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London is one of the biggest and most interesting cities in the world.

Traditionally it is divided into the West End and the East End. The West End is famous for its beautiful avenues lined with plane trees, big stores, rich mansions, expensive restaurants, hotels, theatres and night clubs. The East End used to be a poor area filled with warehouses, factories, slums and miserable houses. Quite a lot of people lived from hand to mouth here. For the recent years this area including Dockland has turned into a new housing development.

The heart of London is the City — its commercial and business centre. Here is situated the Tower of London that comes first among the historic buildings of the city. If you want to get some glimpses of London it's just from here that you had better start sightseeing.

The Tower of London was founded by Julius Caesar and in 1066 rebuilt by William the Conqueror. It was used as a fortress, a royal residence and a prison. Now it is a museum of armour and also the place where the Crown Jewels are kept. In present days, just as many centuries ago, the Ceremony of the Keys takes place at its gates. Every night when the guard is changed at each gate there is the cry: "Haiti Who goes there?" Then the guard replies: "The Keys." "Whose Keys?" "Queen Elizabeth's Keys!" "Pass, Queen Elizabeth's Keys! All's well." And so the Tower of London is safely closed for the night.

A twenty minutes' walk from the Tower will take you to another historic building — St. Paul's Cathedral, the greatest of English churches. It was built by a famous English architect, Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723). St. Paul's Cathedral with its huge dome and rows of columns is considered to be a fine specimen of Renaissance architecture. In one of its towers hangs one of the largest bells in the world, Great Paul, weighing about 17.5 tons. Wellington,[29] Nelson[30] and other great men of England are buried in the Cathedral.

Not far away, in Westminster, where most of the Government buildings are situated, is Westminster Abbey. Many English sovereigns, outstanding statesmen, painters and poets (Newton, Darwin, and Tennyson among them) are buried here.

Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, the seat of the British Parliament. Its two graceful towers stand high above the city. The higher of the two contains the largest clock in the country and the famous bell Big Ben that strikes every quarter of the hour.

If now we walk along Whitehall, we shall soon come to Trafalgar Square. It was so named in memory of the victory in the battle of Trafalgar, where on October 21, 1805 the English fleet under Nelson's command defeated the combined fleet of France and Spain. The victory was won at the cost of Nelson's life. In the middle of Trafalgar Square stands Nelson's monument — a tall column with the figure of Nelson at its top. The column is guarded by four bronze lions.

The fine building facing the square is the National Gallery and adjoining it (but just round the corner) is the Portrait Gallery.

Not far away is the British Museum — the biggest Museum in London. It contains a priceless collection of different things (ancient manuscripts, coins, sculptures, etc.). The British Museum is famous for its library — one of the richest in the world.[31] In its large circular reading room Marx, Engels and later Lenin used to work.

And now, even if you have almost no time left for further sightseeing, you cannot leave the city without visiting Hyde Park or "the Park" as Londoners call it. When you are walking along its shady avenues, sitting on the grass, admiring its beautiful flower-beds or watching swans and ducks floating on the ponds, it seems almost unbelievable that all around there is a large city with its heavy traffic.


— Is it possible to see anything of London in one or two days?

— Well, yes, but, of course, not half enough.

— What do you think I ought to see first?

— Well, if you are interested in churches and historic places you should go to Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's and the Tower. Do you like art galleries?

— Rather!

— Then why not go to the National Gallery and the Tate?

— I'm told one ought to see the British Museum. Do you think I shall have time for that?

— Well, you might, but if I were you, I should leave that for some other day. You could spend a whole day there. It's much too big to be seen in an hour or so.

— I suppose it is. What about going to the Zoo?

— That's not a bad idea. You could spend a couple of hours there comfortably, or even a whole afternoon, watching the wild animals, birds and reptiles. You could have tea there too.

— I'll do that, then. How do I get there?

— Let me see. I think your best way from here is to walk across Regent's park.

— Is it much of a walk?

— Oh, no, a quarter of an hour or so, but, if you are in a hurry, why not take a taxi?

— I think I will. Ah, here's one coming. Taxi! The Zoo, please.

(From "The Linguaphone English Course")


Red Square has witnessed many important events in the life of Russian people. Though time has changed the face of Red Square it' has remained the main square and the heart of the city.

Visitors from home and abroad stream here to enjoy the beauty of the historic buildings and monuments of which the Kremlin comes first. The Kremlin represents centuries of Russian history and one is usually struck by the austere and powerful appearance of its walls and towers.

Like the Tower of London the Kremlin was used as a fortress and a sovereign's residence. Now it houses the President's office and a number of museums including the Armory Chamber and the Diamond Fund.

In the centre of the square by the Kremlin wall is the Lenin Mausoleum, erected in 1930 by A. Shchusev. The architect interpreted the traditions of the pyramids in a modem way and gave the monument a laconic architectural form which was popular in the twenties. Behind the Mausoleum there is a necropolis of some outstanding statesmen and political leaders.

On the southern side of Red Square is St. Basil's Cathedral (Vasily Blazheny), a masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture. It was built in 1555 — 61 in memory of the victory over Kazan (1552). The monument standing in front of the Cathedral tells us of the people's victory over the Polish invaders in 1612. The inscription on the monument reads: "To Citizen Minin and Prince Pozharsky from a grateful Russia". The monument is the work of I. Martos (1752—1835). Not far from the Cathedral is what is called the Lobnoye Mesto, a platform of white stone more than 400 years old. The tsar's edicts were proclaimed there. Public executions were carried out on a wooden scaffold erected nearby. To the right of the Cathedral on the territory of the Kremlin we can see a tall tower, more like a column, over 80 metres high. It is the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great built in the 15th century. There are twenty-two large bells and over thirty small ones in it. For centuries the eastern side of Red Square had been associated with trading. The first stone shops were built here in the 16th century. Today on their site stands the State Department Store, better known as GUM.

If we walk up from St. Basil's to the opposite end of the square we face a red brick building. This is the History Museum. In the west Red Square is adjoining the Kremlin. Just on the other side of the Kremlin wall we can see the building of the former Senate, an outstanding architectural monument built by Matvei Kasakov (1738—1813), now the seat of the Administration of the President. A number of watch-towers protect the Kremlin bridges. The white Kutafya Tower is the best survivor of all of them. The tallest one is the Trinity Tower (80 m high). But the Spasskaya Tower with the Kremlin clock has long since become one of the symbols of Moscow.

Memory Work

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