London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom. It lies on the river Thames.
The City is the oldest part of London in the East. The East End, to the East of the City, is where many new immigrant groups and many working people live. The West End has everything from chic shops, theatres, beautiful residential areas, great parks and the famous Trafalgar Square.
The City of London has been a self-governing enclave from the 12th century and the Lord Mayor heads it.
Tower of London
William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress - the White Tower- to impress and dominate the people of London in 1066. The Tower served till the 16th century as a royal home, a prison, an execution site, a royal mint and an observatory. There also used to be a royal menagerie. Now it is a museum where tourists go to see an arsenal of weapons, the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House, the prison where many famous prisoners were kept, the execution block where Henry VIII's wives, Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard, and philosopher Thomas More were beheaded. The Tower is guarded by the Yeomen Warders who still wear the uniform of Tudor times. Six ravens are kept in the Tower to protect the whole Kingdom. The legend says that the Kingdom will cease to exist when the ravens leave the Tower.
Next to the Tower stands Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge of London, which is raised in the middle to allow ships to pass up the river. Built in 1894, it takes 90 seconds to rise.
St. Katherine's Dock (built in 1828) close to the Tower of London. For more than a century it bustled with commercial activity, now it has been transformed into a marina with a display of historic ships.
The largest and best-known church of the City is St. Paul's Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren finished it in 1711. It stands on the site of the previous cathedral, which was damaged by the Great Fire of London in 1666. St. Paul's is built in the Baroque style, the main nave is 170 metres long and it is crowned by a central dome which rises 111 metres, it is the largest church in the world after St. Peter's in Rome. Inside the dome along the cupola runs the Whispering Gallery whose name refers to the remarkable acoustic which make it possible to hear words on one side whispered against the wall on the opposite side, which is about 30 metres. St. Paul's has seen many important occasions: Sir Winston Churchill's funeral service or the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.
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