London is the capital city of the UK. London is situated in southeast England along the Thames River. It is the 9th largest city in the world. With a population of about 8 million, this is a vast metropolis. London is a cosmopolis city, there are people of many nationalities.
Parts in London
- There are four parts in London. The City of London, Westminster, West End and East End. The City of London is the oldest part but it is only a very small part. It is a business, financial and economical centre. There are a lot of banks (Bank of England), government offices and also well known London Stock Exchange.
- The City of Westminster is known as the center of political and administrative life of GB. There are most of places of interest as Westminster Abbey or Houses of Parliament.
- West End is the shopping and entertainment centre with many shops, theatres, cinemas and clubs.
- East End used to be a poor dockland area but it has been changing. Now it is rapidly developing area
- The city was probably founded 2000 years ago. The Romans built their settlement and called it Londinium. The London probably comes from Celts. In 19th century it was the largest and most influential city in the world. London is still one of the world’s major financial and cultural city.
- 800 BC- the city now known as London was a Celtic settlement
- 43 AD- Romans established a settlement and named it Londinium
- 5th century- Romans leave the island
- 11th century- William the Conqueror comes to London after the Battle of Hastings (1066); City of Westminster is established
- 12th century- Norman kings move the royal court to London and it becomes the capital
- 17th century- London survived 2 great disasters: the Plague (which killed almost 100,000 people) and the Great Fire (1666) which destroyed most of the city
- 17th century (2nd half)- the city went through a period of extensive reconstruction including the building of many churches and public buildings
- World War II- London suffered extensive damage because of German bombing raids
- July 2005- terrorist attacks on London
- London is a major world financial centre with a number of banks and the well/known London Stock Exchange. LSE id the second most important stock exchange.
- London transport is one of high quality. For example, one of the world famous red double-decker buses, though now ride in the historical parts only . They have been used since The Exhibition in the 19th century. Another alternative is the underground or tube, as it know in London. Tube is the oldest in the world. Traditional black taxis are another symbol of London. You can also travel by river buses. In London are two airports – Heathrow and Gatwick.
Interesting place in London
- Tower of London – The Crown Jewels have been kept here since the 14.century. This place was started by William the Conqueror. The Tower guard are called Beefeaters. In Tower lives group of ravens. One story says that the Tower will fall down if they leave.
- Tower Bridge – is only Thames bridge which opens in the middle to ships.
- The House of Parliament- This place is the home of the British Government. It is divided into 2 parts – House of Commons and House of Lords. It has 1000 rooms and 3km of corridors.
- Buckingham Palace – is the official residence of the Queen. There is a memorial of the Queen Victoria. During the summer you can visit State Rooms. All years you can visit the Royal Mews. It is famous for the changing guard ceremony too.
- The London Eye – It is 135m high and carries people to have view over London.
- Hyde Park – is very famous for its Speaking Corner where can express your opinion public.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral – is still used for religious ceremonies and special events like weddings. Princess Diana got married.
- Trafalgar Square – This square was built in Victorian time. It was named in honour of British victory led by Admiral Lord Nelson, that is why there is the Nelson’s Column in the middle of square.
- Piccadilly Circus – is a modern square full of advertisements.
- Oxford Street – is the longest street in London full of shops and stores with quite reasonable prices.
- 10 Downing Street – is the famous door of the prime minister office.
- Harrods – is one of the largest and luxury department stores in Europe.
- Greenwich – is the centre of world’s time system.
- Big Ben – is the huge bell in the Clock Tower which was named after Sir Hall who supervised the rebuilding of the House of Parliament.
- Westminster Abbey – is one of the oldest buildings in London. There is still held religious service every day.
- Sherlock Holmes Museum – is museum of the famous detective who appears in stories written by Sir Doyle. This museum is at 221 Baker Street.
- Madame Tussaud’s museum – is the world’s famous wax museum full of lifelike wax figures of famous people.
- British cuisine, has a reputation as being bland, greasy, and generally not very healthy. But there is a trend now especially in big cities like London to change this. Because there are so many people from different cultures living in London, some non-traditional foods from countries like India, China, Indonesia, Jamaica, and the Middle East, are becoming more popular.
Below is a list of the more traditional British foods:
- For breakfast, Londoners, as well as all Brits, enjoy such dishes as: porridge; cornflakes with milk; buttered toast with marmalade; baked beans; fried bacon with eggs; ham and eggs; and sausages. Usually at breakfast, people drink coffee, tea with milk, or juice.
- Lunch is not as big as a typical Czech lunch, and people usually have something quick such as a sandwich (ham and cheese being one of the most popular).
- For dinner, typical foods include: fish and chips; roast beef with Yorkshire pudding; steak and kidney pie; Sheppard’s pie; steak; or roast lamb with vegetables
- Other than tea, other famous British drinks are: beer; cider; ginger ale; gin; port; and whisky.
- David Bowie- was born as David Robert Jones on January 8th, 1947. He is known for his work primarily as a musician, but he has also been an actor, record producer and arranger. Some of his most famous albums are: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars; Low; Young Americans; and Let´s Dance. He has influenced many musicians over the years and has sold over 130 million albums during his career.
- Sir Alfred Hitchcock- was born on August 13th, 1899. He is known as one of the greatest directors and producers, and pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller film genres. Some of his most famous works include: Vertigo; Psycho, The Birds; Rear window; and Strangers on a Train. Hitchcock became a knight before he died in 1980.
- Jack the Ripper- was the name given to an unidentified serial killer who committed a series of murders in 1888, in London´s poor districts. All of Jack the Ripper´s victims were women who worked as prostitutes in the city. Many legends and theories surrounding the true identity of the killer have grown up over the past 100 years. Some believe Jack was a surgeon because of how the bodies were left at the scene of the crime. Others believe that Jack the Ripper was even a member of the British Royal family!
People and lifestyle
- Religion: mostly Protestant, but less than in the past because of the presence of people from different cultures now living in London.
- News & Entertainment: popular newspapers include: The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Independent. The most popular TV channels are: BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.
- Housing: the typical English house is a terraced or semi-detached built of bricks (wooden houses are not popular because of the damp climate). These houses usually have a small front garden with a driveway and a larger back garden with grass and trees and flowers. Because London is one of the world´s most expensive cities to live in, many Londoners cannot afford a house and instead, live in a flat.
- School: is compulsory from the age of 5-16. At 5, children start primary education, and at 11 they continue at secondary school. When students are 16 they must take their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams. If they want to continue to study at university, they have to stay 2 more years as “sixth formers” and take the “A-level” which allows them to go to university (if they pass!).
- Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in England, and of course in London as well. The highest level of English football in played in the Premier League. Because London is such a huge city, there are currently 5 teams that play in the Premier League. They are: Arsenal (have won 8 Championships and have Czech superstar Tomáš Rosický); Fulham (established in 1879, it is the oldest team from London); Tottenham (established in 1882); West Ham United; Chelsea (home of the world´s best goal-keeper- Petr Čech).
Other popular sports in London include the following:
- Tennis- Wimbledon is the most famous tennis championship in England and has been played at the All England Club in the London suburb of Wimbledon since 1877. It is also the oldest of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments and the only one still played on a grass court.
- Cricket-The original London Cricket Club dates back to 1722. Cricket remains one of the most popular sports in Britain although the championships are now held at Kent County Cricket Club.
- Rugby- This sport is played all over the world today, but it was invented in an English boarding school.
- Olympic Games-London will hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 2012. This is historic since it is the 3rd time the city has hosted the Olympic Games- something which has never happened before. (London also hosted the Games in 1908 and in 1948)
- London has produced many important and famous musicians over the years. In the 1970´s London was the birthplace of the Punk Rock movement as produced such bands as The Clash and The Sex Pistols.
Two of the most famous musical acts are:
- SIR ELTON JOHN: was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25th, 1947. His is one of Britain’s most famous singer-songwriters, and pianists, and his musical career has lasted over 40 years. He has sold over 200 million records and has had 9 No. 1 hits. Elton John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, and became a British knight in 1998. He still makes music but in the last 20 years he has been very involved in the fight against AIDS and raising money for AIDS research and awareness. He currently lives with his partner, David Furnish.
- THE ROLLING STONES: formed in London in 1962. Their members include: Mick Jagger (vocals), Keith Richards (guitar), * Bill Wyman (bass), Ronnie Wood (guitar), Charlie Watts (drums). Most of the Rolling Stones´ songs have been written by Jagger/Richards. Some of their most famous hits are: (I can´t get no) Satisfaction, Paint It Black, Under My Thumb, Angie, Gimme Shelter, and Honky Tonk Women. The Rolling Stones are one of the biggest bands of all time. They have sold over 200 million albums, and continue to make music and perform tours today. * Note: Bill Wyman left the band in 1993.
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