London is the capital and largest city of England Great Britain. It is the seat of central government and one of the world’s leading commercial and cultural centres. Its history and architecture, mainly the strong architectural influence of Sir Christopher Wren, attract millions of tourists from overseas each year.
London has a population of about 6.75 million. It has declined from about 8 million because of migration from inner city areas to outer suburbs. There are two cities in the centre of London: the City of London and the City of Westminster.
The City of London, the oldest part of the town, is not far from the River Thames. East of the City is the East End where the docks are situated. The West End is famous for its shops, theatres and cinemas. There are a lot of sights in the City.
The Tower of London was built by the William the Conqueror in the 11th century. It was once a royal palace, then a prison and there was once even a royal zoo there. It is a museum now and famous for the Bloody Tower, Traitors’ Gate, the ravens, Crown Jewels, the Armouries and the Yeoman Warders called Beefeaters.
Tower Bridge is another famous landmark. There are several exhibitions in the two main towers which give an insight into its history. The bridge “breaks” in the middle to allow tall ships through.
St Paul’s Cathedral was built by Sir Christopher Wren and is considered his greatest work.
After climbing 311 steps, you have a marvelous view from top of the Monument which commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666.
The City of London is an international finance centre. It has the greatest concentration of banks in the world and the London Stock Exchange can be found there, too. The decision to site the new European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London reflects the importance of the City as a financial centre.
The City of Westminster is known as the centre of political and administrative life of Great Britain.
The Houses of Parliament on the left bank of the Thames were rebuilt in the Gothic style on the side of the old Palace of Westminster which was destroyed by fire in 1834. Visitors can go to both House of Lords and House of Commons to hear debates from the Visitors’ Gallery. Houses of Parliament are famous predominantly for Big Ben, the bell of the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament.
Many English kings and queens have been crowned and buried in Westminster Abbey since William the Conqueror in 1066.
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