Monday, 16 July 2007

10 Places to Visit in London

Most people think they have already seen everything is worth seeing in their home country. Let's take for example the UK. A lot of British citizens want to go on vacation to the so called exotic countries without considering the opportunity to visit their wonderful country and especially their capital London. Prince Charles for example is buying land and old houses - which he completely refurbishes - in Transylvania and many other British are buying properties in Spain or Italy.
The wonderful city of London has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The Romans conquered Britain and built a settlement (castrum) here and named the place Londinium replacing thus the traces left by the Picts. Later the Anglo-Saxons came and built their unique civilization . In 1066 William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Batard) came with his brave Norman warriors and started a new era in the long history of England.
London is nowadays one of the most important economical and cultural centre in the world. The banks, the companies and the cultural life of the city transformed it into one of the most successful and influential capitals of the 21st century.

If I could go to London right now these are the top 10 places that I would surely like to visit:

1. The British Museum
It is the oldest and the most important museum in the world. The public displays and the collections of the British Museum represent an important part of the cultural and material heritage of the world.

2. Buckingham Palace
Is the official residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The changing of the guards is one ritual that no tourist should miss when visiting London.

3. London Eye
The giant wheel was built on the bank of the Thames - in front of the Houses of the Parliament - and offers a wonderful perspective of the whole city.

4. The Houses of Parliament (The Westminster Palace)
The world famous Big Ben is the major attraction of the building. The huge clock tower dominates the City and it precisely strikes every hour.

5. Westminster Abbey - The Coronation Cathedral
Beginning with the 25 of December 1066 - when William the Conqueror (William I r. 1066-1087) was anointed king of England - all the kings and queens receive the divine blessing in this huge cathedral.

6. The Tower of London
Before his being anointed king of England William ordered the Norman builders who were accompanying to erect a tower. The White Tower gradually became, after repeatedly being extended, what is today known as the Tower of London - a series of fortifications that were used as royal residence, prisons or Royal Treasury (for the Jewels of the Crown). Today is a famous museum and the Beefeaters are most pleased to guide all the tourists.

7. St. Paul's Cathedral
It is a Baroque master piece built under the supervision of Sir Christopher Wren. The Dome is one of the largest in the world. Christopher Wren himself was buried here. Other famous British subjects that rest under the roof of St. Paul's are Duke Wellington, Lord Nelson, John Donne or J.M.W. Turner.

8. Tower Bridge
Built in the neogothic style Tower Bridge was inaugurated in 1894. It is a wonder of technology and engineering. When finished the mobile bridge was lifted by steam engines. Now the half an hour guided tour offers the tourists another perspective of London and its achievements.

9. The National Gallery
Displays more than 2,300 paintings created between 1260-1900. The main entrance is in the Trafalgar Square but the Sainsbury wing is more appropriate for starting a tour of the exhibitions.

10. The Underground
Particularly interesting is the London Underground or the tube (initially the tunnels were perfectly round) as it also called. It is not a real touristic attraction but I consider it worth "visiting" I mean using. It is the best means of transport in London - there are also the famous double deckers or the black cabs - even if a little bit too crowded during rush hours.

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