London places of interest

There are a lot of places of interest in London. Among them are: Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, London Bridge, the Tower of London.

WESTMINSTER, now the political centre of London, was until the 11-th century a sacred place. King Edward the Confessor decided to build a great abbey thurch here. It was consecrated in 1065, but a week later the King died and was buried in the abbey. His tomb became a popular place of pilgrimage. It still can be found at the heart of the present Westminster Abbey. William the Conqueror was crowned in the Abbey and since then all Coronations have taken place here. The Abbey contains many royal tombs, memorials to eminent men and women. But the most popular ones are those to writers, actors and musicians in Poets' Corner.

Alongside the Abbey Edward the Confessor had a palace built. The Palace of Westminster was the royal residence and also the country's main court of law. Parliament has met here since the 16-th century until the 19-th century.

The present HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT were built after the old palace burnt down in 1834. The building contains the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two chambers where parliamentary business is debated. On the corner next to Westminster Bridge stands St. Stephen's Tower, which houses the famous bell, Big Ben, which chimes the hours. A light at the top of the tower at night indicates that parliament is sitting.

BUCKINGHAM PALACE is the Queen's official London residence. Built in 1705 for the Duke of Buckingham; in 1761 it was sold to George III. The Palace was little used by the royalty until Victoria's accession to the throne in 1837. London's most popular spectacle is Changing the Guard: it lasts about 30 minutes.

ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL is Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece. The construction of the Cathedral lasted for 34 years. The classical structure is crowned by the dome. Inside the Dome are scenes from the life of St. Paul. There are many memorials in the Cathedral.

The Tower of London is connected with many important events in English history. It has served as citadel, palace, prison, mint, menagerie. Now it is a museum. The White Tpwer was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror to protect the city. The Tower is famous for its illustrious prisoners. Many great people lost their heads on the executioner's block. The Tower is guarded by the Yeoman Warders popularly known as "Beefeaters", clad in their traditional Tudor uniforms.