вторник, 18 июня 2013 г.


London - city, capital of the United
Kingdom and the centre of the
Commonwealth. It lies astride the
River Thames in southeastern
England, 50 miles (80 km) from the
river's estuary on the North Sea. The
city was once the industrial,
commercial, and political hub of a
wealthy and extensive empire; it
continues to be the United
Kingdom's main centre of
population, commerce, and culture.
A brief treatment of London follows.
For full treatment (including a map),
see London.
The chalk basin within which London
is built is filled with younger
sediments including solid rock,
sands, clays, terraced pebble gravels,
and Thames alluvium. The climate
within the basin is relatively mild,
with January to July mean
temperatures ranging from 37.4 to
72.5 F (3 to 22.5 C); rainfall amounts
to 21 inches (533 mm) a year.
Founded by the Romans as
Londinium in the 1st century AD,
the town experienced tremendous
growth in trade and population
during the late 16th and early 17th
centuries. Extensive building
projects were initiated after the
Great Fire of 1666, and London
became the dominant centre not
only of the nation but of its
expanding empire. During the 19th
century, the problems caused by
rapid industrialization, such as
pollution and disease, were slowly
remedied through advances in public
health and other services. Heavy
damage from aerial bombings during
World War II brought the greatest
setback in the history of modern
London. Reconstruction and new
development restored much of the
city's grandeur, and relocation of
manufacturing and shipping outside
the city shrank its population and
hastened its transition to a centre of
international trade and finance.
Tourism and retail trade are other
major sectors of the city's economy;
and, because London is the nation's
capital, government services are also
an important sector.
The City of London, about 1 square
mile (2.7 square km) in area, is the
core of an area called Inner, or
Central, London, which contains the
City of London and 13 of the 33
boroughs of Greater London. The
central point in the City of London is
an open space from which eight
streets radiate. On the southern
side is Mansion House, residence of
the lord mayor of London. Lombard
Street, the traditional banking
street, is nearby, as are the Bank of
England headquarters, the Royal
Exchange, and the Stock Exchange.
To the east is the fortress-castle
known as the Tower of London,
whose core dates from the late 11th
century and is surrounded by
constructions from many periods of
English architecture. To the west lie
the Inns of Court, longtime
chambers and offices of barristers
and lawyers-in-training, and the
Royal Courts of Justice, or Law
Courts. The City of London and the
City of Westminster are linked by the
Strand, an avenue upon which are
located two of London's oldest
churches, St. Clement Dane's and St.
The City of Westminster, which
stretches along the River Thames, is
one of the country's wealthiest
boroughs and is famed for its
commitment to historic renovation.
It includes Westminster Abbey and
Westminster Cathedral, Buckingham
Palace, the principal government
offices, important shopping districts,
New Scotland Yard, luxury hotels,
the Tate Gallery, and the National
Gallery. Retail shopping areas are
concentrated around Oxford Street.
Kensington High Street and
Knightsbridge are also major
shopping districts. The shops spread
west and south toward King's Road
in Chelsea.
London's East End, containing
neighbourhoods such as Aldgate and
Whitechapel, now constitutes the
borough of Tower Hamlets. The area
is historically associated with the
Cockney dialect and became an
infamous slum during the 19th
century. The East End was the most
heavily bombed area of London
during World War II and
subsequently benefited from
extensive rehabilitation.
Parks, gardens, and churchyards
abound in Inner London. The most
celebrated parklands are the six
royal parks that sweep through
London's West End: St. James's Park,
oldest of the six central royal parks,
bordered on the north by the half-
mile-long Mall that terminates at
the Queen Victoria Memorial;
Buckingham Palace Gardens,
bordered on the east by the royal
residence; Green Park, plainest of
the royal parks but fringed on the
east by lavish, once-private
buildings; Hyde Park, with its famous
Speakers' Corner for soapbox orators;
the more elegant Kensington
Gardens, with the Victorian Gothic
Albert Memorial and an 80-acre (32-
hectare) cultural centre; and
Regent's Park, home of the Zoological
Gardens and Regent's (Grand Union)
Squares and variously shaped
commons are prominent features of
London's landscape. Of note are
Grosvenor Square, site of the F.D.
Roosevelt Memorial, and Trafalgar
Square, which features a statue of
Lord Nelson, hero of the Battle of
Trafalgar (1805); the National Gallery
borders the square.
London's other major cultural
institutions include the British
Museum, which houses collections of
antiquities, prints, and manuscripts
and the national library; the Victoria
and Albert Museum of decorative
arts; and the music and arts complex
located on the South Bank of the
Thames, begun in 1951 for the
Festival of Britain.
The development of the city's
outlying areas was promoted by the
opening of the world's first electric
underground railway in 1890. Major
roads and rail lines radiate in all
directions. Dock activity and river
traffic are controlled by the Port of
London Authority. The London
(Heathrow) International Airport is
located in the western reaches of
Greater London. Area City, 1 square
mile (2.7 square km); Inner London,
124 square miles (321 square km);
Greater London, 610 square miles
(1,579 square km). Pop. (1992 est.)
City, 3,900; Inner London, 2,632,100;
Greater London, 6,904,600

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