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.
is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in the world.
Traditionally it is divided into
several parts: the City, Westminster, the West
End and the East End. They are very different
from each other and seem to belong to different towns and epochs.
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 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 historic, the
governmental part of London.
Westminster Abbey has more historic associations than any other building
Nearly all English kings and queens have been crowned here. 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 WestminsterPalace,
or the Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British Parliament. The Clock
Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big hour bell, known as
BuckinghamPalace 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. There are splendid houses and lovely gardens belonging to wealthy
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 Trafalgar
Square is the National Gallery and the National
Portrait Gallery. Not far away is the BritishMuseum — the biggest museum in London. It contains a
priceless collection of ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures, etc, and is
famous for its library.
The East End
is the poorest district of London. There are a lot of factories, workshops and
docks here. The streets are narrow, the buildings are unimpressive. The East End is densely populated by working class families.