London is one of the largest and most interesting cities in the world. Greater London covers an area of about 600 square miles and has the population of nearly 9 million people. In London today, there still stand numerous landmarks reminding us of the town, as it was five or six centuries ago.
The old town that stood until the Great Fire of 1666 was surrounded by a wall. Inside the wall there were streets lined with wooden one-story houses. Almost the whole of the town was contained in what is still known as the City. Nowadays the City is London’s commercial and business centre. The City is only one square mild in area and only a few thousand people live there.
During the day it’s full of energy and life, but towards the end of the day it grows almost desolate. It contains the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and the head offices of numerous companies and corporations. Thanks to them, the City is often referred to as “the money” of London.
But the City is also a Mecca for a museum – goes. Here is situated the Tower of London that comes first among the historic buildings of the British capital. Founded by Julius Caesar and rebuilt by William the Conqueror, it was used as a fortress, a royal residence and prison. Now it is a museum of armour and the place where the Crown Jewels are kept.
A twenty minutes’ walk from the Tower will take you to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the greatest of English churches. In one of its towers hangs one of the largest bells of the world, Great Paul.
Another important part of’ London, where most of the government buildings are located, is Westminster. Tourists are invariably taken to see Westminster abbey, where many English sovereigns, outstanding statesmen, poets and artists are buried; Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament, with its famous Big Ben that strikes every quarter of an hour. Visitors with plenty of money to spend come chiefly to the West End of London, its shopping and entertainment centre. The theatre land is stretched around Piccadilly Circus.
Not far from it one can see the British Museum and the Covent Garden Opera House. Expensive shopping promenades-Regent Street, Oxford Street and Bond Street – would lead you to Regent Park and Hyde Park. The last – but not the last – of London’s functional zones is the East End. It is the district inhabited by workers and the poor.
Industry is chiefly found in that part of the capital, grey with soot and smoke. London is the main centre of Britain’s printing and the manufacture of clothing, food and drink, precision instruments and aircrafts, cars and ships. London’s port is the third biggest port in the world.