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   Because London is the capital of the United Kingdom, Londoners often think it is the most important place in the country. Because it is the centre of government and commerce, it is naturally a large and busy place. But different areas of London have very different characteristics. The West End, for example, is famous for its shops and places of entertainment.
   The City of London, an area of only 2,6 square kilometres, is the centre of business and finance. The City is a world money market and trading centre. Money is needed for industry and governments, the City arranges for borrowing and lending of money and it supplies financial services like insurance. It operates on behalf of firms and governments abroad as well as in Britain. In this way, the City - or the businessmen trading in it - earns foreign currency for Britain. The City has its own Lord Mayor and Corporation, its own local government and its own police force. It is proud of its independence and eager to protect it. Who works in the City? The officials who run it. The Lord Mayor and Corporation of London. Businessmen, bankers, stockbrokers, insurance brokers, lawyers, journalists, hospital staff and clergymen. Who lives in the City? Not many people nowadays. Caretakers of office blocks. Choirboys and clergy of St Paul's Cathedral.Some lawyers in their special buildings. Residents in a new housing development called "The Barbican" built on an area destroyed by bombs during World War II. The Barbican also contains the London Museum and a new theatre. The theatre is home for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company. It is part of a plan to bring some life into the City of London. deserted after office hours during the evening and at weekends. On the nearest Saturday to the 9th November every year there is a parade through the City to celebrate the installation of the new Lord Mayor. It is called the Lord Mayor's Show. He takes part in the procession, riding in his golden coach. Not many of the spectators watching the Lord Mayor's Show in the City know that this part of London has a history going back to at least AD 43 and the Romans. The 'Square Mile' lies within the old Roman walls.
    After the Romans left Britain early in the 5th century, London was still an important place, it has always been a great trading centre. It grew in importance within the British Isles when the kings of England and their governments finally made their headquarters in the Royal Palace of Westminster. Westminster is a few miles up the River Thames from the City: the king felt freer outside the City walls. Gradually London began to grow. The villages around it grew. They became towns, called 'boroughs' with their own local government. The boroughs grew into a vast built-up area of houses, shops and factories which now form Greater London.
   The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea does not sound much like a village, but it was once two villages which were famous for their market gardens and vegetable produce. Strangely enough, many Londoners still have the feeling that they live in a village. Their 'village' may have a famous name like Chelsea or Hampstead or Dulwich. It may consist of several streets of shops, a number of pubs and restaurants, it may even have a local newspaper. Visitors to London are often surprised at the amount of green open space in it. It is easy to get away from the streets and to find open spaces, parkland in Inner London. These parks are still called ' Royal Parks' but they are now open to the public. People walk and go horse-riding in Hyde Park. There is boating and swimming in the lake called The Serpentine. And everywhere there are seats and deckchairs to sit on.
    St James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are linked together. They form 313 hectares of open parkland in the heart of London. Entrance to the Parks is free and you may walk on the grass and lie down to rest on it - weather permitting? In various parts of London squares may be found but they are often in expensive districts - expensive because they are spacious and, in a city, space costs money. For that reason not all the houses in the squares are occupied by private residents nowadays: many are used as offices.
   Some famous London squares and some of their present occupiers:
   Belgrave Square - Embassies/Consulates
   St James's Square - Government departments/Research Institute/Library
   Gordon Square - London University
   I think that London is very interesting city for almost everyone.If someone go there he willhave a good time.


   London is the capital of Great Britain, its political, economic and cultural centre. It's one of the largest cities in the world. Its population is more than 11 million people. London is situated on the river Thames. The city is very old and beautiful. It was founded more than two thousand years ago.
   Traditionally London is divided into several parts: the City, the West End, the East End and Westminster. The City is the oldest part of London, its financial and business centre. The heart of the City is the Stock Exchange. Westminster is the most important part of the capital. It's the administrative centre. The Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British Government, are there. It's a very beautiful building with two towers and a very big clock called Big Ben. Big Ben is really the bell which strikes every quarter of an hour. Opposite the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey. It's a very beautiful church built over 900 years ago. The tombs of many great statesmen, scientists and writers are there.
   To the west of Westminster is West End. Here we find most of the big shops, hotels, museums, art galleries, theatres and concert halls. Picadilly Circus is the heart of London's West End. In the West End there are wide streets with beautiful houses and many parks, gardens and squares.
   To the east of Westminster is the East End, an industrial district of the capital. There are no parks or gardens in the East End and you can't see many fine houses there. Most of the plants and factories are situated there. London has many places of interest. One of them is Buckingham Palace. It's the residence of the Queen. The English are proud of Trafalgar Square, which was named so in memory of the victory at the battle. There in 1805 the English fleet defeated the fleet of France and Spain. The last place of interest I should like to mention, is the British Museum, the biggest museum in London. The museum is famous for its library — one of the richest in the world.
   All London's long-past history is told by its streets. There are many streets in London which are known all over the world. Among them Oxford Street, Downing Street and a lot of others can be mentioned. And tourists are usually attracted not only by the places of interest but by the streets too. In conclusion I should say if you are lucky enough to find yourself in London some day you will have a lot to see and enjoy there.
   1. When was London founded?
   2. Into which parts is London divided?
   3. What is the heart of the City?
   4. Do you know any places of interest in London?
   5. All London's history is told by its streets, isn't it?


   As well as being the capital of England, London is the capital of the United Kingdom. London was founded by the Romans in 43 A.D. and was called Londinium. In 61 A.D. the town was burnt down and when it was rebuilt by the Romans it was surrounded by a wall. That area within the wall is now called the City of London. It is London's commercial and business centre. It contains the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and the head offices of numerous companies and corporations. Here is situated the Tower of London. The Tower was built by William the Conqueror who conquered England in 1066. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Now most of the Government buildings are located there.
   During the Tudor period (16th century) London became an important economic and financial centre. The Londoners of the Elizabethan period built the first theatres. Nowadays the theatre land is stretched around Piccadilly Circus. Not far from it one can see the British Museum and the Covent Garden Opera House.
   During the Victorian period (19th century) London was one of the most important centres of the Industrial Revolution and the centre of the British Empire.
   Today London is a great political centre, a great commercial centre, a paradise for theatre-goers and tourists, but it is also a very quiet place with its parks and its ancient buildings, museums and libraries.
   1. What is the capital of England and the United Kingdom?
   2. Who was the founder of London? What was London's name then?
   3. What is the City?
   4. When and by whom was the Tower built?
   5. Where are the Government buildings situated?
   6. When were the first theatres built?
   7. What was London during the Victorian period (19th century)?
   8. What is London today?