Located in the south of England, the capital of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is one of the world’s megacities. According to proexchangerates, more than 7 million people live in the city on both sides of the Thames. The multicultural center is home to an abundance of architectural and cultural attractions and is the spiritual and political center of Great Britain with a royal residence as well as a seat of government and parliament.
As the administrative area of Greater London, the metropolis comprises the 2.7 km² City of London, the old city center, and 32 boroughs, the London Boroughs. Around 14 million people live in the metropolitan area of London.
Political and cultural center
London is located in the London Basin on both banks of the Thames, 75 km from its confluence with the North Sea.
As the capital of the country and the former British Empire, the city is the royal residence and seat of government and parliament. As the political center of the country, it is home to an abundance of central authorities and courts of law. It is also the seat of the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and a Catholic Archbishop.
All world religions have important cultural centers in the multicultural metropolis. The UK’s oldest university, the University of London, was founded in 1836. There are also four other universities, some of which are private, eleven art schools, ten universities of music and theater and eight technical universities.
Time-honored scientific and artistic societies such as the British Academy, the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, as well as the British Library, make London an intellectual center not only of Great Britain.
The most famous of the many museums include the British Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the much-visited wax museum of Madame Tussaud.
The opera houses and theaters are world famous. In 1997, the Globe Theater, which existed from 1599 to 1644 and where Shakespeare’s plays were performed, was reopened true to the original. A domed multifunctional hall of superlatives is the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, which was completed at the turn of the millennium.
The urban centers of the metropolis
The City of London, the old Londinium, can look back on almost 2000 years of history. Medieval London emerged from the Roman settlement, to whose protection WILHELM THE CONQUEROR had a fortress, the Tower, built in the east on the Thames. The former royal palace, later the notorious dungeon, is now the treasury, where the crown jewels are kept.
Another attractive historical building in the city is Saint Paul’s Cathedral with its 110 m high dome. The church was built between 1675 and 1711 after the great fire of 1666.
Many of the newer representative buildings also show that the city is not only the traditional center of banking, insurance and stock exchange in Great Britain, but also a major trading and financial center in the world.
The neighboring City of Westminster to the west is the real center of the kingdom.
Two of the oldest buildings in this neighborhood are the old Royal Palace, Westminster Hall, and the Coronation Church, Westminster Abbey. The imposing parliament building extends along the banks of the Thames. Its clock tower with the well-known Big Ben bell is one of London’s many landmarks.
Towards Trafalgar Square, the government district of Whitehall closes with its ministries and the prime minister’s seat of government, “No. 10, Downing Street ”. Even further to the west is the royal residence, Buckingham Palace.The City of Westminster is also where the central administrations of national and international corporations and offices for the advertising, television and film industries are concentrated. Of the numerous large parks, the Hyde Park with its famous Speakers Corner is probably the best known.
Between the two old settlement centers lies the no less well-known district of Soho with its numerous theaters, museums, restaurants and other entertainment venues. Notting Hill is one of the most interesting and colorful neighborhoods among the numerous, highly diverse neighborhoods, some ugly, run-down working-class neighborhoods, other elegant residential areas. Known for the film of the same name and the Caribbean-style Notting Hill Carneval, the district has become a tourist magnet.
Industry and Transport
The industry of the cosmopolitan city includes important companies in the printing, electrical, cement, paper and automotive industries. In addition, special machine construction, vehicle, aircraft and instrument construction, electrotechnical and electronic as well as petrochemical, chemical and pharmaceutical industries have settled in this important industrial center.
The main modes of transport since 1890 have been the subway, buses and taxis. Rail traffic has eight large long-distance train stations in the city.
The port has lost its former paramount importance and was relocated downstream beyond the city limits to Tilbury and some oil ports such as Shellhaven.
To protect the port and London from storm surges, a multi-gate storm surge barrier was put into operation in the lower reaches of the Thames, which is influenced by the tides, in 1982.
In world air traffic, London is one of the major “hubs” with several international airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and City Airport, which opened in Docklands in 1987.
The oldest port in London was between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. To the east of the tower, new docking ports for ever larger merchant ships were built in the 19th century for the rapidly growing city. From the middle of the 20th century, however, they could no longer cope with modern shipping. The Thames is only suitable for ships with great draft in its mouth. The Docklands degenerated and became a redevelopment area. With an extremely ambitious and expensive renovation project, old warehouses in the 22 km² harbor area have been converted into chic residential complexes, exclusive commercial and administrative buildings, museums, hotels and restaurants since the early 1980’s. The concept worked. The district became a desirable residential area and tourist attraction. That is why the construction projects continue. The huge Canary Wharf Tower is the tallest building in the British Isles and has become the symbol of the Docklands with its 249 m.