London is the capital city of England and also of the United Kingdom. It is situated in southeast England on the Thames river. It is the largest city in the country and the 9th largest city in the world with a population of about twenty million.
The first historical notes about the town appeared around the year 4000 BC. However, the history of London begins in the year 43, when the army of the Roman caesar, Claudius, built a trade centre on the north banks of the river Thames and called it Londinium. The most important historical event of London was the Great Fire. This accident was in 1666 and lasted four days. It started in a bakery on Pudding Lane near the London Bridge and destroyed 80 % of the city. Amazingly, nobody died in fire. The fire spread quickly, because in these ages London was very dirty and streets was crooked and narrow with wooden houses. After the fire, people rebuilt the City with stones and bricks. The main architect, Sir Chritopher Wren, built the principal church of London called St. Paul´s Cathedral. Nowadays, in Pudding Lane there is a memorial of the Great Fire called the Monument.
Now, London is the biggest port in England, one of the largest cities in Europe, and an economic, cultural, and political centre. The main parts of London are: The City, The City of Westminster, West End, East End, and Southwark.
The City is the historical centre and heart of London. It is also the financial centre with the oldest bank: the Bank of England. The London Stock Exchange is also located there. The economy life is mainly along Threadneedle Street. In the Middle Ages, streets in towns were named after craftsmen, such as Pudding Lane, Coal Market, and others.
In The City is the most famous castle of London called The Tower of London. The oldest part of the Tower is the White Tower which was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror. The Tower of London is made up of 5 parts: the White Tower, the Bloody Tower, the Traitors Gate, the Tower Green, and the Torture Chamber. Near the Tower is the well-known bridge called the Tower Bridge. In the Tower, the Crown Jewels are watched by Beefeaters. The Tower had many functions: it was a fortress, a palace, a prison, and today, it is a museum.
Pudding Lane with the Monument and St. Paul´s Cathedral is also in the City. St. Paul's Cathedral is the second largest church in the world after St. Peter´s in Rome. St. Paul´s Cathedral is built in the Baroque style.
In The City you can also find the Mansion house which is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London.
The City of Westminster is the seat of the nation's government. There is also Westminster Abbey, the church where Britain´s Kings and Queens are crowned. The Houses of Parliament are also there. They are officialy called the Palace of Westminster. It is the political centre of the United Kingdom. Near it is also a famous clock called Big Ben. Big Ben isn´t the name of clock, but of the big bell.
In Westminster is the Queen´s and her family's house called the Buckingham Palace. There are nearly six hundred rooms in it. In front of the Buckingham Palace is the Queen Victoria Monument. Near the Buckingham Palace is Trafalgar square with a statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson. He fought in the Middle Ages against Spain at Trafalgar, a cape of Spain. It is the largest square in London and a place of political demonstrations. Many Londoners think it of as the centre of their city. The square is very popular for its fountains. At Christmas time a big Christmas tree stands there and on New Year´s Eve people gather there at midnight to sing and dance.
Above of Trafalgar square is the National Gallery. There are paintings of famous artists such as Rembrandt and Rubens there. Next to the famous square is Piccadilly Circus with a fountain where stands Eros, the Greek God of love. It is the centre of night clubs, theatres, and cinemas.
In The City of Westminster is also Number 10, Downing street, where the Prime Minister lives.
The West End is the center of shopping and entertainment. The most famous shopping area is Oxford street. It is very expensive for shopping there. Other areas are Soho and Covent Gardens. There are shops and street artists, musicans, dancers, and others. In The West End there are a lot of parks: Hyde Park, Kensington gardens, and Regent´s Park with gardens, lakes, and a zoo.
There are also a lot of museums. The British Museum is the largest museum in the world. The biggest collection of all kinds of animals, minerals, and rocks can be found there. There is also a library, which is the largest in the world as well. You can find the Partenon sculptures, Egyptian mummies, a Gutengerg Bible, manuscripts of Charles Dickens, and other things there. The admission is free.
London is statistically the most cosmopolitan city in Europe. There are communities of people from all over the world living there such as Somalians, Kurds, Turks, Greeks, Araby, Russians, Japanese, and others. There is even a Czechoslovakian National House in Hampstead, where they make the best dumplings in Europe. 6 000 Chinese people are living in London in an area called Chinatown. The main street of Chinatown is Gerrard Street. A lot of Londoners go to this place for very good food. It is also tourist attraction.