Hello dear readers of the site. Ah, London. Mysterious, unusual, ageless and ever-changing city. It is full of green parks, cherry red buses, royal palaces, etc. Its history is fascinating and its architecture is breathtaking.
And today we decided to take a closer look at the capital of Great Britain. In this article, we have collected the most interesting facts about London.
It may sound strange, but London is the smallest city in England. Yes, you heard right. What we call London (City of London) is only a small part of the Greater London area. The city of London has an area of 2.9 km² and is home to about 9,000 people. As for Greater London, its area is 1,569 km² (usually it is called London) and it includes 32 districts and the City of London.
Almost everyone thinks that Big Ben is called the clock tower. But in reality, such a nickname bears the main bell in the Elizabeth Tower. At the same time, not a single foreign traveler can get inside the Elizabeth Tower and look at this bell, since only British citizens are allowed on excursions there (this was done for security reasons).
The smallest statue in the world is located here. This is a statue of two mice eating a piece of cheese. It is so small that walking by it you may not even notice it. But what symbolism does she wear? The story goes that the statue was built in memory of two builders who fought over the fact that one of them allegedly ate all the food. As it turned out later, the food was eaten by mice and their accusations against each other were erroneous.
Emigrants of different nationalities make up the lion’s share of the capital’s population. They adhere to their original traditions and, in addition to English, communicate in their native languages. Due to this incredible diversity, it is estimated that over 300 languages are spoken in this city. Most likely, if you are traveling around this city, then you may meet a person who is a native speaker of your native language.
This city has a long and not entirely transparent history. Some historians claim that it was founded by the Romans around AD 50. The origin of its name also remains a mystery.
Throughout history, it has had various names, including Londonium, Ludwick, Ludenberg. The most common version of the origin of the modern name is that it comes from the old Celtic word “Londinous”, which literally means “to be brave.”
Red buses are by far the most important symbol of this city. It is the double-decker red buses that many associate with London. But the famous buses weren’t always that color. Until 1907, the most colorful buses traveled along the streets of the capital. But in 1907, the London General Omnibus Company, the bus company that dominated the city, decided to paint its entire fleet red. Since then, London’s buses have turned red.
In most countries in the world, you only need a driver’s license to work in a taxi. But in the case of London, the situation is much more complicated. The famous Black Cab drivers go through incredibly long training before they are allowed to hit the streets of the city as taxi drivers. Typically, taxi driver training lasts from 2 to 4 years and candidates must learn every street in London by heart. In addition, they must navigate as quickly as possible and choose a shorter and more convenient route for customers.
One of the most tragic events in the history of this city was the Great Fire in 1666. Most of the capital was engulfed in flames. About 70,000 dwellings of the townspeople were destroyed.
It was once the capital of 6 countries at the same time. Formally, of course. During the horrific World War II, the city was the safest in Europe, so the displaced governments of countries already conquered by Nazi Germany took refuge there, making the capital of England also the capital of Poland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Many of us are convinced that London is a gloomy city where it always rains and everything is covered with fog. But in reality, this is nothing more than a myth. In fact, there is, on average, about 583.6 mm of precipitation per year. This makes it less rainy than Rome, Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona, Miami, New York, etc. Even St. Petersburg, it rains more often (the annual amount of precipitation is in the region of 662 mm).
A very funny fact about it is that, technically, it can be called a forest. Why? The thing is that there are a lot of trees here – about 8.5 million. According to UN definitions, such a number of trees in such an area allows London to be called a forest.
Many people know that left-hand traffic has been introduced in the UK. But at the same time, there is one street in its capital, on which drivers are required to move not on the left side, but on the right. This is Savoy Court street, where the fashionable Savoy Hotel is located. This rule has been valid here since 1902. Why such an anomaly occurred is not known for certain. According to one version, in this way the British authorities wanted to please the guests from the United States who settled in the hotel. According to another version, this was done so that people from the hotel did not cross the road to get into the car.
It should be noted that in fact, such a decision in the city violates the Geneva Road Convention, which permits either right-hand or left-hand traffic in any country, but prohibits their simultaneous use.
The capital of Great Britain is not the only city in the world that bears this name. For example, the United States of America has 10 cities with this name, Canada has one, and France has one. There is even an asteroid called the capital of England. That’s all for us, dear readers. Thank you for your attention to our website.