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London

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 a population of nearly 9 million. 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 single-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 center. The City is only one square mile in are 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. The City 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.

However, the City is also a Mecca for museum goers, as it contains the Tower of London, which comes first among the historic buildings of the British capitol. Founded by Julius Caesar and rebuilt by William the Conqueror, it has been used as a fortress, a royal residence, and a prison. Now it is a museum of armor and the place where the Crown Jewels are kept. A twenty-minute walk from the Tower will take you to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the greatest of all English churches. In one of its towers hangs one of the largest bells in 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 also holds the seat of the British parliament, with the famous Big Ben clock tower, which strikes every quarter-hour.

Visitors with plenty of money to spend come chiefly to the West End, the shopping and entertainment center. The theater district stretches around Piccadilly Circus. Not far from there, one can see the British Museum and the Covent Garden Opera House. Expensive shopping promenades, such as Regent Street, Oxford Street, and Bond Street, lead you to Regent Park and Hyde Park. Last, but not least, of London’s functional zones is the East End. It is the district inhabited by workers and the poor. Industry is primarily found in this part of the capitol, grey with soot and smoke.

London is the main center of Britain’s printing industry, as well as the manufacturing of clothing, food and drink, precision instruments, and aircraft, automobiles, and ships. London’s port is the third-largest port in the world.

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