London is the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, its political, economic and cultural centre. It is one of the largest cities in the world (together with Tokyo and New York) and the largest city in Europe. Its population is about 8 million. London is an ancient city, it was founded more than 20 centuries ago.
Traditionally London consists of several parts: the City, Westminster, the West End and the East End.
The City of London is the birthplace of London. It was a place of the original Roman settlement and later commercial and trading centre. The City is the oldest part of London, its financial and business center. Different banks, offices and business firms are concentrated here, including the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange, and the Old Bailey. About half a million people come to work in the City but only 6000 live here. The City is also famous for its architecture. One of oldest and the most famous London's places of interest is the Tower of London. It was founded by Julius Caesar and was used as a fortress, a royal residence and a prison. Now it is a museum, which houses the national collection of armour and the Crown Jewels. The most striking architectural monument situated within the City is St. Paul's Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece. It was built between 1675 and 1710 to replace the 13th century cathedral which had been destroyed by the Great Fire.
Westminster is the political and administrative centre of London. Westminster is the location of the principal offices and residences of Great Britain's national government. Important offices and departments are in Whitehall and Downing streets, the London residence of Prime Minister and the place where the Cabinet meets.
On the banks of the river Thames are situated the Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British government. It is well known for its gothic architecture. There one can see the famous Tower Clock Big Ben, the symbol of London. Big Ben is the real bell which strikes every quarter of an hour. Another place of interest is Westminster Abbey. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in London. Westminster Abbey is the place where coronation of nearly all kings and queens has taken place. Many of them are buried here as well as some other famous people of the country (Newton, Darvwin, Keepling, etc.). The official residence of the Queen is Buckingham Palace. It was built in 1705 for the Duke of Buckingham and then bought by George III in 1761. London's most popular attraction is Changing the Guard. It takes place daily at 11 o'clock in front of Buckingham Palace. The ceremony, which is accompanied by music played by a military band, always attracts a lot of onlookers.328
The West End is the richest and most beautiful part of London. It is associated with wealth and luxury, with the finest theatres and the largest museums. The best hotels, restaurants, shops, clubs, cinemas and concert-halls, parks and houses are located there. One of the sights is Trafalgar Square. It was named in memory of Admiral Nelson's victory in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson's Column, with the statue of Admiral Lord Nelson on top, rises in the centre of Trafalgar Square. On the north side of Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. They contain the finest art collections in the world. Not far away is the British Museum famous for its rich library.
The East End is an industrial district of London. The Port of London and numerous docks, many factories and workshops are situated in this part of the capital. The region is densely populated by working class families. It was the poorest district of London with narrow dirty streets and unimpressive buildings. But today, the East End is changing very fast. There are huge offices and new blocks of flats in this district. The East End has become a desirable place for business.
The suburbs of London cover a vast area. A lot of people live there and travel to the centre every day to work.
London is a cosmopolitan city. People of several races and many nationalities live in the British capital.
It's impossible to describe all London's places of interest. The best way to know London is to visit it.
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