London is one of the world’s three largest cities (the other two are New York and Tokyo). It is one of the world’s most important ports and it is the capital Great Britain.
The Romans founded a settlement on the River Thames 2000 years ago. They called it Londinium. London became a prosperous trading centre during the Middle Ages. Since that time it has continued to grow in size and prosperity. There are more than 10 thousand streets in London. About 7 million people live there.
There are four main parts in London: the City, Westminster, the West End and the East End.
The very centre of London is Trafalgar Square. There is Nelson’s Column with the statue of Admiral Nelson on the top (185 feet high). In the north of Trafalgar Square there is the National Gallery. It exhibits all schools of European painting from the 13th to the 19th century and includes works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Goya, Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.
Not far from Trafalgar Square there is a little street with very ordinary houses.
This is Downing Street, and for the last 200 years at house Number 10 the Prime Minister of England has resided.
Downing Street leads to Whitehall. In Whitehall was a palace where from the 12th to the 16th century the England kings and queens were living. Now it is just a street of government offices.
A little further we can see Parbarnent Souare. Westminster Abbey is on one side, the House of Parliament on the other. The building of the House of Parliament is not old, it dates only back to from the 19th century and is in Gothic style.
One of the most beautiful and distinguished of all English buildings is Westminster Abbey, founded in the 11th century.
There are many tombstones, monuments and statues here. For nearly 1000 years all the kings and queens of England – 41 in all – have been crowned here and many of them are buried here too. Here is the Poet’s Comer where many Britain’s greatest poets and writers are buried: Chaucer, Johnson, Dickens, Hardy and Kipling. You can see memorials to Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Walter Scott and Thackeray.
Next, we can walk along one side of St. James Park to Buckingham Palace – the Royal residence. The vast house is comparatively new and it has no style. However, great importance is still attached by the British to this place. Here you can see one of the most colorful and stirring of all London ceremonies, the changing of the Guards. The ceremony starts at 11.30 a.m. and takes between 30 and 40 minutes.
All the principal streets of London lead to the heart of the City, the financial and business centre of Great Britain.
In London there is so much to see that even Londoners can always find new sights. They like to say: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”.