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II. LONDON IS THE CAPITAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

II. READING & DISCUSSION

Read the text and be ready to tell about London sights. What attractions of London would you like to visit and why?

TEXT 1. A DAY TRIP TO LONDON

Itís hard to imagine a journey more guaranteed to please than a day trip to London, with all the excitement and variety that one of the worldís greatest capital cities has to offer.

Thereís so much to see in London that it is well worth planning your day carefully before you set off.

The tour departs from Piccadilly Circus. Itís difficult to say what is the real centre of London, but many people would choose Piccadilly Circus. This is because it is not only central but also the heart of Londonís entertainment world. Within a few hundred yards of it we find most of Londonís best known theatres and cinemas, the most famous restaurants and the most luxurious night-clubs.

In the middle of Piccadilly Circus there is a statue said to be of Eros, the god of love. Few people know that it really represents the Angel of Christian Charity. On New Yearís Eve it is boarded up to prevent over-enthusiastic trevellers from climbing onto it.

It is particularly in the evening that Piccadilly Circus is thronged with people going to the theatre or the cinema, or perhaps to a restaurant. Many others have come to an evening stroll. The crowd is a motley one, for it is composed of people of many nationalities. The atmosphere is distinctly cosmopolitan, and one hears around a great variety of languages. It has been said that if you listen carefully, you may even hear English!

It is out of the question to tour London without catching a glimpse of Nelson standing high over his Trafalgar Square, anything from 167 Ė 185 feet high. What is certain, however, is that the column was built during the early part of the 19th century to commemorate Nelsonís victory in 1805, and thereís no doubt that this national hero still draws the crowds. Crowds of tourists as well as those famous pigeons still flock there in all seasons, and at Christmas time a vast tree stands there surrounded every evening by scores of carol singers.

You donít have to search for history in London, there is history around virtually every corner. The most obvious landmarks are the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

The Tower of London is an open history book of England. It has been a fortress, palace, home of the Crown Jewels and national treasures, arsenal, mint, prison, observatory and tourist attraction.

The Tower of London was started by William the Conqueror who invaded Britain in 1066. He built the White Tower to impress and frighten the English. The Tower of London brings to the visitorís mind a vision of imprisonment, torture and violent death at the hands of a masked executioner with an axe. Many prisoners laid their heads on the chopping block. Among the victims were noblemen, politicians, traitors and two of Henry IIIís wives.

The men who guard the Tower are Beefeaters. They can tell you everything about its history. Their clothes are the uniform of royal guards of the year 1500.



The ravens with their clipped wings are another famous sight. Legend says ďOnly as long as the ravens stay, will the White Tower standĒ. Kings and queens have come and gone, some even lost their heads on Tower Green, but the Tower of London has survived them all.

Happy ghosts haunt the aisles of the superb Gothic Westminster Abbey, where a succession of English monarchs from William I have been crowned and many are buried in magnificent tombs recently restored to their original colours. But itís not only the crowned heads that are worthily remembered here. George Frederick Handel, Sir Walter Scott and Oliver Goldsmith are elaborately commemorated in the Poetsí Corner. Over a thousand monuments are crowded into the building; they not only commemorate prominent men and women from every walk of life, but also give a breathtaking view of English monumental sculpture. However, it is perhaps the simple grave of the Unknown Warrior, which is the most poignant. His tomb symbolizes the sacrifice of more than a million British who lost their lives in World War I.

The Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey face each other across Parliament Square, where statues of Sir Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and several other statesmen stand.

Every day when people in the UK and overseas switch on their radio to listen to BBC news, they can hear one of the most famous sounds in London. On the hour, the bells of Big Ben ring loud and clear. Many people think that Big Ben is the clock or the whole tower next to the Houses of Parliament. In fact, it is the largest of the five bells at the top of the tower.

No visit to London would be complete without a look at St. Paulís Cathedral, which was built after the Great Fire of 1666. It stands in the heart of the City. The architect was Sir Christopher Wren. It took him thirty-five years to finish St. Paulís. Wren designed St. Paulís to give a feeling of space and light. You can climb 627 steps to the dome, which houses the famous Whispering Gallery. If you whisper close to the wall on one side of the dome, you can be heard on the other side.

St. Paulís was the burial place of Wren, who died at the age of 91, having changed Londonís skyline with some 50 exquisite churches.

To make sure you make the most of London, go to Buckingham Palace, the London home of the kings and queens of Britain, and watch the Changing of the Guard, one of the most popular tourist sights. First the band marches through the Gates of the Palace. The job of the police is to keep the tourists from following the guards! The guardsmen wear their traditional uniform: a tweed coat and a black helmet. The helmet is called ďbearskinĒ and itís made of fur.

If you want to look deep into the essence of things, be sure to visit at least one of Londonís museums and galleries.

The British Museum is an incomparably rich treasure-chest, brimming with things of world historical importance. It was founded in 1753 and, since then, has grown to include every conceivable kind of artifact from all over the world.

The Victoria and Albert Museum is equally impressive, with an outstanding collection of fine and applied arts housed in a grand building opened in 1909 by Edward II. Just next door, and especially popular with children, is the Natural History Museum. Within this vast and elegant building unsuspecting visitors may come face to face with anything from huge dinosaurs to working displays of their own insides!

London is equally rich in art galleries, from the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, which houses one of the worldís finest collections of European art, to the smaller galleries, such as the Wallace Collection, with its unrivalled representation of 18th century French art. The Tate Gallery houses the national collection of British painting and modern sculpture. Itís necessary to mention the National Portrait Gallery with its fine collection of portraits spanning six centuries.

If youíd like to see a bit of London greenery, you can enjoy the delights of Londonís parks, green islands of peace and quiet in the middle of the noisy sea.

The best-known parks are, of course, the central ones: St. Jamesís Park, Hyde Park, Regentís Park, and Kensington Gardens. They have many attractions. Hyde Park has the Serpentine, a little lake, where , if one feels inclined, one may take a swim or go for a row, and Speakerís Corner where one gets up and says anything (or almost anything!) one wishes. Kensington Gardens has the Round Pond where ďdry land sailorsĒ of all ages sail every kind of yacht. St. Jamesís Park boasts a truly elegant lake on which lives a great variety of wild ducks.

As evening falls, shops and museums close, but restaurants open. So itís time to hop on the first sightseeing bus at the nearest bus stop and it will bring you to Piccadilly Circus, your starting point. Londonís entertainment scene is colourful and diverse. All tastes are catered for in theatre, music and dance. Whether classical music, Shakespearean theatre, raucous comedy or disco are your preference, London has something for everyone.

There is so much to see in this, the largest city in Europe that is sure to exhaust you before you exhaust its possibilities.

1. Say in other words:

1. a political and government figure, especially one who is respected as being wise, honorable and fair;

2. to speak in a very quiet voice;

3. to be very full of something;

4. an object that was made in the past and is historically important;

5. extremely beautiful and very delicately made;

6. to start something, such as an organization, city, etc;

7. to contain;

8. someone who is having fun, singing, dancing, etc. in a noisy way;

9. a place where coins were officially made;

10. the spirit of a dead person that some people think they can see in a place.

 

2. Answer the questions:

1. What is the best way to see London?

2. Why is Piccadilly Circus called the centre of London?

3. What is there in the middle of the Circus?

4. Why are there so many people in the Circus in the evening?

5. What makes Trafalgar Square so popular with tourists?

6. Why is the Tower of London called an open history book?

7. What legend is associated with the Tower of London?

8. What people are commemorated in Westminster Abbey?

9. What is Big Ben?

10. What is St. Paulís Cathedral famous for?

11. Where does the ceremony of the Changing of the Guard take place?

12. Why is the Natural History Museum especially popular with children?

13. Where are Londonís best-known parks situated?

14. Why do you think are the parks sometimes called Londonís lungs?

15. What do people use the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens for?

 

 


Date: 2015-04-20; view: 1646


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