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London

London is the capital of 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. It was founded as a Roman settlement. The great fire in 1666 destroyed almost all the city. London is as well as our Prague important industrial city. To London we can get by various means of transport - aeroplane (there are three airport, the most important ones are Heathrow and Gatwick), bus (Victoria Coach Station), train, car or ship. This city is famous for its red double-deckers and old fashioned black taxis. For fast transport you can go by the Underground, which is the oldest one in the world. There are many places of interest. When I was going from Victoria Coach Station I was passing:
Buckingham Palace - the Queen's residence in London since the Queen Victoria's reign. On of the biggest London's parades is Changing the Guards. Before the entrance to the Buckingham palace stands a big statue of Queen Victoria - Queen Victoria Monument.
There are many parks in London - James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park (it is the largest one and it is known for its Speakers Corner, where anybody can have a speech at any theme except criticising the Queen).
Piccadilly Circus (there is a nice fountain situated in the centre of the square), Regent Street, Oxford Street are the most famous shopping centres.
The National Gallery - situated on the top of Trafalgar Square. There are paintings by nearly all the great European artists. It is free of charge.
Trafalgar Square - was named after Admiral Nelson's victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson's statue is at Trafalgar Square situated on a high column. The square is very popular also for its fountains. Many meetings and demonstrations take place there. At Christmas time a big Christmas tree stands there and on New Year's Eve people gathered there at midnight, sing and dance.
Whitehall - street, leading from Hoses of Parliament to Trafalgar square.
Downing Street 10 - the official home of British Prime Ministers, two horse guides stands before the entrance. Today's Prime Minster is Tony Blair.
The Houses of Parliament - gothic style, in 19th century the old building had burnt down. The only part, which escaped the fire, was Westminster Hall. It is the political centre of the United Kingdom, the home of British Parliament. There is also a famous clock-tower with Big Ben situated. It is said that it got its name after one rather fat MP Benjamin. Big Ben striking is known all over the world, because it is used by BBC as a time signal.
Westminster Abbey - Britain's Kings and Queens are crowned there. And England's greatest poets, artists, statesmen and other famous people are buried there in the Poet's Corner. It was built in a gothic style. Many stet occasions and also royal wedding take place there.
The City of Westminster - the oldest part of London around St. Paul Cathedral. It was founded by Romans in 43 AD. There are many banks and also the most important Bank of England, and offices.
St. Paul's Cathedral - on of the largest cathedral in the world. It is great renaissance dome made by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren in 17th century. The Cathedral is known for its Whispering Gallery. Standing on the Gallery you can clearly gear what is whispered on the opposite side. During the WWII it was badly damaged by bombs. Prince of Wales and Lady Diana were married here.
The Monument - it is not far from St. Cathedral. It is commemorating the place where the Great Fire of London started.
The Tower of London - it was founded by William the Conqueror. Following kings added another parts to the fortifications. It served as a royal home, then as a prison, execution site and royal observatory. Now it is a museum where you can see Crown Jewels.
The Tower Bridge - one of the most famous symbols of London. It was built last century. It can open in the middle and let large ships go through.
The British Museum - 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. Also here the admission is free.
The Post Office Tower - the tallest building in Great Britain.
The National Theatre - was moved to a new building. There are many other theatres and also the royal Shakespeare Company, which usually play in Stratford.
Windsor Castle - is the residence of nearly all the British sovereigns outside London.
Greenwich - there is the Royal Observatory and it is situated at the prime meridian.

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