London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England and is the most populous city in the European Union.

London is a leader in international finance, politics, education, culture, entertainment, fashion and the arts and has considerable influence worldwide. It is widely regarded as one of the world's major global cities, and has been an important settlement for nearly two millennia.

London has an estimated population of 7.5 million (as of 2005) and a metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million. London has an extremely cosmopolitan population, drawing from a diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions, speaking over 300 different languages. Residents of London are referred to as Londoners.

The city is a major tourist destination and an international transport hub. It counts many important buildings and iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace amongst its attractions, along with famous institutions such as the British Museum and the National Gallery.


Today, "London" usually refers to the region of England called London, which is coterminous with Greater London. At the heart of the conurbation is the small, ancient City of London which was historically the entirety of the city. Londoners generally refer to the City of London simply as "the City" or the "Square Mile". London's metropolitan area grew considerably during the Victorian era and again during the Interwar period with expansion halted in the 1940s by World War II and Green Belt legislation and has been largely static since.

The extent of the London postal district, Metropolitan Police District, local government area, London transport area, urban sprawl, coverage of the London telephone area code and metropolitan area have rarely been coterminous and are not currently. The area delimited by the orbital M25 motorway is sometimes used to define the "London area" and the Greater London boundary has been aligned to it in places. London is split for some purposes into Inner London and Outer London.

The coordinates of the centre of London (traditionally considered to be the original Charing Cross, near the junction of Trafalgar Square and Whitehall) are approximately 51°30′N 0°8′W. The Romans may have marked the centre of Londinium with the London Stone in the City.


The entire London urban area may be classed as a "city" using a geographical definition, but technically it is not so. Officially, London is a region containing two smaller cities within its built-up area: the City of London and the City of Westminster (see City status in the UK).

Unlike most capital cities, London's status as the capital of the UK has never been granted or confirmed officially — by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the UK's unwritten constitution.

Geography and Climate

Greater London covers an area of 609 square miles (1,579 km²). Its primary geographical feature is the Thames, a navigable river which crosses the city from the southwest to the east. The Thames Valley is a floodplain surrounded by gently rolling hills such as Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill. These hills presented no significant obstacle to the growth of London from its origins as a port on the north side of the river, and therefore London is roughly circular.

The Thames was once a much broader, shallower river with extensive marshlands. It has been extensively embanked, and many of its London tributaries now flow underground. The Thames is a tidal river, and London is vulnerable to flooding. The threat has increased over time due to a slow but continuous rise in high water level by the slow 'tilting' of Britain (up in the north and down in the south) caused by post-glacial rebound. The Thames Barrier was constructed across the Thames at Woolwich in the 1970s to deal with this threat, but a more substantial barrier further downstream may be necessary in the near-future.

London has a temperate climate with regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year. Snow is uncommon, particularly because heat from the urban area can make London 5°C hotter than the surroundings.

London's vast urban area is often divided into a large set of districts (e.g. Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Whitechapel, among dozens of others). These are for the most part informal designations which have become commonplace through tradition, with no official boundaries. One area of London which does have a strict definition is the City of London (usually just called The City), the principle financial district of the UK. The City has its own governance and boundaries, giving it a distinctive status as a "city within a city". London's other financial hub is the Docklands area in the east of the city, dominated by the Canary Wharf complex, whilst many other businesses locate in the City of Westminster which is the home of the UK's national government.

The West End (actually in Central London, in the City of Westminster) is London's main entertainment and shopping district, with locations such as Oxford Street, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus acting as tourist magnets. The actual West London region, further out from the centre, is traditionally known for fashionable and expensive residential areas such as Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea — amongst the most expensive places to live in the country.

Meanwhile, the eastern side of London contains the East End — the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London. The surrounding East London area, of which the East End is seen to form a part, saw much of London's early industrial development, and is currently part of the Thames Gateway regeneration that includes the 2012 Olympics.

North London and South London are divisions of the capital made by the River Thames although informally can cover varying areas.


The administration of London takes place in two tiers — a city-wide, strategic tier and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority (GLA), whilst local administration is carried out by 33 smaller districts.

Перейти на сторінку номер:
 1  2  3  4 

Інші реферати на тему «Іноземна мова»: