Proiect de atestat LONDON


With a population of just under eight million, and stretching more than thirty miles at its broadest point, London is by far the largest city in Europe. It is also far more diffuse than the great cities of the Continent, such as Rome or Paris. The majority of the London’s sights are situated to the north of the River Thames, which loops through the centre of the city from west to east, but there is no single predominant focus of interest, for London has grown not through centralized planning but by a process of agglomeration - villages and urban developments that once surrounded the core are now lost within the amorphous mass of Great London. Thus London’s highlights are widely spread, and visitors should make mastering the public transport system, particularly the Underground (tube), a top priority.

One of the few areas of London witch is manageable on foot is Westminster and Whitehall, the city’s rpolitical and ecclesiastical power base for several hundred years. It’s here you’ll find the National Gallery and the adjacent National Portrait Gallery, and a host of other London landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street, the House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. From Westminster it’s a manageable walk upriver to the Tate Gallery, repository of the nation’s largest collection of modern art as well as the main assemblage of British art. The grand streets and squares of Piccadilly, St James’s, Mayfair and Marylebone, to the north of Westminster, have been the playground of the rich since the Restoration, and now contain the city’s busiest shopping zones: Piccadilly itself, Bond Street, Regent Street and, most frenetic of the lot, Street.

East of Piccadilly Circus, Soho and Covent Garden form the heart of the West End entertainment district, where you’ll find the largest concentration of theatres, cinemas, clubs, flashy shops, cafes and restaurants. Adjoining Covent Garden to the north, the university quarter of Bloomsbury is the traditional home of the publishing industry and location of the British Museum, a stupendous treasure house that attracts more than five million tourists a year. Welding the West End to the financial district, The Strand, Holborn and Clerkenwell are little-visited areas, but offer some of central London’s most surprising treats, among them the eccentric Sir John Soane’s Museum and the secluded quadrangles of the Inns of Court. 18885zut84cln7z

A couple of miles downstream from Westminster, The City – the City of London, to give it its full title – is at one and the same time the most ancient and the most modern part of London. Settled since Roman times, it became the commercial and residential heart of medieval London, with its own Lord Mayor and its own peculiar form of local government, both of which survive, with considerable pageantry, to this day. The Great Fire of 1666 obliterated most of the City, and the resident population has dwindled to insignificance, yet this remains one of the great financial centres of the world ranking just below New York and Tokyo. The City’s most prominent landmarks nowadays are the hi-tech offices of the legions of banks and insurance companies, but the Square Mile boasts its share of historic sights, notably the Tower of London and a fine cache of Wren churches that includes the mighty St Paul’s Cathedral.

The East End and Docklands, to the east of the City, are equally notorious, but in entirely different ways. Impoverished and working-class, the East End is not conventional tourist territory, but to ignore it is to miss out the crucial element of the real, multi-ethnic London. With its abandoned warehouses converted into overpriced apartment blocks for the city’s upwardly mobile, Docklands is the corner of the down-at-heel East End, with the Canary Wharf tower, the country’s tallest building, epitomizing the pretensions of the Thatcherite dream.

Lambeth and Southwark comprise the small slice of central London that lies south of the Thames. The South Bank Centre, London’s little-loved concrete culture bunker, is the most obvious starting point, while Southwark, the city’s low-life district from Roman times to the eighteen century, is less known, except to the gore-addicts who queue up for the London Dungeon.

In the districts Hyde Park, Kensington and Chelsea you’ll find the largest park in Central London, a segment of greenery which separates wealthy West London from the city centre. The museums of South Kensington – the Victoria & Albert Museum, Science Museum and Natural History Museum – are a must, and if you have shopping on your London agenda you may well want to investigate the hive of plush stores in the vicinity of Harrods, superstore to the upper echelons. ul885z8184clln

Some of the most appealing parts of North London are clustered around Regent’s Canal, which skirts Regent’s Park and serves as the focus for the capitals’ trendiest wemarket, around Camden Lock. Further out, in the chic literary suburbs of Hampstead and Highgate, there are unbeatable views across the city from half-wild Hampstead Heath, the favorite parkland of thousands of Londoners. The glory of Southeast London is Greenwich, with its nautical associations, rpark and observatory. Finally, there are plenty of rewarding day trips along the Thames from Chiswick to Windsor, a region in which the rand aristocracy have traditionally built their homes, the most famous being Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Palace.

London. Historical buildings

Political, religious and regal power has emanated from Westminster and Whitehall for almost a millennium. It was Edward the Confessor who established Westminster as London’ s rand ecclesiastical power base, some three miles west of the real, commercial City of London. In the nineteenth century, Whitehall became the "heart of the Empire", its ministries ruling over a quarter of the world’s populations.

The monuments and buildings from this region include some of London’s most famous landmarks – Nelson’s Column, Big Ben and the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, plus the city’s two finest permanent art collections, The National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. This is a well-trodden tourist circuit for the most part - hence the council’s decision to reinstate the old red phone b– with few shops or cafes and little street life to distract you, but it’s also one of the easiest parts of London to walk round, with all the major sights within a mere half-mile of each other, linked by two of London’s most triumphant avenues, Whitehall and The Mall.

Despite being little more than a glorified, sunken traffic island, infested with scruffy urban pigeons, Trafalgar Square is still one of the London’s grandest architectural set-pieces. London’s Trafalgar Square, the city’s official center, features some of England’s most treasured historic monuments. The square was laid out between 1829 and 1841 on the site of the old rstables and is lined on its northern side by the National Gallery. The gallery, begun in 1824, boasts one of the finest art collections in the world, with work from every major western artist from the 15th through the 19th centuries. The square’s dominating landmark is a pedestal supporting a statue of Lord Nelson, the British naval hero who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in Spain, in 1805. Trafalgar Square is the location for festivities at Christmas Eve, New Year, and other major public occasions.

Nelson’s Column, raised in 1843 and now one of the London’s best-loved monuments, commemorates the one-armed, one-eyed admiral who defeated Napoleon, but paid for it with his life. The statue which surmounts the granite column is triple life-size but still manages to appear minuscule, and is coated in anti-pigeon gel to try to stem the build-up of guano. The acanthus leaves of the capital are cast from British cannon, while bas-reliefs around the base are from captured French armaments. Edwin Landseer’s four gargantuan bronze lions guard the column and provide a climbing frame for kids to clamber over. If you can, get here before the crowds and watch the pigeons take to the air as Edwin Lutyens’fountains jet into action at 9am.

Keeping Nelson company at ground level, on either sides of the column, are bronze statues of Napier and Havelock, Victorian major-generals who helped keep India British; against the north wall are busts of Beatty, Jellicoe and Cunningham, more recent military leaders. In the northeast corner of the square, is an equestrian statue of George IV, which he himself commissioned for the top of Marble Arc, over at the northeast corner of Hyde Park, but which was later erected here "temporarily"; the corresponding pedestal in the northwest corner was earmarked for William IV, but remains empty.Taking up the entire north side of Trafalgar Square, the vast but dull Neoclassical hulk of the National Gallery houses one of the world’s greatest art collections. Unlike the Louvre or the Hermitage, the National Gallery is not based on a former rcollection, but was begun as late as 1824 when the government reluctantly agreed to purchase 38 paintings belonging to a Russian émigré banker, John Julius Angerstein.

Nelson’s Column, since 1843

The gallery hundred and seventy years of canny acquisition has produced a collection of more than 2200 paintings, but the collection’s virtue is not so much its size, but the range, depth and sheer quality of its contents. The National Gallery’s original collections was put on public display at Angertein’s old residence at 100 Pall Mall, until this purpose-built building on Trafalgar Square was completed in 1838.

Around the east side of the National Gallery lurks the National Portrait Gallery, which was founded in 1856 to house uplifting depictions of the good and the great. Through it has some fine works among its collection of 10,000 portraits, many of the studies are of less interest than their subjects, and the overall impression is of an overstuffed shrine to famous British rather than a museum offering any insight into the history of portraiture. However, it is fascinating to trace who has been deemed worthy of admiration at any moment: warmongers and imperialists in the early decades of this century, writers and poets in the 1930s and 40s, and, latterly, retired footballers and pop stars. The special exhibitions, too, are well worth seeing – and the photography shows, in particular, are often excellent.

St James’s Park, on the south side of The Mall, is the oldest of the rparks, having been drained for hunting purpose by Henry VII and opened to the public by Charles II, who used to stroll through the grounds with his mistresses, and even take a dip in the canal. By the eighteenth century, when some 6500 people had access to night keys for the gates, the park had become something of a byword for prostitution. The park was finally landscaped by Nash into its present elegant appearance in 1828, in a style that established the trend for Victorian city parks.

Today the pretty tree-lined lake is a favourite picnic spot for the civil servants of Whitehall and an inner-city reserve for wildfowl. James I’s two crocodiles have left no descendants, but the pelicans can still be seen by the lake, and there ducks and Canada geese aplenty. From the bridge across the lake there’s a fine view over Westminster and the jumble of domes and pinnacles along Whitehall. Even the dull façade of Buckingham Palace looks majestic from here.

The graceless colossus of Buckingham Palace, popularly known as "Buck House", has served as the monarch’s permanent London residence only since the accession of Victoria. It began its days in 1702 as the Duke of Buckingham’s city residence, built on the site of a notorious brothel, and was sold by the duke’s son to George III in 1762. The building was overhauled for the Prince Regent in the late 1820s by Nash, and again by Aston Webb in time for George V’s coronation in 1913, producing a palace that’s about as bland as it’s possible to be.

For ten months of the year there’s little to do here, with the Queen in residence and the palace closed to visitors – not that this deters the crowds who mill around the railings all day, and gather in some force to watch the "changing of the guard", in which a detachment of the Queen’s Foot Guards marches to appropriate martial music from St James’s Palace (unless it rains).

Changing the guards on Buckingham Palace

Whitehall, the broad avenue connecting Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square, is synonymous with the faceless, pi-striped bureaucracy charged with the day-to-day running of the country. Since the sixteenth century, nearly all the key governmental ministries and offices have migrated here, rehousing themselves on an ever-increasing scale, a process which reached its apogee with the grimly bland Ministry of Defence building, the largest office block in London when it was completed in 1957. The original Whitehall Palace was the London seat of the Archbishop of York, confiscated and greatly extend by Henry VIII after a fire at Westminster forced him to find alternative accommodation. Little survived the fire of 1698, caused by a Dutch laundrywoman, after which, partly due to the dank conditions in this part of town, the rresidence shifted to St James’s.

The palace of Westminster, better known as the Houses of Parliament, is London’s best-known monument. The "mother of all parliaments" and the "world’s largest building" – or it was claimed at that time- it is also the city’s finest Victorian building, the symbol of a nation once confident of its place at the centre of the world. Best viewed from the south side of the river, where the likes of Monet and Turner set up their easels, the building is distinguished above all by the ornate, gilded clock tower popularly known as Big Ben, which is at its most impressive at night when the clock-face is lit up.

The original Westminster Palace was built by Edward the Confessor in the first half of the eleventh century, so that he could watch over the building of his abbey. It then served as the seat of all the English monarchs until a fire forced Henry VIII to decamp to Whitehall. The Lords have always convened at the palace, but it was only following Henry’s death that the House of Commons moved from the abbey’s Chapter House into the palace’s St Stephen’s Chapel, thus beginning the building’s associations with the parliament.

Houses of Parliament (picture taken from the Thames river):


Westminster Hall - virtually the only relic of the medieval palace is the bare expanse of Westminster Hall, on the north side of the complex. First built by William Rufus in 1099, it was saved from the 1834 fire by the timely intervention of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, who had the fire engines brought into the hall itself, and personally took charge of the fire fighting. The sheer scale of the hall – 240 ft by 60 ft – and its huge oak hammerbeam roof, added by Richard II in the late fourteenth century, make it one of the most magnificent secular halls in Europe.


St Stephen’s Hall and the Central Lobby - from Stephen’s Porch the route to the parliamentary chambers passes into St Stephen’s Hall, designed by Barry as a replica of the chapel built by Edward I, where the Commons met for nearly 300 years until 1834. The ersatz vaulted ceilings, faded murals statuary and huge wooden doors create a rather sterile atmosphere doing nothing to conjure up the dramatic events that have unfolded here. Shortly after wards the Civil War began, and no monarch has entered the Commons since St Stephen’s also witnessed the only assassination of a Prime Minister, when in 1812 Spencer Perceval was shot by a merchant whose business had been ruined by the Napoleonic wars. After a further wait the door keeper shepherds you through the bustlink, octagonal Central Lobby, where constituents "lobby" their MPs. In the tilling of the lobby Pugin inscribed in Latin the motto : "Except the Lord keep the house, they labour in vain that build it".


Big Ben - is a 13.5-ton bell, tolls the hours in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The original palace on the site of the Houses of Parliament was largely destrby fire in 1834. The current building was completed in 1852.


The House of Commons – if you’re heading for the House of Commons, you’ll be ushered into a small room where all visitors sign a form vowing not to cause a disturbance; long institutional staircases and corridors then lead to the Strangers’s Gallery, rising steeply above the chambers. Since an incendiary bomb in May 1941 destrBarry’s original chamber, what you see now is rather lifeless reconstruction by Giles Gilbert Scott, completed in 1950. Members of the cabinet occupy the two "front benches’; the rest are "backbenchers".


The House of Lords – On the other side of the Central Lobby a corridor leads to the House of Lords (or Upper House), a far dozier establishment, peopled by unselected Lords and Ladies, both hereditary and appointed by successive Mps, and a smattering of bishops. Their home boasts a much grander décor than the Commons, full of regal gold and scarlet, and dominated by a canopied gold throne where the Queen sits for the state opening of parliament in November.


The rapartments – if the House of Lords takes your fancy, you can see pomp and glitter by joining up with a guided tour. You’ll be asked to meet at the Norma Porch entrance below Victorian Tower, where the Queen arrives in her coach for the state opening. Then, after the usual security checks, you’ll be taken up the RStaircase to the Norman Porch itself, every nook of which is stuffed with busts of eminent statesmen.


Jewel Tower and the Victoria Tower Garden – the Jewel Tower, across the road from parliament, is a remnant of the medieval palace. The tower formed the southwestern corner of the exterior fortifications (there’s a bit of moat left, too), and was constructed by Edward III as a giant strong-bfor the crown jewels. On the other side of the road are the rather more attractive and leafy Victoria Tower Gardens, which look out onto the Thames.

Westminster Abbey is the oldest and most famous of the great churches of London. There has been a place of worship on its site since the seventh century when, according to legend, Saint Peter consecrated a church that had been founded in his name. The present structure is the result of rebuilding begun by Henry III in 1245, which continued intermittently until 1745. Many British monarchs have been crowned in the Abbey since the coronation of Harold II in 1066, and the church holds the tombs of many kings and queens, including Edward the Confessor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Henry VII. The Abbey also honors poets, politicians, and war heroes, including the "Unknown Soldier" who fought in World War I.

Founded in 1897 with money from Sir Henry Tate, inventor of the sugar cube, the Tate Gallery does its best to perform a difficult dual function as both the nation’s chief collections of British art and its primary gallery for international modern art.

The Tate hosts some of London’s best art exhibitions and every autumn sponsors the Turner Prize, the country’s most prestigious modern art prize. In particular, the role of the Saatchis, the advertising magnates who sit on the Tate’s committee of patrons, has been called into question. Prime movers in the art world, they are in a position to manipulate the art market through the Tate and their own gallery of modern art, thus wielding undue influence over the promotion of certain artists for their own financial benefict.

Westminster Abbey

To the west of Vincent Square, just off Victoria Street, you’ll find one of London’s most surprising churches, the stripey neo-Byzantine concoction of the Roman Catholic Westminster Cathedral. Begun in 1895, it is one of the last and wildest monuments to the Victorian era: constructed from more than 12 million terracotta-coloured bricks, decorated with hoops of Portland stone, it culminate in a magnificent tapered campanile which rises to 274 feet.

Anonymous and congested it may be, but Piccadilly Circus is, for many Londoners, the nearest their city comes to having a centre. A much-altered product of Nash’s grand 1812 Regent Street plan, and now a major traffic bottleneck, it is by no means a picturesque place, despite a major clean-up in recent years. It’s probably best seen at night when the spread of illuminated signs gives it a touch of Las Vegas dazzle, and when the human traffic flow is at its most frenetic

Although it has declined in popularity today, the tradition of afternoon tea has been a part of English life since the 18th century. The most formal afternoon tea is served at grand hotels, such as the Ritz on London's Piccadilly Circus. Here, thin sandwiches of cucumber, watercress, or smoked salmon are served with a range of teas from China and India, followed by sweet pastries, or scones served with jam and cream. Traditional afternoon tea is also served in quaint country teashops, which are found throughout England

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

As wealthy Londoners began to move out of the City in the eighteenth century in favour of the newly developed West End, so Street – the old Roamn road to – gradually replaced Cheapside

- The towers and spires of lure students and travelers from around the world to south central England. Situated near the confluence of the Rivers Thames and Cherwell, this site was settled by Saxon traders in the 10th century. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which logs the country’s history from the beginning of the Christian era, first mentions in 912.

This historic English city seats the 12th-century University of the country’s first university and one of the world’s most esteemed places of learning. Rhodes scholars, outstanding foreign students selected from the Commonwealth of Nations, the United States, South Africa, and Germany, study at the University of for two years. Today this university enrolls more than 13,000 students and has more than 35 individual colleges.

The heart of known as Carfax, derives its name from the Latin quadrifurcua, which means "four-forked". This refers to the four points of the compass—the direction of the city’s main streets. Walls surrounding ancient Carfax helped the city withstand attacks by the Danes during the 10th and 11th centuries. By the mid-13th century had become a major educational center, and the university attracted leading scholars and students from throughout Europe.


To the north of Street lies Marylebone, once the outlying village of St Mary-by-the-Bourne. Sights in this part of town include the massively touristed Madame Tussaud’s and the Planetarium , on Marylebone Street Road, the low-key galleries of the Wallace Collection, and Sherlock Holmes’old stamping grounds around Baker Street. There is a pleasure, though, in just wandering the Marylebone streets, especially the vilage-like quarter around Marylebone High Street.(See in the picture)

Cambridge, located on the River Cam north of London, is important as a center of learning and is the seat of the University of Cambridge, one of the great educational institutions of Europe. It is also a market center for the surrounding agricultural region and manufactures electronic equipment and precision instruments.

Cambridge has many outstanding edifices, including the Church of Saint Benet, a 10th-century Saxon structure; the restored Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the four round Norman churches in England; and the 15th-century King’s College Chapel, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. The many museums and galleries here include the Fitzwilliam Museum, featuring both archaeological and art collections.

Cambridge University

The 15th-century King’s College Chapel is one of the grandest buildings in the university town of Cambridge, and possibly all of England. The building, conceived by Henry VI, is spectacular for its high vaulted roof, lofty spires, great buttresses, and magnificent stained-glass windows. King’s College is one of the oldest in the university, dating back to the 1440s. It forms part of the town’s main line of colleges, including Queen’s, Trinity, and Magdalene, through whose landscaped lawns and gardens the picturesque River Cam winds its way.

Situated in the heart of London, the rborough of Kensington and Chelsea is chiefly a residential district and has several fashionable shopping areas, such as Kensington High Street and the King's Road.In the late 17th century, Nottingham House, in Kensington, became a rresidence. It was later remodeled by the architect Sir Christopher Wren and became known as Kensington Palace. The palace is still the residence of the rfamily, but it is open to the public.

Also in Kensington are the British Museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Science Museum; the Natural History Museum; the RColleges of Science, Art, and Music; and the RAlbert Hall. Founded in 1753, the British Museum is one of the world's oldest and most comprehensive museums, with artifacts ranging from Egyptian mummies to Roman treasures.

The historic fortress known as the Tower of London was built on the remains of Roman fortifications on the north bank of the River Thames. The original tower, known as the White Tower or Keep, is flanked by four turrets and enclosed by two lines of fortifications. It was built about 1078 by Gundulf, bishop of Rochester. The inner fortifications, called the Ballium Wall, have 12 towers, including Bloody Tower, Record or Wakefield Tower, Devereux Tower, and Jewel Tower.

The tower was used as a rresidence as well as for a prison until Elizabethan times. It is now largely a showplace and museum. It holds the crown jewels of England and is one of the country’s greatest tourist attractions. A popular feature is the Yeomen of the Guard, known as Beefeaters, who still wear colorful uniforms of the Tudor period.

Tower of London

The name Hyde Park is derived from the manor of Hyde, which once belonged to the abbot of Westminster. Prominent features of the park are The Serpentine, Rotton Row, the Pets’ Cemetery, and Marble Arch, the meeting place of soapborators. In the 18th and 19th centuries it was a fashionable park where rrode and drove, military reviews were held, and duels were fought.

The RCourt Theater is a landmark of London’s Kensington and Chelsea District, a center for the city’s artistic and cultural set. The RCourt specializes in modern and avant-garde productions, such as John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, which premiered here in 1956. Beginning at Sloane Square, Kensington and Chelsea’s main street, King’s Road, stretches along the north bank of the Thames. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the area was jammed with the tiny cottages of London’s working class. From 1830, the neighborhood became an extremely fashionable place to live. Kensington and Chelsea’s Sloane Street and King’s Road feature dozens of expensive shops and restaurants, while the streets running down to the Thames embankment contain many elegant Georgian and Queen Anne houses dating to the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the 16th century onward, rand courtiers lived at Kew, which was conveniently located close to Richmond Palace. Kew Palace, a Dutch-style house now within Kew Gardens, is the only survivor of several rresidences—George III and Queen Charlotte lived here. The gardens, originally developed by several 18th-century queens with a passion for landscape and botany, were passed over to the nation in 1840 as the RBotanic Gardens. The stately Hampton Court Palace, built in the early 16th century, soon became the residence of Henry VIII, and remained a rresidence for more than two centuries.

The rresidence of the British monarchs since the Middle Ages, Windsor Castle adorns the north bank of the River Thames about 35 kilometers (about 20 miles) west of London in the ancient town of Windsor. William the Conqueror originally chose this site for a fortress in the 11th century, after his triumph at the Battle of Hastings. Over the next eight centuries, various monarchs transformed and altered the castle into a 5-hectare (13-acre) rspread.

The dominant feature of Windsor Castle is its 16th-century stone Round Tower, which divides the castle into two courts, called the Lower Ward and the Upper Ward. The Lower Ward, to the west, holds Albert Memorial Chapel as well as the Perpendicular-style Saint George’s Chapel, a rmausoleum and the site of the annual installation of the Knights of the Garter. The Upper Ward contains the State Apartments, the rliving quarters and guest apartments. The celebrated Throne Room and the Waterloo Chamber are among the rooms open for tours. In November 1992 the State Apartments were the site of a raging fire that left several apartments gutted but spared most of the priceless art collection housed there.

Home Park, which contains the Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, adjoins Windsor Castle on the south, east, and north. The larger Great Park borders the castle grounds to the south. Across the Thames lies the town of Eton, home of prestigious Eton College, founded by Henry VI in 1440.










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