London draws people from all over the world. Some come on business, some come to study, to work or on holiday. London is naturally a very English city and it is very cosmopolitan, containing goods, food and entertainment, as well as people, from many countries of the world. London spreads its influence over much of the southern areas of England; it gives work to millions of people who live not only in the inner city areas but in surrounding districts. There is much in London which fascinates visitors and inspires the affection of Londoners: the splendor of the royal palaces and the Houses of Parliament, the dignity of St. Paul’s Cathedral and many monuments and beautiful parks. London shows examples of buildings that express all the different areas of its history. Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the Sovereign. The daily ceremony of the Changing of the Guards takes place in its courtyard. The palace was built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham. Piccadily Circus has become an important meeting point – for as well as sightseers. At its heart is a bronze fountain topped by a figure of a winded archer, known as Eros, the pagan god of love. This area is now famous for its theatres, clubs and shops. Whitehall is a street in central London running from Trafalgar Square to the Houses of Parliament and containing many important buildings and government offices, such as the Treasury, Admiralty and others, In the centre of the roadway stands the Cenotaph, the memorial to the fallen of both world wars. The Prime Minister’s residence at No. 10 Downing Street is directly connected to Whitehall. London is always full of life. The streets are crowded with traffic. High ‘double-decker’ buses rise above the smaller cars and vans. The city of London today is the financial powerhouse of the country and one of the chief commercial centers of the western world. The city has its own Lord Major, its own Government and its own police force. Here the medieval buildings stand side by side with modern glass high-rise offices. The parks of London provide a welcome contrast to the great built-up areas. St. James’s Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens are linked together. They form 313 hectares of open parkland in the heart of London.
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