London is one of the largest citiesin the world. More then 10mln people live in London and its suburbs. London isa city of striking contrasts. Here one can come across the past and thepresent, the old and the modern, live side by side in mutual tolerance andrespect.
In London, one can see architecture ofdifferent centuries and styles. It is inseparably connected with the history ofthe city. The Romans, the Saxons and the Danes settled here in turn, after themcame the Normans, and brought the French civilisation. London survived thePlague and the Great Fire, which followed in 1666. During the Fire all woodenhouses were smashed to the ground and a New London, London of stone with biggerhouses and wider streets was built. During the World War II, many buildings ofgreat historic value lay in ruins and today the face of London is changed.
Traditionally London is divided intoseveral parts: the City, Westminster, the West End and the East End.
The city first started in the place, whichis known as the City. It is the Heart of London, it’s commercial and businesscentre. It occupies a territory of a square mile. During a day, it is full ofpeople, nearly half a million people work there.
The West End is the richest part of thecity with its beautiful avenues, parks and gardens, grandhotels, theatres andfashionable shops. It is a symbol of wealth and luxury.
While the City is the money of London andthe West End is the good of London, the East End is the hands of London, thatbuilt the banks of the City and beautiful mansions and hotels of the West End.It is a district, inhabited by the workers. There are many factories and thePort of London there.
As for me, I cannot imagine Londonwithout Thames. In fact, painters and writers regard the river as the source ofinspiration. Turner, Monet, Canatello painted it countless times and theirimpression of the river in all seasons can be seen on the walls of museums,throughout the world. Pope, Spensor and many other poets sang it in theirpoems. The most famous books about the Thames are ‘Three men in a boat’ byJerome-k-Jerome and ‘The wind in the willows’ by K. Graham. If there had beenno Thames, there would be no London. It was born many centuries ago in theplace, which is known as the City. The City is not only the centre of business.It’s the burth place of London. London was born in the place not far from St.Paul’s cathedral hundreds of years before our era. It was called Lynn-din (thelonely port) at that time. After the Norman Conquest, it became Londinium.
If you want to get some glimpses ofLondon, you’d better start sightseeing with the Tower of London, that comesfirst among the historic buildings of the city. It was built as the fortressafter the Norman invasion of England in 1066. It has been used as the RoyalPalace, as an observatory, an arsenal and a prison. For many visitors theprincipal attraction is the Crown Jewels, the finest precious stones of thenation.
A twenty minutes’ walk from theTower will take you to another historic building – St. Paul’s Cathedral, thegreatest of English churches. It was built by a famous English architect SirChristopher Wren. St. Paul’s Cathedral, with it’s famous Whispering Gallery, isconsidered to be a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. In one of itstowers hangs one of the largest bells in the world – Great Paul.
Not far from Cathedral isWestminster Abbey. It was founded by Edward the Confessor in 1050. The bestpart of the Abbey is a wonderful chapel, dating back to the 16thcentury. It is famous for its magnificent architecture. There are manymonuments and statues there. Many English kings and queens are buried there.Since William the 1st, almost ever monarch has been crowned in thisgreat church. One of the greatest treasures of the Abbey is oaken CoronationChair made in 1300. On the south side of Westminster Abbey is Poet’s Corner,where the greatest English writers are buried. Here also are memorials toShakespeare, Burns, Byron, Scott and so on.
Across the road from WestminsterAbbey is Westminster Palace, which is spread magnificently on the north bank ofthe Thames. It is a remarkable example of Gothic architecture.