London

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Autor: ivanka88
Typ práce: Referát
Dátum: 25.07.2009
Jazyk: Angličtina
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London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom. It is the 9th largest city in the world, its population is about 10 million. London is situated on the river Thames in south-east England. London is the seat of the Monarch, the Parliament, the Gouvernment and the Supreme Court. It also contains many important museums, galleries, theatres and many historical buildings and parks. London is a financial and comercial centre. 22% of the world’s financial transactions take place in London. The London Stock Exchange is the world’s biggest.
 
History
The Celts settled the territory of today’s London as early as 800 B.C., but even earlier the site had been inhabited in the Stone Age. London was founded as a Roman settlement. The Romans came to London in 43 A.D. They built a small town, its name was Londinium. In 1066 William the Conqueror came to England. He came from Normandy after the battle of Hastings and became the King of England. In 1665 the Black Plague killed 70,000 people and a year later On Sunday 2nd September 1666, there was a great fire, which destroyed four fifths of the city. During World War II. many buildings of great historic value were laid in ruins.
 
Transport
The quickest way of getting around in London is by the Underground (also called the Tube). The London underground is the oldest in the world, built 120 years ago. Now it has 11 lines. London has an extensive bus network. Over 17 000 bus stops are all over London. There are 3 types of buses: famous red double-deckers, quick single deck Red Arrow buses, and green Line buses which connect the city with many places in the London area. The busiest place for bus traffic is Trafalgar Square. There are black cabs a familiar sight in London. There are also three airports in the London, the largest of them being Heathrow, west of the city and Gatwick, situated in the South.
Near the Buckingham Palace there is the Victoria Station. Victoria station is railway station, where the trains from France threw the Channel tunnel come.
 
Places of interests
The City is the oldest part of London and now a financial and business centre. It’s an independent unit with its own Lord Mayor. This is the original Londinium, contained within its Roman wall. The East End, to the east of the City, is where many new immigrants groups live and many working people. The West End has everything from chic shops, theatres, beautiful residential areas, great parks and the famous Trafalgar Square which many Londoners think of as the centre of their city. Oxford Street is probably London’s most well-known shopping street renowned for large department stores.
The typical symbol of the capital of Britain is the Tower of London. William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress 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, instruments of torture and execution, the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House, the prison where many famous prisoners were kept. The Tower is guarded by the Yeomen Warders (incorrectly called Beefeaters) who still wear the uniform of the Tudor times. Six ravens are kept in the Tower to protect the whole Kingdom. The legend says that the Kingdom will stop to exist when the ravens leave the Tower.
 
Next to the Tower stands Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge of London. This is the last bridge on the Thames before it empties into the sea. It can open in the middle and let large ships go through. It takes 90 seconds to raise. It was built in 1894. The largest and best-known church of the City is St.Paul’s Cathedral. It is the second largest church in the world after St.Peter‘s in Rome. 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. 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. Britain’s heroes are buried there: Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Christopher Wren.

Not far from St.Paul Cathedral rises the Monument, commemorating the place where the Great Fire of London started. Today the cathedral is surrounded and over-shadowed by modern concrete and glass rearing into the City skyline, such as Bank of England, the Stock Exchange. The Houses of Parliament are the political centre of the United Kingdom, the home of the British Parliament. They were rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style in 1840 after the old building was destroyed by fire. The only part which escaped the fire was Westminster Hall. There is also a famous clock-tower with called Big Ben, one of the best known of London’s landmarks. Big Ben is not really the name of the clock, it is the name of the bell. The strike of Big Ben is known world-wide because it is used by the BBC as a time signal. Also in the clock tower is a prison cell for MPs who transgress against Parliamentary privilege – it was last used in 1880.

Facing the House of Parliament, just accros Parliament Square, is the most important church in the country- Westminster Abbey, where Britain’s Kings and Queens are crowned. In the Poet’s Corner are the tombstones and monuments to some famous poets (such as John Milton, Walter Scott, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth, William Shakespeare) but only a few of them are really buried there (Geoffrey Chancer, Robert Browning). Not far from the Houses of Parliament is Buckingham Palace, the London home of the kings and queens of Great Britain. There are nearly six hundred rooms in the palace. Outside Buckingham Palace the changing of the Guard takes place to the accompaniment of the Guard's bands. In front of Buckingham Palace is the Queen Victoria Monument. Close to this complex is Downing Street, whose number 10 has been the official home of Prime Minister since 1735. Two horse guards stands before the entrance. Whitehall is street, leading from Houses of Parliament to Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square is the larest in London and is a place of political demonstrations and bussy traffic.It was named after Admiral Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish fleet at Spanish Cape Trafalgar in 1805. Nelson’s statue is at Trafalgar Square situated on a high column. The square is very popular also for its fountains. At Christmas time a big Christmas tree stands there and on New Year’s Eve people gathered there at midnight, sing and dance.

The National Gallery is situated on the top of Trafalgar Square. There are paintings by nearly all the great European artists (Rembrandt, Rubens). It is free of charge. A short way from Trafalgar Square along the Haymarket is Piccadilly Circus where Regent Street, Piccadilly, the Haymarket and Shaftsbury Avenue join and three underground lines cross under this circular square. This makes it the busiest and noisiest place of London. It is the centre of entertainment with its night clubs, theatres, cinemas and restaurants. The most beautiful view of the square is at night when it 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.

The British Museum is the largest museum in the world. There are the biggest collection of all kinds of animal and minerals and rocks. There is also a library, which is the largest in the world as well. Notable exhibits include the Magna Charta which limited the king’s powers in 1215, William Shakespeare’s folio published in 1623, the Partenon sculptures, Egyptian mummies, a Gutenberg Bible, Anglo-Saxon treasure, author‘s original manuscripts (Charles Dickens, John Lennon, …). The admission is free. Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum is an attraction for tourists. It contains wax life-size models of famous people from history and today from all over the world e.g. young Queen Victoria, Picasso, Mrs Thatcher…In the Chamber of Horrors you can see a victim of Jack the Ripper lied in highly realistic alley. At Baker Street is the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

There are many parks in London. The most elegant park with gardens, lakes and a zoo is Regent’s Park. The zoo was founded in 1826 and with its 6000 species it belongs to the most comprehensive collections of animals in the world. Hyde Park is probably the most popular park among tourists. In the east stands the Marble Arch, which is best-known for its Speaker’s corner, the place where everybody can speak publicly without fear of being arrested for their opinions. Here anyone can stand on a box and speak about anything they want, including politics, religion, fox haunting, trade unions, Europe, tourists… In the centre is a lake called The Serpentine, which is popular for boating and sailing.

The Post Office Tower is the tallest building in Great Britain. There is is situated at the prime meridian in Greenwich. London is also a cultural and scientific centre of the Kingdom, the home of British TV and Radio and the place where almost all national newspapers are issued. Fleet Street used to be the centre of journalists. Now most dailies and magazines have moved to Docklands.
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