16. Great Britain (Velká Británie)
The British Isles are formed the two major islands of Great Britain and Ireland and more than 5,000 small ones. The isles are washed off by the North Sea in the north and east, by the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean in the West. On the south, England and France are divided by the La Manche Channel. England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain) together with Northern Ireland form the country officially known as „The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland“ or simply the United Kingdom (UK). The original inhabitants were the Celts. Nowadays there are the English, the Welsh, the Scots and the Irish. The official language is English.
The climate in the U.K. is influenced by the Gulf Stream, so it is quite warm in England but it rains fairly often.
Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the state. The British Parliament is one of the oldest in the world.
The most famous places:
Oxford and Cambridge: the oldest universities (12th – 13th centuries). Those two universities are big rivals and every year they organize rowing competitions. (veslování).
In Canterbury there is the famous cathedral with the grave of the archbishop Thomas Beckett who was murdered in 1170. Thanks to this event, the cathedral was a popular destination for pilgrims from all over Europe.
Salisbury Plains are famous for a place called Stonehenge. These are giant stones in a circle. They are assumed to be 3,000 years old. It could have been an observatory, a calendar or a place for ceremonies. Nobody knows for sure but the greatest question is how the huge stones could have been transported from the remote parts of Wales.
Liverpool, apart from being an industrial town, became famous as the birthplace of Beatles.
Stratford-upon-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare.
Wales: is sometimes called a land of castles, the capital is Cardiff
Scotland: the biggest city is Glasgow but the capital is the historical town of Edinburgh. The typical instrument is the pipe and a typical Scot is dressed in a kilt.
Ireland is divided into the Northern Ireland, or Ulster (the capital is Belfast) and the Republic of Ireland (the capital Dublin).
The capital of the U.K., is situated on the Thames in the southern part of England. The city was probably founded 2,000 years ago. London is a cosmopolitan city, there are people of many nationalities. Today a population is about 7 million inhabitants.
The Tower of London stands on the north bank of the Thames.
The Tower Bridge is a great symbol of London. The bridge opens in the middle and goes up when huge ships want to pass through.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the largest in the world. It is the residence of the bishop of London.
The Houses of Parliament: there is the Clock Tower with famous Big Ben
Buckingham Palace: the home of the queen. The changing of the Guards is one of the biggest London’s spectacles and it takes place every day at 11 a.m.
Downing Street number 10 has been the home of British Prime Minister since 1732.
Trafalgar Square: has a statue of Admiral Nelson
Piccadilly Circus: is the talk (zábavní centrum) of the town. Five major roads cross there and in the close surroundings there are many London theatres, cinemas, restaurants and shops.
Westminster Abbey (opatství): was founded in 11th century.