The story of London began 2000 years ago when it was a part of the great Roman Empire. At this time it was a small town on the Thames at a place where it was easy to get across the river. Its Roman name was Londinium.
Today London is a big city, the capital of England and the United Kingdom. Since it is a very old city, there are many beautiful buildings. Some of them are well-known. For example the city has several old palaces: Westminister Palace where the Houses of Parliament now meet.
St. James’s Palace where English Kings lived in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Buckingham Palace where the royal family lives today.
There are so many fine churches. The best known are Westminister Abbey, the coronation church of England since the 11th century,
and St. Paul’s Cathedral (1710).
Visitors to London have their own ideas about what they want to see. Many will want to go to the Tower of London and see beautiful crown jewels.
Some will go to Madame Tussaud’s Waxwork and see wax figures of famous people: the most popular attraction here is the Chamber of horrors.
Some will want to take a boat ride on the Thames. There are many bridges on the Thames, but the most famous is the Tower Bridge.
A few will go to Hyde Park where people can get up on a box and speak about different problems.
Most people have seen many pictures of London and read about the city in books, so it is no surprise that they often have a list of things they want to see and do long before they ever visit the city.
The London ZOO in Regent’s Park was founded in 1828 as the world’s first scientific zoo, for science to study exotic animals. It has been open to the public since 1847. Nowadays it runs conservation and breeding programmes for endangered animals.
The Science Museum opened in 1857 and now has more than 40 galleries of exhibits showing the major scientific advances over the past 300 years. It includes over 1000 interactive exhibits.
The IMAX Cinema has a highly sophisticated projection system and an enormous screen, 20m high and 26 wide. It produces a dramatic three-dimensional effect which makes the viewer feel part of the action.
The London Wheel is one of the largest observation wheels – 135m high. The passenger capsules can each take up to 25 people on a slow-moving ride which lasts for 30 minutes.
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