From the history of London. Sights of London


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From the history of London. London was born hundred of years before our era. In 1066 William the Conqueror settled in Londinium which now became London – the capital of Norman Britain. They brought with them Latin and French civilization built new palaces churches and cathedrals in or near London.



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I. From the history of London. London was born hundred of years before our era. On the banks of the Thames was a small settlement named Llyn-din. To this place, in the year 55 before our era Julius Caesar and his troops came rom Rome. Britain was conquered, and for 400 years remained a Roman province. Llyn-din became Londinium. Although Londinium was quite an important Roman town, it was Winchester that was the capital of Anglo-Saxon England. In the 5th century the Romans left Britain, and other invaders came. During 400 years Londinium lay in ruins. Only in the 9th century the Saxon kings began to rebuild Londinium.

In 1066 William the Conqueror settled in Londinium which now became London – the capital of Norman Britain. For 500 years the Normans were masters of Britain. They brought with them Latin and French civilization, built new palaces, churches and cathedrals in or near London. William the Conquerer built the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey where he was crowned the King of Britain.

In 1666 a great fire hit the city destroying most of buildings. In commemoriation of the Fire a tall column 202 ft high was erected not far from St. Paul's Cathedral. They were built by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren.

After the Fire houses were built of brick and stone, the streets were made wider, a new London became one of the largest cicties of the world.

II. Sights of London. So, London is the capital of Great Britain, the city great and ancient, a large industrial and cultural centre.

London stands on the river Thames. For centuries the river Thames was the main highway of London. It runs for some 300 kms, 300 kms of docks, fortresses and palaces established on or near its banks.

For nearly a thousand years history has been made in the Tower of London. William the Conqueror built this massive fortress. In its long history the Tower has been a palace, a fortress and a prison. Now it is a museum.

There are 12 different bridges across the Thames. One of them is the Tower Bridge built in 1894. It consists of 2 steel towers joined by footbridges over 150 feet high but they are not used nowadays.

The City of London is the oldest part of London. It has the area of a square mile. The City of London is the centre of British businnes and commerce. It is also famous for its gratest monument – St. Paul's Cathedral. It was built in 1708 by the greatest English architect Sir Cristopher Wren. It is the largest in England and second in the world. Christopher Wren and Admiral Nelson were burid there.

There is a street in London which leeds from St. Paul's Cathedral down to the Thames. It is Fleet Street named after the Fleet river that doesn't exist now. Fleet Street is the centre of the British newspaper industry and press.

Westminster is to the west of the City of London. This part of the capital is now a govermental one. The Houses of Parliament (or the Palace of Westminster) stand on the bank of the Thames. The present building dates only from the 19th century but stands on the place of the ancient Westminster Palace. The national flag over the Victoria Tower indicates that the Parliament is sitting.

The Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament contains the hour-bell called "Big Ben" after Sir Benjiamin Hall, the manager of the Houses' reconstruction works. The clock is known the world over.

Westminstr Abbey ws laid down in the middle of the 11th century. The building we have today dates from about 1480. This church contains the tombs and memorials of Britain's greatest sitizens: Chancer, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Walter Scott and many others. Near the West Door of the Abbey there is a simple tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

Buckingham Palace is used now as an official London residence of the Queen. It is also in the part of London known as Westminster. The large monument in front of it is the Queen Victoria Memorial who made the Palace her residence in 1837.

Downing Street is named after its builder, Sir George Downing. House number10 is an official residence of the Prime Minister. Number 11 and 12 belong to the chief government leaders.

Trafalgar Square if the centre of modern London. It was laid down to commandatore Nelson's victory at the battle of Trafalgar in 1814. The total height of the Nelson Column in the centre is 184 feet. The four bronze lions at the base decorate the column. Trafalgar Square has become famous for its meetings and political demonstration.

The West End of London covers a large area of shopping centres, rich cinemas, theatres and clubs. At its heart is Piccadilly Circus – London theatre-land. In the centre there is the bronze fountain with the sculpture erected in 1893. Piccadilly Circus is symbol of London wealth.

III. London’s Parks. London has more parkland than any other world capital. The open spaces of London provide a welcome contrast to the great built up area. All the parks belong to the Royal family but are open to the public. Besides the most famous parks as St. James’s Park, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park there are many small local parks, play grounds and public gardens around London. In the past this parkland was part of the royal hunting forest but nowadays it is a very popular place to rest in.

One of the most delightful of London’s “lungs” is St. James’s Park, which extends from Buckingham Palace to White hall. Its principal feature is a small but beautiful lake where all kinds of birds find a home.

Regent’s Park, like St. James’s Park was designed by the great architect Wash who was also responsible for many of the Classical terraces which surround the park. In summer open-air performances of Shakespeare’s plays are given in the natural atmosphere. One section of the park forms the Zoological Gardens where a comprehensive collection of animals from all parts of the world is displayed.

Kew Gardens, 288 acres in extend, are devoted to the practical development of botany and forestry. Many sorts of exotic and rare plants were discovered, cultivated and grown there.

Hyde Park, the most popular of London’s parks, and Kensington Gardens, formerly part of the Royal Palace of Kensington are linked by the Serpentine where boating and bathing may both be enjoyed.

Visitors may enjoy great freedom in Hyde Park. One can walk or lie on the grass, play games, take an exercises, etc. Hyde Park is the greatest Public Park in Europe but in spite of that many aristocratic traditions are maintained in Hyde Park. In summer you can watch guardsmen exercising their horses along the roads. Traditionally there early-morning exercises are an etiquette strictly observed in this season. Hyde Park is also famous for its “Speaker Corner”. It is there that every body has the right to speak out everything he or she wants to.

Londoners love their parks and are proud of them. Walking in the parks you have the feeling that you are far away in the country but not in the centre of one of the largest capitals of the world.


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