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    LONDON TODAY
    [ ] 06.01.2010, 21:55
    London is now second largest city in Europe by its population — it has more than 8 million inhabitants. It stands near the mouth of the reiver Thames and it developed into a major port and an industrial centre due to its geographical position.
    London is a very old city. The name “London” is of a Celtic origin. The Romans called the place “Londinium” and enclosed it in a wall. There is a street called London Wall (which follows a part of the route of the wall) and there are a number of districts named after gates in old the wall — Aldgate, Aldersgate etc.
    London has 32 boroughs and the City of London, These boroughs are the divisions of London that have their own local government by elected Councillors. The City occupies the area of one square mile. That is why it is sometimes also called “the Square Mile”.
    But for tourists it has 3 distinct parts: the West End, the East End and the City.
    The City is the commercial part of London and houses a lot of banks and offices.
    The West End has a lot of sights and attractions for tourists.
    Most famous sights are westminster which stands opposite the famous Houses of Parliament. Westminster Abbey is the place where kings and queens used to be crowned. Many famous people are buried there, among them Darwin, Newton, Dickens and many poets.
    A few minutes walk will take you to the Trafalgar Square, the heart of London. It opens up to the Buckingam Palace — the official residence of the Queen. Opposite the Palace is the famous National Picture Gallery .The entrance there is free and it has a most marvellous collection of paintings by famous European artists. It is one of the few Galleries that was meant to be a picture gallery when it was being built. So it has an ideal lighting for seeing pictures.
    The Tower of London is on the north bank of the Thames. It used to be a fortress, a palace and a prison. Now it is a museum and it is proud of its Ceremony of Keys, which was not interrupted even during wars, including World War II.
    The port of London is to the Eastof the city. It has a lot of docks that go for miles and miles, and industrial areas. It is unattractive in appearance, with its dark and gloomy streets and poor houses.
    Many English people say that they prefer to live in toher places of England and only visit it sometimes to go on excursions, probably, by “Hop On and Off Bus”. But this city is actually a museum in the open air. It has changed little throughout centuries. All its historical places have been carefully kept untouched. And one can spend weeks investigating its fascinating streets and alleys, feeling the touch of History.
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