The Tower of Londonwas built more than 900 years ago by William the Conqueror to protect and control the city. In the past it was a fortress, a palace and a state prison. Many kings lived here until the 17th c. when it became a prison. Many sad and cruel events took them Thomas More (the great humanist), two wives of Henry III. Now it is a museum which houses Royal armory collection of artillery and weapons, the Crown Jewels. The tower is guarded by the Yeomen Warders dressed in the uniforms of the Tudor time (the tunic is black and red). The ravens live in the Tower and are carefully guarded. There is a legend that without them the Tower will fall and the Kingdom with it.
Westminster Abbey is the Royal Church where most British monarchs since William the Conqueror have been crowned and buried. It was built in 1065. The Abbey contains the tombs and memorials of many famous English scientists (Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and others), the Poet’s Corner (G.Chaucer, Ch.Dickens, Redyard Kipling – are buried), the memorials to W.Shakespeare, John Milton, R.Burns, George Byron, W.Scott and others. There is The Grave of the Unknown Soldier (First World War). Westminster Abbey is not just a historic monument, now it is a church where the usual services are conducted from day today. It is a church from the Saxon times when in the year 750 A.D. a Benedictine Abbey was founded known as West Monastery (Westminster) – 5 km west of London’s centre.
The House of Parliament is the seat of the seat of the British Government, was built in 1860, is a very large Gothic building, 280 m. long. It stands on the left bank of the River Thames. The House is divided into 2 Chambers – The House of Commons and The House of Lords (House of Parliament). There are 2 towers there: the Clock Tower with the bell Big Ben in it, and the Victoria Tower. In the Chamber of the House of Lords there is a throne of the Queen. Here the Queen makes the throne speech on the day of the State Opening of Parliament. There is a crimson woolsack in front of the throne, a traditional seat of the Lord Chancellor. It is stuffed with wool from East, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland. The wool is a symbol of Britain’s prosperity. Trafalgar Squarewas made to commemorate the victory of Admiral Nelson at the sea battle of Trafalgar, the victory of the British Navy over Napoleon in 1805. The British fleet was commanded by Admiral Nelson, who was killed in this battle. The monument, Nelson’s Column, was erected in 1843. Its pedestal is decorated with four bronze bas-reliefs (they were made from cannons captured from the French) of Nelson’s famous naval victories: the Battle of Nile in 1798 (North); Nelson’s death at Trafalgar in 1805 (South); the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801(East); the Battle of Cape St.Vincent in 1797 (West). Later 4 great lions were placed at the foot of the Nelson Column. On the top of the column is the statue of Admiral Nelson (English sculptor Edward Bailey).
Edinburghis famous for its International Festival which includes: opera, ballet, music of all kinds, folk-dancing, plays, films, puppet shows, exhibitions of painting and sculpture. The Festival lasts three weeks and is ended by a military show (Tattoo) with music and fireworks.
Walesis famous for its three national parks, Snowdonia (northwest) is the most famous. Snowdonia is the highest peak in England and Wales. Many people come to this place for special holidays: walking, climbing, riding, water sports (canoeing) and fishing.
Answer the questions:
1. What do the Yeomen Warders guard?
2. What tells the Tower legend?
3 Where is the Grave of the Unknown Soldier?
4. Is Westminster Abbey just a historic monument?
5. What is a traditional seat of the Lord Chancellor and what colour is it?
6. What do four bronze bas-reliefs of Nelson’s Column picture?
7. What are Scotland and Wales famous for?
Christmas (December, 25) – putting presents for children into their stockings; using green and red decorations, bank holiday.
Boxing day (December, 26) – giving small Christmas presents/money to employers, postmen, milkmen etc., bank holiday.
New Year’s Day (December 31/January 1) – making resolutions to give up smoking, to keep to a slimming diet, bank holiday.
Remembrance Day (Second Sunday in November) – commemorating the British soldiers, sailors and airmen who gave their lives in both World Wars.
Spring Bank Holiday – last Monday in May.
Summer Bank Holiday – last Monday in August.
Easter Sunday and Easter Monday (between 22 March – 25 April) – decoration of Easter eggs, eating candy eggs and bunnies, bank holiday, presenting.
Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday in February) – eating pancakes.
Mothers Day (the second Sunday in May) – since W.W.II – The holidays of the American origin.
Father’s Day (the third Sunday in June) – The holidays of the American origins.
St. Valentine’s Day (February, 14) – sending cards with words of love.
Halloween (October, 31) – telling ghost stories, making masks, playing tricks.
Guy Fawkes Night (November, 5) – making a guy for bonfire.
Grandparent’s Days – September, 24
May Day (May, 1) – the festival celebrating the end of winter.
St. George’s Day (April, 23) – the saint of England.
St. Patrick’s Day (November, 17) – the saint of Ireland.
St. Andrew’s Day (November, 30) – the saint of Scotland.
St. David’s Day (March, 1) – the saint of Wales.
Answer the questions:
1. How many holidays are there in Great Britain?
2. What spring holidays celebrated in that country do you know?
3. What holidays are of the American origin?
Task 1.Prepare the report about one of the holidays.