Great Britain, Northern Ireland, London

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Autor: Chlapec macxo
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 23.12.2008
Jazyk: Angličtina
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Great Britain lies (is situated) off the north  west coast of Europe, in the British Isles. It consists of two large islands: Great Britain, Ireland and about 5,000 smaller islands (the Hebrides, the Orkneys, the Shetlands,).
The official title of GB is The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
 
Great Britain (GB) consists of three parts:
England (capital is London)
Scotland (capital is Edinburgh)
Wales (capital is Cardiff)
The United Kingdom (UK) is the name for:
Great Britain
Northern Ireland (capital is Belfast)

Area
Is about 245 000square kilometre
Population
It is over 58 million
The density of the population is one of the highest in the world, about 236 people to square kilometre. In Britain we can find the following ethnic groups:
English (82%), Scottish (9,6%), Irish (2,5%), Welsh (2%), Indian, Pakistan, Italian, Chinese…
Population is concentrated in eight densely populated areas around: London, Leeds, Liverpool,  Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield.
Mountains

Britain can be divided into lowland areas (nížiny) and highland areas (horské).
The most mountainous area of GB is Scotland. Here we can find:
The Highlands of Scotland – are the highest mountains in Britain with highest peak Ben Nevis (1343 m)
The Pennines (northern England)
The Cambrian (Wales)
The Cornish Heights (in the south-west of England)
The Cumbria Mountains in the Lake District)

Rivers

They are very important sources of energy.
The biggest river is the Thames. Its length is 336 km.
The longest river is the Severn; its length is 338 km.
Other important rivers are:
The Clyde in Scotland
The Shannon in Ireland
The Trent
The Tweed
The Tay

Lakes
The greatest number of lakes can be found in Northern Scotland and in the Lake District.
Windermere Lake – in England, in the Lake District is the most beautiful lake.
Loch Lomond
Loch Ness – this lake is famous for the “Loch Ness Monster”.
(Lakes are called lochs in Scotland).
The lakes are not important for transport but they are a big tourist attraction.
 
Climate
British Isles have milder climate due to the Gulf Stream.
Winters are not very cold and summers aren’t very warm. Britain is known for its fogs.
National economy
Britain is one of the most industrial countries in the world.
Britain is rich in natural resources:
black coal
iron ore
oil
natural gas
chalk
salt sand
sandstone
uranium
There are many branches of industry:
chemical – is the most advanced
textile
production of vehicles
production of arms, books, drugs
electronics industry
The main agricultural products:
Sugar, fruit, vegetables, breeding cattle and sheep

Government

GB is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as a head of state.
The Constitution of the UK is unwritten, based on customs, traditions and common law.
The head of government is the Prime Minister.
There is parliamentary democracy. Parliament consists of two houses:
The House of Lords (hereditary for life)
The House of Commons (elected members of parliament)
Elections take place after 5 years. The seat of the Prime Minister can be found at 10 Downing Street in London and Queen’s home is Buckingham Palace.
Magazines and TV
The best known newspapers are - the Times -the Independent - the Daily Mirror -the Guardian - the Daily Telegraph.
 
From television there are:
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority)
The best-known channels are: BBC 1, BBC 2, and ITV...
Interesting places
Oxford, Cambridge – are the old university towns
Stratford-upon-Avon – is a birthplace of Shakespeare
London – is the capital of UK
Glasgow – an old Victorian town, the heart of arts in Scotland
Scotland is a covered moor (vresovisko).

Currency

Used in the UK is one pound (Libra).

Language

The official language spoken here is English.
Greenwich - is a town, now part of the south-eastern urban sprawl of London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Greenwich. It is best known for its maritime (námornú) history and as the location of Greenwich Mean Time
 
NORTHERN IRELAND:
Ireland is the part of Great Britain. It has a population of over 1 500 000 people. Nearly half a million live in Belfast,  capital of Northern Ireland.
There is the Queen´s University at Belfast which was founded in 1845. The capital is very important port. It is also the shopping, educational, commercial, entertainment and service centre of Norhern Ireland.
 
Language: English
Population: 1 500 000 people
Religion: approximately two-thirds of the population is Protestant and a minority Roman Catholic. There are big problems caused by the religious differences among people. There is an old hatred between Roman Catholic and Protestants. Catholic wished Ireland to remain a united country but the opinion of Protestants was quite different. (Northern Ireland remained politically joined to GB while the south of Ireland was made independent. This decision was popular among Irish Protestant but Catholic wanted Ireland to remain a united country. The population can be divided into Unionists, who want to remain a part of the United Kingdom and Republicans, who oppose it.)
 
Government
The head of the state is the Queen Elizabeth II.
 
Economy
Northern Ireland is largely agricultural. There are small farms which produce pigs, cattle, milk and eggs. The main crops are potatoes, barley and oats.
 
Chief exports of Northern Ireland are:
-  Ships
-  Aircraft
-  Linen textiles
-  Agricultural products, livestock

LONDON:
London is the capital of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It lies on the Thames River and it is the largest city in the country. London is the seat of the Monarch, the Parliament, the Government, the Supreme Court, the Church of England, etc.
It is the centre of cultural, political and social activities. Tourists come there to visit monuments, museums, galleries, theatres, historical buildings and parks. London is home to about 9 million inhabitants. The most important parts of London are: the City * the Westminster  * the West End * the East End
 
History
The city history is very rich. Several disasters have affected London. In 1665 a disease called the Black Plague killed more then 100,000 people.
In 1666 there was a big fire „ The Fire of London“.  It destroyed most of the city, e.g. St.Paul's Cathedral and 88 other churches.

Transport

The quickest and cheapest way to get to different places in the city is to use the underground, often called the „tube“. The London underground is one of the oldest in the world. You can see much more of London from one of its famous red buses:*red double – deckers, quick *single – deckers and *Green Line buses which connect the City with many places in London. There are also the long – distance buses called  *coaches. These buses depart from Victoria Coach Station.
London has the familiar black taxis also called „ Black cabs“. You can stop it if it has a sign on it „ for hire“.
There are five airports in London; the largest of them is HEATHROW.
Places of General Interest

The Tower of London

It is the typical symbol of the capital and at the same time a top tourist attraction. William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress to defend the city of London. It was the place of some of the bloodiest events in English history. Many important personalities were arrested and executed there. Now it is a museum where tourists go to see an arsenal of weapons and the Crown Jewels. The Tower is guarded by the Yeoman Warders called „Beefeaters“. They wear a distinctive/typical uniform from Tudor times. Beefeaters guard together with six ravens that are kept in the Tower. Legend says that if the ravens flew away, it would be the end of the Tower and the kingdom. The ravens´ wings are clipped to prevent this.

Tower Bridge

It stands next to the Tower and is typical London’s landmark. It has two spectacular Gothic towers. Two glass-covered Walkways link the top of the towers to allow foot passengers to cross over the river Thames and give superb views of the river. The bridge is raised in the middle to allow tall ships to pass up the river. It takes 90 seconds to rise.

Trafalgar Square

It is the largest square in London and a place of political demonstrations, busy traffic, tourists and pigeons. In the middle of the square is the statue of Admiral Nelson who looks towards the Houses of Parliament and is guarded by four magnificent bronze lions. The statue is surrounded by two fountains.

Westminster Abbey

It is a magnificent Gothic building with the twin towers. It is a house of God and a house of kings. The Abbey was founded as a Benedictine monastery. Since the crowning of William the Conqueror here in 1666, the Abbey has been the nation’s „Coronation church“. Coronations of every king or queen (except two) have been held here. Visitors can admire Coronation Chair – this oak chair has been used at every coronation. It is also the burial and memorial place of numerous writers, poets, actors, musicians  e.g. Geoffrey Chaucer. The Abbey contains many outstanding royal tombs. There were many important recent royal funerals, such as those of Diana Princess of Wales and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth = the Queen Mother. Above all, the Abbey is a living church; there are regular services every day.
 
St Paul’s Cathedral
It is the seat of the Bishop of London and the spiritual centre of City. It is a masterpiece of the famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren who rebuilt this cathedral and 52 other city churches after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Cathedral is built in Baroque style and has been the setting for many significant occasions in the nation’s history, such as the funeral service of Sir Winston Churchill or the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981.

Buckingham Palace

It is the official London residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Standard flutters when Her Majesty the Queen is in residence. An inseparable part of the Palace is the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of it. The statue represents the ideals of motherhood, truth, justice, peace and progress. The five regiments of Foot Guards, easily recognized by their scarlet uniforms and bearskins, guard Buckingham Palace. The Guard is changed at 11.30 am. This ceremony takes 40 minutes and is usually watched by vast crowds.

Houses of Parliament

It is the political centre of the United Kingdom, the home of the British Parliament. They were rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style in 1840 after a fire destroyed the previous building. The complex includes:
The House of Commons 
The House of Lords
Westminster Hall – the great hall dates from medieval times
Clock Tower – this famous landmark contains the bell known as Big Ben
 
The House of Lords - it is one of two chambers. It is a Gothic hall decorated in red with the throne of the Monarch. The House of Lords is composed of bishops, archbishops and peers who have inherited titles and are appointed for life.
The House of Commons - is simpler in style, consists of parallel rows of green leather benches. There are elected members. The Prime Minister and Government Ministers form the Cabinet and they sit on the front bench on the right side. The Opposition is on the left side.
The Clock tower  = Big Ben
Is the voice of London and it has been telling the time since 1859. It is a part of the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is not really the name of the clock; it is the name of the bell (named after Sir Benjamin Hall). The strike of Big Ben is known all around the world because it is used by the BBC as a time signal.

Downing Street

No. 10 Downing street is a closed street and it is the official home of the British Prime Minister. No.10, with the most photographed door in the world, is guarded outside by a single policeman.

Piccadilly Circus

It is a place where 5 busy streets join into the circular square. It is the busiest and noisiest place in London. It is a centre of entertainment, nightclubs, theatres, cinemas and restaurants. The square is lit by many colourful advertisements. In the centre of the circus, at the top of the Fountain stands Eros, the Greek God of love.
Parks and Gardens
Hyde Park

It is probably the most popular among tourists because of its Speaker’s Corner. It is the place where everybody can speak openly/publicly without fear of being arrested for his or her opinions.

Regent’s Park

It is perhaps London’s most elegant park with its attractive gardens, lakes and the Zoo.
St. James’s Park, Kensington Gardens

Museums and Galleries

Madam Tussaud's Museum
Is visited by thousands of visitors every year. It contains waxworks of famous world figures, e.g. international statesmen (Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher), sportsmen (Martina Navrátilová, David Beckham...), film stars (Beatles, Madonna...), Royal Family, the Pope...
London has two Tate Galleries:
Tate Britain – it displays the collection of British paintings from 1500 to the present day
Tate Modern – it displays the collection of international modern art from 1900 to the present day including major works by Dalí, Picasso, Warhol, etc.
The National Gallery
It contains the best-known collection of paintings, e.g. Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, El Greco, etc.
The National Portrait Gallery
You can admire the portraits of British monarchs

Shopping
:

Harrods is the world’s best-known store. It’s named after its founder Henry Harold. The store began as a small grocer’s shop and at the same time it was the first store in the world to install an escalator.Other big shopping stores are: Selfridges, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis
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