London possesses a large number of splendid buildings, squares, museums, beautiful parks and exciting, lively streets like no other city in the world. This is why we can only mention the essential sights, the most important ones. We shall begin with Buckingham Palace, the royal residence (1820) which was first used as such by Queen Victoria from 1850. Whoever goes to see it, should not miss the Changing of the Guards, always a fascinating event. The most well known landmark (London has many) is the impressive Big Ben on the left bank of the river Thames, the Bell Tower of the Houses of Parliament (1850). The House of Commons (Lower House) and House of Lords (Upper House) have their seat in the Houses of Parliament. Formerly it was the Royal Palace – from William the Conqueror until Henry VIII- and owing to this it is still officially called the Palace of Westminster.
In the west is the venerable Westminster Abbey in which (with only a few exceptions) the English kings have all been crowned and buried from 1066 to date. The Qty of London, the financial and business center, is dominated by St Pauls Cathedral rebuilt on the same site of the Cathedral which was burnt down in the Great Fire of London. Here the Prince and Princess of Wales were married and many famous personalities are buried in its crypt. Next to the Tower Bridge finished in 1894, loom the towers of another London landmark, the Tower of London. A completely intact medieval castle, which served as fortress, prison, torture chamber and execution site. It was built in the 11th century and controlled the shipping on the Thames. To name but a few others: the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum and the Tate Gallery give further examples of the culture and history of Britain.
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