Otázka: The English Speaking Countries
London is a cosmopolitan city; there are people of many nationalities. Today the population is about 7 million inhabitants.London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is situated on the Thames in the southeast of England. The city was founded 2 000 years ago. The Romans built their settlement there in 43 AD and called it Londinium. After fire in 61 AD the town was rebuilt again and surrounded by a wall. The area within the walls is now called the City of London.
It is a major world financial centre with a number of banks and the well-known London Stock Exchange.London consists of three parts: the original and historical City, West End – centre of entertainment and the East End – an industrial area.London survived plague (which was also known as the Black Death) killing almost 100 000 people in 1665 as well as the Great Fire of 1666 that broke out in a bakery, destroying two thirds of the city as most of the houses were made of wood.
The Monument is an important historical site commemorating the Great Fie in 1666. It stands on the place where the fire broke out.London transport is very famous, because of the world-famous red double-decker buses and traditional black taxis or cab. Another alternative is the underground, tube or river buses. Heathrow and Gatwick are huge Landon airports.
Interesting places in London
The Tower Bridge is a great symbol of London. It was designed by Sir Horace Jones and Sir John Wolfe Barry. The bridge opens in the middle and goes up when huge ships want to pass through.The Tower of London stands on the north bank of the Thames. The White Tower, the oldest part of the Tower, was begun by William the Conqueror in 1078. The other buildings were built until the 19th century. The Tower has been put to many uses such as a royal resident, a fortress, a prison, an execution place, a royal treasury and museum. The Bloody Tower used to be a prison and so did the Green Tower.
St Paul´s Cathedral is one of the largest in the world. It was built by the architect Sir Christopher Wren in 17th century after the Great Fire. The Whispering Gallery is a famous curiosity. The excellent acoustics of the place brings any sounds to the opposite side, 107 feet away in a straight line. Many famous people are buried there, among others the Duke of Wellington, Horatio Nelson and Sir Christopher Wren himself.
The City of Westminster is a district which occupies about 4 square miles. This is the centre of the administration, with Parliament and Government offices. Old Westminster runs into the modern West End – the shopping centre of Britain with many theatres, cinemas, hotels, restaurants and night clubs.
Downing Street number 10 has been the home of British Prime Minister.The Houses of Parliament are officially called the Place of Westminster. They were rebuilt between 1840-1860 in Neo-Gothic style. There is the Victoria Tower and the Clock Tower with the famous bell named after the first Commissioner of Works, Sir Benjamin Hall, Big Ben (it was his nickname). The sound of the bell can be heard in the tune on the BBC Radio.
Buckingham Palace has been the home of the sovereign since Queen Victoria. The Changing of the Guards is one of the biggest London´s spectacles and it takes place every day at 11:00 a.m.Westminster Abbey was rebuilt by Henry VIII. It is site of modern coronations. There are other interesting things in the cathedral – Poet´s Corner where greatest poets, artists, politics and famous British people are buried (e.g. Newton, Darwin, Dickens, Chaucer).
Madam Tussaud´s Museum holds a collection of wax figures.Trafalgar Square has a 18-foot high statue of Horatio Nelson. The Square is surrounded with St Martin-in-the-Field Church and the National Gallery.
Piccadilly Circus is the talk of the town. In the middle of the square is the statue of Eros by sculptor Sir Albert Gilbert.
Greenwich lies to the east of London and offers many attractions in 200 acres. There are many theatres in Great Britain today: London itself has over 100. The National Theatre is situated on the south bank of the Thames. Theatre Globe is a faithful reconstruction of Shakespeare´s original theatre.
Oxford has been a university town since 12th century. It lies in the river Thames. Bicycles and punts are very popular means of transport especially for students. The first colleges opened there were Merton and Balliol. Today there are 35 colleges. University ceremonies and concerts are held in the Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.Other big cities in the UK
Cambridge lies on the river Cam and it´s a university town. Oxford and Cambridge (together called Oxbridge) are big rivals and every year they organized rowing competitions. Peterhouse, first college, was founded in 1284. There are many museums, too.
Brighton lies on the southern coast of England. It is famous seaside resort for holidaymakers. The Royal Pavilion is very controversial building for its style. There is a mixture of the Indian, Arabic and Chinese styles. The fun centre has been Victorian Palace Pier by the seaside.
Liverpool is industrial town and it´s famous as the birthplace of the Beatles. It became one of the world´s greatest cities and ports. Its ships travelled the world carrying salt, cotton, sugar, coal and slave.
Plymouth – there is the Exmoor National Park and the Dartmoor National Park.Canterbury is famous, because of cathedral with the grave of the archbishop Thomas Beckett. He was the most famous martyr. The cathedral was a popular destination for pilgrims from all over Europe.
Salisbury Plains are famous for a place called Stonehenge. These are giant stones in a circle. They are assumed to be 3 000 years old. It could have been an observatory, a calendar or a place for ceremonies. Nobody knows how the stones could have been transported from the remote parts of Wales.
Stratford-upon-Avon is birthplace of William Shakespeare.Bath was founded by the Romans who built a spa there. Most of the buildings are constructed from the same material – luscious, honey-coloured stone. It is said to be an inferior building material, but it is extremely beautiful to the eye and has held up nicely for well over 200 years. Famous people stay in these spas, too. In May, there is a month-long celebration of music, the arts and other.
In Yorkshire is a famous cathedral called York Minster, there are moors and the Bronte sisters made the region famous. The coast of Cornwall is called “English Riviera” – there are sandy beaches and palm trees.
In Durham there is a famous castle and cathedral.
The capital of Wales is Cardiff and patron of the country is St. David. Most people are bilingual – speak both English and Welsh. The Welsh call their country Cymru with highest peak Snowdon.
The biggest Scottish city is Glasgow but the capital is Edinburgh. Big tourist attractions are Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood House and Royal Mile.
Ireland is divided into the Northern Ireland (Ulster) – capital is Belfast; and the Republic of Ireland (Eire) – capital is Dublin.
Manchester lies in northwest England and it is historically important for its role in the Industrial Revolution.