London is the capital of the United Kingdom. It is the nine’s largest city in the world – its population is about 10 million. London is situated on the river Thames in south-east England. It was founded as a Roman settlement.
Before 1665 London was dirty town with narrow streets and dry wooden houses. About 75.000 people died from plague. In 1666 bakery in Pudding Lane caught fire. Because houses in London were from wood and streets were narrow and it was windy weather, fire burnt for four days. But nobody died by fire. 80% of the city of burned – London was destroyed. So people had to built new city of stone, London streets were cleaner. Now, there is the Monument in London city to commemorate the fire. There is always fire at the top. The height of column is the distance of the bakery.
When we are in London, we can use various means of transport. For sightseeing we can use double-decker. The top of these special buses is sometimes open. We can also use underground – it is older that the underground in Prague. London underground is the oldest in the world. There are 8 tunnels under the river Thames. The underground is quite dirty, the seats are not made from plastic, they are made from textile, they are in pieces and also torn. The underground is very useful for London.
London’s famous taxis are black taxis – but they are too expensive. Green Line buses – they connect centre with suburb. There are also 3 airports in London. The most important are Heathrow and Gatwick.
Westminster is political heart. There are Houses of Parliament in Westminster; they were built in pseudo gothic style in 19.century. This is the seat of the parliament; it is situated on the embankment of the river Thames. The old building had burnt down. The part which escaped the fire was Westminster Hall. There is also famous clock-tower with Big Ben / Ben is the short from Benjamin/. Westminster is on the Parliament Square. It is very busy square, there is much traffic, it is polluted, but this is beautiful place. Whitehall is the street where the government offices are. Horse Guards Parade takes place here.
Downing Street 10 is the official home of British Prime Ministers since 1731.
Near the House of Parliament we can find gothic cathedral form the 11th century. It is Westminster Abbey. British Kings and Queens are crowned here. England’s greatest poets, artists, state men and other famous people are buried here in the Poet’s Corner. It is also royal wedding place.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. It was built in the 17th century by the famous architect Christopher Wren. The Cathedral is known for its Whispering Gallery. Standing on this Gallery you can clearly hear what is whispered on the opposite side 107 feet far from you. In 1981 Prince of Wales /Prince Charles/ and Lady Diana were married here. St. Paul’s Cathedral stands in the City.
The City is the oldest part of London. It was founded by Romans. The City is very busy place but only during day. There are many insurance companies, banks and offices.
The tower was built in the 11th century. The most famous places of the Tower are White Tower /the oldest part/ and Jewel House, where the Crown Jewels are kept. You can meet beefeaters there. They are former afficers and their job is to be guide, they help tourists. The tower was a prison. Now, it is a museum. Now you can find there collection of arms and armour.
Tower Bridge is one of the most famous symbols of London. It can open in the middle and let large ships go through.
The Trafalgar Square was named after Admiral Nelson’s victory over Napoleon the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson’s statue is situated on a high column. The square with its fountains and the sea of pigeons is a very\ popular place for various meeting.
The National Gallery is in the Trafalgar Square. It houses paintings by nearly all the great European artists of the past and a large collection of British painting and sculptures.
Piccadilly Circus is a round square. There is statue of Eros – god of love.
Sotho is a part of London where people go for entertainment. There are many cinemas, clubs and shop but also sex shop. There are many restaurants – Chinese, Japanese and Indian.
The British Museum is the largest museum in the world. There is also a good collection of drawing by the Czech artist Václav Hollar. He had lived in England for a long time and he died in London in 1677.
Buckingham Palace is the place where the Queen lives. Crowds of tourists watch the ceremony – changing of the guards, which take place there. The guards march in uniforms, which consist of black helmet (it is called bearskin) and red coat. In front of the Palace there is the stature of the Queen Victoria.
The most famous shopping centers in London are in Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street and Oxford Street. The largest department is called Harrods.
There are many parks in London. The oldest park is St. James’s Park. The largest of all is Hyde Park. It is also known for its Speaker’s Corner where anybody can have a speech, but nobody can say anything offending about Queen. Others parks are Regent’s Park, Green Park etc.
Greenwich is the seat of the National Maritime Museum. It used to be hospital for sailors. Now you can see old merchant ships which brought tea from China.
St. Catherine Dock – museum 1828. In this dock traders ivory, marble, spices and wine.