is one of the most important and beautiful buildings
All Kings and Queens of England lived in London. It became the
biggest city in the
country. By 1600 there were more than 200,000 people in London.
THE GRATE FIRE OF LONDON.
In those days people usually built houses of wood, and they were very
close to one
another. Sometimes there were fires in the city, but they were usually
very small. Then
came 1666, the year of the Great Fire of London.
On Saturday, on the second of September 1666 there was a strong wind from
the river and
a big fire began. You should know that the summer of that year was
unusually dry and hot
in London, and wooden houses became very dry too, and the wind was very
strong and blew
from the river. All these caused a very big fire. It started in the
house of the king's
baker, near London Bridge.
The baker's wife woke up in the middle of the night because the house
was on fire.
Soon the next house started burning and than the next and the next:
Houses burnt like
burning, London's burning.
Fetch the engines. Fetch the engines.
Fire, fire! Fire, fire!
Pour on water, pour on water.
The fire burnt until Thursday. The fire burnt for four days and
destroyed 80% of the
city. More than 250,000 people didn't have home any more. But, in spite
not anybody died in that fire!
One more very important thing. In 1665 plague broke in England. It
was called the Great
Plague. It covered all the country. The Plague crawled from town to
town, from village to
village, killing people and not knowing any mercy. People were in
terror. They left their
houses trying to run away from Black Death. It came into London. 75,000
from the plague. The Great Fire ruined crooked streets, but The Great
Fire put the end to
The Great Plague.
After the Great Fire people built a new city. The city was becoming
larger and larger.
By 1830 there were more than one and a half million people in London.
The railways came
and London was becoming richer and richer. New houses of stone or brick,
not wood, were
built. Streets became wider and straight. But the city was still rather
THE PLACES TO VISIT.
London is the capital of England. It is its political, business and
The heart of London is the City. It is the oldest part of London. Many
people work in the
City but very few live here. There are many banks and offices here. You
can visit some
interesting places in the City or near it.
One of them is the Tower of London. In different times of the history
of London the
Tower was a fortress, a palace, a prison and even the King's Zoo. A lot
of people lost
their heads here.
Now it is the museum. You can see a lot of interesting things in the
halls of the White
Tower. The Crown Jewels are kept at it. Its square walls are white and
William the Conqueror built it in the 11-th century. There are always
black ravens in
the Tower of London. They appeared there when the Tower was the King's
prison - those
who were its prisoners never got freedom: they were executed or died
themselves, and their
bodies were thrown down the walls of the Tower. They became food for
ravens. Still then
ravens have lived there.
One of the old English legends says that London can be the capital of
the country, rich
and great until 12 black ravens live in the Tower. Each has its name and
people, the keepers of ravens, carefully look after them. If one of the
another younger raven takes its place. Londoners believe this legend and
every time they
come to the Tower they count the ravens and never forget to bring food
for them. The
keepers cut the birds' wings as they are afraid that they may fly away.
One of the greatest English churches, St. Paul's Cathedral, is not
far from the Tower
of London. Old St. Paul's Cathedral was made of wood and burnt in the
Great Fire of
London. The famous architect Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt it in the
17-th century. He
started in 1675. It took him 35 years. It is a very beautiful building
with many tall
columns and towers. In ne of its towers there is one of the largest
bells in the world.
The centre of London is Trafalgar Square. Some people say that it is
the most beautiful
place in London. Tastes differ! In the middle of the square stands a
tall column. It is a
monument to Admiral Nelson. Four bronze lions look at the square from
the monument. There
are 2 splendid fountains in the square. They are in front of the
National Gallery which is
one of the best picture galleries in the world.
The political centre of London is Westminster. It is the part of
London where there are
a lot of offices. If you go down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square on the
right you will see
a small street - Downing Street. Here at number 10 the British Prime
Whitehall is a wide street leading to Parliament Square. This square is
On the left there is a long grey building with towers which are the
Parliament. This building is really Westminster Palace. The large clock
in one of the
towers is Big Ben - the clock and the bell of the clock tower of the
Parliament. You can hear the sound of Big Ben every hour in London. The
clock and the bell
got their names after Sir Benjamin Hall who was in charge of building
it. He was a tall
man, whose nickname was Big Ben. So people know the clock as Big Ben.
The Thames is behind the Houses of Parliament and the bridge across
it is Westminster
On the other side of Parliament Square is Westminster Abbey. It is
very beautiful and
very famous. It is also very old. It is more than 900 years old. It is
built in gothic
style. There are a lot of monuments and statues there. Many English
kings and queens are
buried here. Westminster Abbey is famous for the Poet's Corner where
great English poets
and writers are also buried.
The Queen of England lives in Buckingham Palace. It is a wonderful
large building with
a golden monument in front of it. It is the Queen Victoria Memorial.
All these interesting places are quite near one another. It takes
only 20 minutes to
get from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square.
Of course, there are so many other places of interest to see and
visit in London.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS.
Bloomsbury Square is one of the oldest in London. It is more than 300
years old. It is
the literary part of the city. A lot of writers and critics live there.
The British Museum is not far from Bloomsbury Square and the square
is famous for the
Museum. The British Museum is very old. It was founded in 1753. It is in
Street. The British Museum has a large Reading Hall. A lot of famous
people worked there.
The Library of the Museum has one of the best collections of books and
manuscripts in the
One of the best and famous London cinemas is the "Odeon".
One of the oldest churches in London is St. Paul's Cathedral.
One of the most famous London theatres, the Royal Opera House or
Covent Garden, is :
in the centre of the vegetable market.
Piccadilly Circus is the centre of night life in the West End. This
is one of the most
popular meeting places of London.
London buses are of 2 kinds: the double-decker and the single-decker.
But London buses
are always red. Double-deckers have seats for 65 people. Only 5 people
are allowed to
stand when the seats are full.
MODERN SIGHTS OF LONDON.
London is growing and developing. Some modern buildings and
appeared. The most remarkable are: the Cucumber of London and the London