London is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. It's a strange mixture of the old fashioned and the modern. Its history is very long.
In 55 В. С. Caesar came from Rome to a little settlement. (Llyn-Din by name) on the bank of the Thames, and so Britain became a Roman province for 400 years. That's why there are so many Roman words in the English language. At those days many blue-eyed boys were sent to Rome to be sold as slaves.
Nevertheless Londinium (they called it so) became a large and rich city with good streets, beautiful palaces and villas. This ancient architectural style remained in some London's buildings, for instance, in the wall with which the old city was surrounded.
In the fifth century the Saxons conquered England, the Romans left British shores and during nearly 400 years Londinium lay in ruins; grass grew where the beautiful buildings had been before, wild beasts walked on the good Roman roads.
By and by, but in the VII century it began to recover and became a trading centre and a port. These Germanic tribes and the Angles grew into one nation called Anglo- Saxons, or Angles, later English.
In 1066 the Normans came to Great Britain and there was the greatest battle between the English and Normans. The Normans won; the Duke of Normandy William was at the head of the invaders and after that victory he was called William the Conqueror. He made Londinium the capital of Norman Britain and changed the name into London. At that time the Westminster Abbey was built and William the Conqueror was crowned there and after that all the English kings and queens were crowned and then buried in the Abbey.
Now it's a church and a museum. It's situated near the Houses of Parliament at the crossing of Victoria Str. and Whitehall.
During the Norman Conquest London became a very big port, but in 1665 a misfortune arrived in London — the plague, when nearly 100, 000 people died.
A year later another misfortune fell upon London — the Great Fire, when in a few hours all the wooden houses burnt like paper. All the churches were destroyed in the big flames, among them St. Paul's Cathedral. It took 35 years to restore, the finest Renaissance church. It is colossal and harmonic on form; it has tall Greek columns on the right and wide steps on the left. It differs from usual Gothic style. It is more in Roman style. At the top there's a very popular Whispering Gallery. Lovers like to whisper about their feelings being out of sight and surely heard.
You can get to the Cathedral walking from Westminster Abbey passing Big Ben — and then going down the River. Thames by boat. First you'll see the Tower of London and then the Cathedral.
The Tower was built by William the Conqueror in 1080 as a royal palace. Later it was completed to the huge fortress. It was once a citadel, a state prison and a mint. Now it consists of many towers, but one in the middle is the White Tower. The tourists sometimes say that it seems rather cold and grey and frightens them. Inside of it there is a national collection of arms and armour. The Crown jewels and the Imperial State Crown (it's worn at the Coronation) are kept there. The British like to keep their traditions, so warders who guard the Tower are dressed up in medieval clothes of XII century. They are called beefeaters. On the ground of the Tower visitors can see black ravens. There is a superstition: if they go away, the White Tower and the British Empire will collapse.
Going by boat further along the Thames, after the Tower, after the St. Paul's Cathedral, we pass the Houses of Parliament with famous Big Ben near it. The Houses of Parliament is often called the Palace of Westminster (by folk), because until Henry VIII, for five hundred years, it was the. king's palace. Now it consists of two chambers: the House of Lords and the. House of Commons. The House of Lords is bigger and richer decorated, the House of Commons is quite simple and divided into two sides: one for the government, the other for the opposition, and there is a strip of a carpet between them to prevent fighting.
Big Ben is the name of the Clock Tower. It's a symbol of London (the face is about 7 meters in diameter and the minute hand is 4,26 m)..
In the heart of London the Buckingham Palace is situated. It was built in 1705 for the Duke of Buckingham. Since the reign of Queen Victoria it has been London home for the Sovereigns. The Queen's gallery is open for periodic exhibitions from the royal collections. Sentries in traditional clothes (bearskin's hat, red tunics or great greycoats) guard the Palace, solemnly marching up and down or watching out of sentry-boxes, changing each other at 11.30 in the morning and gathering a crowd of curious around. The Palace has a very large and lovely garden where the Royal Parties are held in summer.
On a nice Sunday morning you may go to Hyde Park. Hyde Park is like many other London's parks, but there is a corner, near the Marble Arch, the like of which can't be found anywhere else in England or anywhere else in the world. Here, on wooden stands or soap boxes or on ordinary park benches, all kinds of men and women stand up and give their views on subjects that range from politics and religion — to cures for rheumatism or about the best way of getting on with your mother-in-law.
Many years ago this little corner of London's largest park used to be a favourite place for
duelling, when Englishmen settled their differences with sword and pistol.' At the end of the XIX century they decided to use their tongues instead. And since that time they have always been proud of their democracy. Besides, to foreigners' surprise, people freely walk not only along the paths but also across lawns, on the grass, and no one says a word to them.
There are many other places of interest in London. Everyone visits Tower Bridge, Madam Tussaud's Exhibition of Wax Figures, the British Museum,] one of the largest museums in the world. There're also many famous and beautiful monuments in streets, squares and boulevards. A month wouldn't be enough Jo obtain a full impression from this wonderful city.
Дата: 17 мая 2009
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