Great Britain or United Kingdom, officially United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland, a parliamentary monarchy in northwestern
Europe. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales,
Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast respectively.
The United Kingdom’s flag is the Union Jack. It’s red, white and blue.
Each country also has a national ’’emblem’’ or sign. The English emblem
is a red rose. The Welsh emblem is a vegetable or flower. The Scottish
emblem is a wild plant - a thistle. And the Irish emblem is another wild
plant - a shamrock. It’s traditional in Britain to wear your country’s
emblem on its saint’s day. The leek doesn’t go in a buttonhole, so the
Welsh often wear a daffodil. These are Britain’s patron saints and their
days. The Scots, Welsh and English don’t really celebrate their national
saint’s days. But St. Patrick’s Day is important for Irish people all
over the world. In New York, for example, the Irish people always have a
big St. Patrick’s Day parade. Great Britain consists of England,
Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ireland. But in
everyday speech ‘Great Britain’ is used to mean the United Kingdom. The
capital of the UK is London.
London is one of the oldest and most interesting cities in the world.
Traditionally it is divided into several parts: the City, Westminster,
the West End and the East End. They are very different from each other
and seem to belong to different towns and epochs.
The Tower of London is associate with many important events in the
British history. 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 palace and a prison. Now it is a museum.
Westminster Abbey- more correctly, the Collegiate Church of St. Peter in
Westminster- is the most famous church in the English-speaking world and
one of the world’s great religious temples. Its stones and monuments
tell a story of English history over more than nine centuries. It houses
the shrine of the only English king to be recognised as a saint. Since
1066 it has been a Coronation church.
Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, or the
Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British Parliament. The Clock
Tower of the Houses of Parliament is famous for its big hour bell, known
as ’’Big Ben’’.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of Her Majesty. The
Queen and as such is one of the best known and most potent symbols of
the British monarchy.
Buckingham House- the building now completely enveloped by Buckingham
Palace- was built for John, first Duke of Buckingham, between 1702 and
1705. It was sold to the Crown in 1762 his illegitimate son, Sir Charles
Sheffield, for the sum of 28000 pounds. Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s
official London residence.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. It was built
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