London is one of the largest cities in the world. More then 10mln
people live in London and its suburbs. London is a city of striking
contrasts. Here one can come across the past and the present, the old and
the modern, live side by side in mutual tolerance and respect.
In London, one can see architecture of different centuries and styles.
It is inseparably connected with the history of the city. The Romans, the
Saxons and the Danes settled here in turn, after them came the Normans, and
brought the French civilisation. London survived the Plague and the Great
Fire, which followed in 1666. During the Fire all wooden houses were
smashed to the ground and a New London, London of stone with bigger houses
and wider streets was built. During the World War II, many buildings of
great historic value lay in ruins and today the face of London is changed.
Traditionally London is divided into several parts: the City,
Westminster, the West End and the East End.
The city first started in the place, which is known as the City. It is
the Heart of London, it’s commercial and business centre. It occupies a
territory of a square mile. During a day, it is full of people, nearly half
a million people work there.
The West End is the richest part of the city with its beautiful
avenues, parks and gardens, grandhotels, theatres and fashionable shops. It
is a symbol of wealth and luxury.
While the City is the money of London and the West End is the good of
London, the East End is the hands of London, that built 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 the Port of London
As for me, I cannot imagine London without Thames. In fact, painters
and writers regard the river as the source of inspiration. Turner, Monet,
Canatello painted it countless times and their impression 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 their poems. The most famous
books about the Thames are ‘Three men in a boat’ by Jerome-k-Jerome and
‘The wind in the willows’ by K. Graham. If there had been no Thames, there
would be no London. It was born many centuries ago in the place, 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 (the
lonely port) at that time. After the Norman Conquest, it became Londinium.
If you want to get some glimpses of London, you’d better start
sightseeing with the Tower of London, that comes first among the historic
buildings of the city. It was built as the fortress after the Norman
invasion of England in 1066. It has been used as the Royal Palace, as an
observatory, an arsenal and a prison. For many visitors the principal
attraction is the Crown Jewels, the finest precious stones of the nation.
A twenty minutes’ walk from the Tower will take you to another historic
building – St. Paul’s Cathedral, the greatest of English churches. It was
built by a famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren. St. Paul’s
Cathedral, with it’s famous Whispering Gallery, is considered to be a
masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. In one of its towers hangs one of
the largest bells in the world – Great Paul.
Not far from Cathedral is Westminster Abbey. It was founded by Edward
the Confessor in 1050. The best part of the Abbey is a wonderful chapel,
dating back to the 16th century. It is famous for its magnificent
architecture. There are many monuments and statues there. Many English
kings and queens are buried there. Since William the 1st, almost ever
monarch has been crowned in this great church. One of the greatest
treasures of the Abbey is oaken Coronation Chair 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 to Shakespeare, Burns, Byron,
Scott and so on.
Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, which is
spread magnificently on the north bank of the Thames. It is a remarkable
example of Gothic architecture.