Text: Martina Sipus
One of the most prominent financial centers of today was called Londinium by the ancient Romans. No matter how unusual it may sound, financial industry is the biggest industry in London. There are more than 500 international banks in the city, more than in any other city in the world.
Tower Bridge, National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Picadilly Circus, London Bridge, Westminster Palace, Madame Tussauds, Big Ben… If you go to London, you can be sure of one thing: regardless of how long you plan to stay in town, you will definitely miss time to see and experience all the tourist attractions of London. If you are a great lover of art, London museums will keep you busy for days. National Gallery on the biggest square in London, the Trafalgar Square, is among the biggest galleries in the world, with more than 2,500 paintings. British Museum is on the other hand the proud host of the most extensive collections, with more than seven million items related to the history and culture of not only London, but of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
The best thing about this whole offer is the fact that the museum is open seven days a week, and that it is free. The tourists can select from one of the 10 foreign languages in the multimedia guides. West End district is known for numerous plays and musicals, while Upper Street is a popular street for entertainment and relaxed socialization with several rounds of drinks in one of the bars and restaurants. If you find yourself in the warm evening hours in the streets of London, you will notice that people do not need too much to have good fun. Most of them are standing on the pavement in front of the bars, chatting, beer in hand. Oxford Street is shopping heaven. It’s the busiest shopping zone in Europe, 1.6 kilometers long. You will find many brand name stores there. A sight you will definitely not see in Croatia is the people queuing in front of the Apple Store at the moment of releasing a new model onto the market.
Although many people confuse it with the nearby London Bridge, the Tower Bridge is one of the most recognizable symbols in London. It was named after the nearby landmark, called the Tower of London. This impressive concrete icon connecting two banks of river Thames consists of two massive towers connected on the upper level. The construction of this bridge in Victorian Gothic style lasted eight years, and were built by the diligent hands of 432 workers. The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by Edward VII, who was Prince of Wales at the time. Tower Bridge is 244 meters long, and although the bridge’s color was originally chocolate brown, the present color dates back to 1977, when it was painted white, red and blue to celebrate Queen’s silver jubilee. The bridge is specific because it is a combination of a suspended and retractable bridge. It does not retract often, but it still let’s in the bridges that sail the energetic Thames. Designers Sir Horace Jones and John Wolfe Barry can indeed be proud of their masterpiece.
Traffic role model to the others
Public transportation in London is one of the best developed in the world. Black taxis, the so-called cabs, recognizable red double-decker buses, bicycles, railway, cars. The battle with traffic is lost in the start, but how else to cope with seven million hurried lives and numerous tourists? That is why everyone can use the efficient London subway, cutely nicknamed “The Tube”, which is one of the oldest and the longest subway systems in the world. The open-top red double-decker buses are a nice solution for the curious tourists, and all day sightseeing of the city can be had for 26 pounds.
The busiest British railway station is Waterloo, while Heathrow airport is the busiest airport I the world when it comes to the number of international passengers. London an indeed be discussed at great length, about how it was the biggest city in the world from 1831 to 1925, that it hosted the Olympic games twice, and that it has four locations on the World Heritage list. You can talk about its parks, the St. Paul’s Cathedral and why Nelson’s column was elected, but no epithet, attribute or landmark will best describe London at its best. Therefore, head towards England!