Millions of people all over the world spend their holidays traveling. They travel to see other continents, modern cities and the ruins of ancient towns, they travel to enjoy picturesque places, or just for a change of scene. Its always interesting to discover new things, different ways of life, to meet different people, to try different food, to listen to different musical rhythms.
Those who live in the country like to go to a big city and spend their time visiting museums and art galleries, looking at shop windows and dining at exotic restaurants. City-dwellers usually like a quiet holiday by the sea or in the mountains, with nothing to do but walk and bathe and laze in the sun.
Most travelers and holiday-makers take a camera with them and take pictures of everything that interests them – the sights of a city, old churches and castles, views of mountains, lakes, valleys, plains, waterfalls, forests; different kinds of trees, flowers and plants, animals and birds.
Later, perhaps years later, they will be reminded by the photos of the happy time they have had.
People travel by train, by plane, by boat, by car, by bike and on foot. People travel to have a holidays or to have business. If people have business trips they choose the fastest transport. They often travel by plane or by train. It is very expensive but it is very fast. And if people want to have a rest they choose traveling by boat, by car, on horseback and etc. When you travel by car or by bike you can stop where you want.
All means of travel have their advantages and disadvantages. And people choose one according to their plans and destinations.
If we are fond of traveling, we see and learn a lot of things that we can never see or learn at home, though we may read about them in books and newspapers, and see pictures of them on TV. The best way to study geography is to travel, and the best way to get to know and understand people is to meet them in their own homes. The best way to study geography is to travel, and the best way to get to know and understand people is to meet them in their own homes.
Russia has always been a country of mystery attractive for foreigners. There are lots of villages and towns in Russia famous for their specific crafts: painted boxes in Palekh, wooden tableware in Khokhloma and toys in Dymkovo. Thousands of foreigners visit Russia to enjoy the typical Russian log houses, decorated with wood carvings.
Tourists like to visit old Russian towns and cities famous for their ancient architecture. They are especially attracted by Russian orthodox cathedrals, churches and monasteries. One of the most interesting old cities in Russia is Novgorod, or Novgorod the Great, as it was called in the old times. It is a treasury of architecture, painting and applied art created over the 11th to 17th centuries. The first records of the city on the Volkhov River date back to the year of 859. Now Novgorod has expanded far beyond its former limits. It is an important industrial and cultural centre, located on the busy highway linking Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The focal point of the city is the Detinets, or the Kremlin. The present-day Kremlin stems largely from the 15th century. Several alterations made in the 16th and 17th centuries were minor and did not affect its appearance. Novgorod’s contribution to the development of Russian culture is outstanding. No other city excels Novgorod in the number of ancient monuments of architecture. The Novgorod Museum of History, Architecture and Art shows visitors the history of the medieval Novgorod. Its artistic value lies primarily in its collection of medieval icon painting.
There is a lot to see in Russia, but first of all foreign tourists visit the capital of our country, Moscow, its political, economic, commercial and cultural centre. They dream of visiting Red Square, which is called the heart of Moscow. Perhaps, the most ancient monument of Red Square is St. Basil’s Cathedral. With its nine beautifully painted cupolas, it is a real masterpiece of ancient Russian architecture.
If you come to Moscow for the first time, you should by all means visit the Kremlin, which is very impressive. On the territory of the Kremlin you can see old cathedrals, the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great, the State Kremlin Palace, the Tsar Cannon and the Tsar Bell, the biggest cannon and bell in the world. The tallest Kremlin tower, the Spasskaya Tower, has become the symbol of the country.
If you leave the Kremlin by the Trinity Gate you will come to the Alexandrovsky Gardens. The first thing to do in the Gardens is to stand by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, still and silent. Not far from the Alexandrovsky Gardens, behind the Bolshoi Kamenny Bridge, you will see Christ the Saviour Cathedral, with its huge beautiful gilded dome. Foreigners are usually surprised by the number of churches and cathedrals in and around the city. There are also a lot of beautiful palaces, old mansions and monuments in Moscow.
There are more than 80 museums in our capital. The largest museums are the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, whose collections include works of art of the ancient Orient and ancient Egypt, and the State Tretyakov Gallery, which houses a rich collection of Russian painting and Russian icons. Other unique museums in Moscow are the State History Museum, the All-Russia Museum of Decorative, Applied and Folk Art, the Polytechnical Museum and many others. Moscow is famous for its theatres, too. The best-known of them is the Bolshoi Opera House. Drama theatres and studios are also very popular.
Another interesting place to visit in Moscow is the All-Russia Exhibition Centre which occupies an area of 530 acres. The Exhibition Centre is situated in a beautiful park. The most admired feature of the Exhibition Centre is its fountains. The «Friendship of the Nations» and the «Stone Flower» fountains are the most beautiful. The Exhibition Centre is a large cultural and commercial complex where different international exhibitions and fairs are held.
One of the most famous sights of the city is the Moscow Metro and a journey by Metro will be unforgettable. In the Metro you do not feel as if you’re underground. This is due to the unique architecture and the artistic design of the stations, which are more like palaces. No two stations are alike; most of them have their own appearance.
Of course, every foreigner should visit St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia and one of the most splendid cities in the world. It was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great at the mouth of the Neva River. Now it is an important industrial, cultural and educational centre.
St. Petersburg is indeed a wonderful city: at every turn there is something to catch your eye. The Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Peter-and-Paul Fortress, and the Admiralty Building attract thousands of tourists from every corner of the world. Petersburg’s many museums house some of the world’s most famous art collections. The Hermitage and the Russian Museum, for example, contain the richest collections of pictures in the world.
There are a lot of Hero-cities in our country. And I would recommend that my foreign friends visit one of them. Volgograd is a legendary city, because here in 1943 the Soviet Army won the great and glorious victory over the fascists. The city was completely ruined during the war, but now it is a beautiful city again. It stands on the banks of the great Russian river Volga. The symbol of Volgograd is the Mamaev Hill. It was the centre of fighting during the heroic defence of Stalingrad. Now there is a great memorial there. Besides, you can visit the Stalingrad Battle Panorama Museum, which is situated on the bank of the Volga River. The centre of Volgograd is the Square of the Fallen Heroes. In the middle of it there is a granite obelisk and the common graves of the heroes of the Civil War and the Great Patriotic War. At the foot of the memorial you can see the Eternal Flame. Now Volgograd is a big industrial and cultural centre.
There are a lot of other interesting towns and cities in Russia, which are all worth visiting.
London is one of the largest cities in the world. More then 10 mln people live in London and its suburbs. London is a city of striking contrasts. Here one can come across the past and the present, the old and the modern, live side by side in mutual tolerance and respect.
In London, one can see architecture of different centuries and styles. It is inseparably connected with the history of the city. The Romans, the Saxons and the Danes settled here in turn, after them came the Normans, and brought the French civilization. London survived the Plague and the Great Fire, which followed in 1666. During the Fire all wooden houses were smashed to the ground and a New London, London of stone with bigger houses and wider streets was built. During the World War II, many buildings of great historic value lay in ruins and today the face of London is changed.
The city first started in the place, which is known as the City. It is the Heart of London, it’s commercial and business centre. It occupies a territory of a square mile. During a day, it is full of people, nearly half a million people work there.
The West End is the richest part of the city with its beautiful avenues, parks and gardens, grand hotels, theatres and fashionable shops. It is a symbol of wealth and luxury.
While the City is the money of London and the West End is the good of London, the East End is the hands of London, that built the banks of the City and beautiful mansions and hotels of the West End. It is a district, inhabited by the workers. There are many factories and the Port of London there.
As for me, I cannot imagine London without Thames. In fact, painters and writers regard the river as the source of inspiration. Turner, Monet, Canatello painted it countless times and their impression of the river in all seasons can be seen on the walls of museums, throughout the world. Pope, Spensor and many other poets sang it in their poems. The most famous books about the Thames are ‘Three men in a boat’ by Jerome-k-Jerome and ‘The wind in the willows’ by K. Graham. If there had been no Thames, there would be no London. It was born many centuries ago in the place, which is known as the City. The City is not only the centre of business. It’s the birth place of London. London was born in the place not far from St. Paul’s cathedral hundreds of years before our era. It was called Lynn-din (the lonely port) at that time. After the Norman Conquest, it became Londinium.
If you want to get some glimpses of London, you’d better start sightseeing with the Tower of London, that comes first among the historic buildings of the city. It was built as the fortress after the Norman invasion of England in 1066. It has been used as the Royal Palace, as an observatory, an arsenal and a prison. For many visitors the principal attraction is the Crown Jewels, the finest precious stones of the nation.
A twenty minutes’ walk from the Tower will take you to another historic building – St. Paul’s Cathedral, the greatest of English churches. It was built by a famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren. St. Paul’s Cathedral, with it’s famous Whispering Gallery, is considered to be a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. In one of its towers hangs one of the largest bells in the world – Great Paul.
Not far from Cathedral is Westminster Abbey. It was founded by Edward the Confessor in 1050. The best part of the Abbey is a wonderful chapel, dating back to the 16th century. It is famous for its magnificent architecture. There are many monuments and statues there. Many English kings and queens are buried there. Since William the 1st, almost ever monarch has been crowned in this great church. One of the greatest treasures of the Abbey is oaken Coronation Chair made in 1300. On the south side of Westminster Abbey is Poet’s Corner, where the greatest English writers are buried. Here also are memorials to Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Scott and so on.
Across the road from Westminster Abbey is Westminster Palace, which is spread magnificently on the north bank of the Thames. It is a remarkable example of Gothic architecture.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London has a very interesting story behind it. It was begun by a man who was not even English, William of Normandy. At the time he was the cousin of England's Kind Edward. It all started because William became outraged when Edward backed down on his promise to give the throne to William and ended up giving the throne to his English brother-in-law, Harold. William sailed his army across the English Channel to conquer England. On October 14, 1066, he met Harold at Hastings and conquered him. On Christmas Day later that year, William – now called William the conqueror – was crowned King of England. Immediately after William took over as king, he built forts everywhere. One stood in the southeastern corner of London, near an old Roman wall on the north bank of the Thames River. William ordered that this fort be removed in 1078 to be replaced by a huge stone stronghold. This would be the «symbol of his power, a fortress for his defense, and a prison for his enemies». (Fisher, 1987) He named it the Tower of London.
The Tower was finished twenty years later, rising nearly one hundred feet high, with its walls fifteen feet thick in certain places. Inside was a chapel, apartments, guardrooms, and crypts. The Tower was protected by a wide ditch, a new stone wall, the old Roman wall, and the river. This was done to secure the fact that this tower was a prison that no prisoner would escape from.
The Bishop of Durham was probably the Tower's first distinguished prisoner. He was very fat, greedy, and unpopular. He was dragged to the prison by his brother with his servants and bags of money. But the Bishop lived very well inside the Tower because he could bribe the guards with gold. One night in February, 1101, he gave a huge banquet with a lot of food and liquor. When he had gotten the guards very drunk, he pushed his bags through a window and slid down a rope to freedom.
Around the year 1240, King Henry III made this tower his home. He whitewashed the tower, widened the grounds to include a church, a great hall, and other buildings. He renamed the entire new area the Tower of London, and renamed the Tower the White Tower. Although the tower was still a prison, Henry had turned the White Tower into a breathtaking palace. He entertained many important visitors, many of which came with animals as gifts. Near the drawbridge of the tower, Henry built the Lion Tower, a zoo where visitors would be greeted with roaring beasts. Here is a map of the tower.
In 1377, when Richard II was king, the Tower continued to be a stronghold. But four years later, on June 14, a group of overtaxed farmers stormed the Tower. Richard and his brothers safely hid themselves inside. But the farmers found the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Royal Treasurer, a tax official, and a doctor. These men were taken to Tower Hill where their heads where chopped off. Richard later made peace with these farmers. The leader of the farmers, Wat Tyler, was beheaded. Richard was eventually thrown into a Tower dungeon, where he was forced to give up the throne to Henry IV.
Several monarchs died in the Tower of London. One was thirteen-year-old King Edward V. When his father, King Edward IV died, his uncle Richard, the Duke of Gloucester, plotted to take the throne for himself. Richard had the thirteen-year-old king and his younger brother, the Duke of York, taken to the tower. Lord Hastings, a royal officer, tried to protect Edward, but was unsuccessful. Hastings' head was chopped off on the Tower Green, and Edward and his brother were murdered. These murders most likely took place in the Garden Tower, which was later renamed the Bloody Tower.
Since the Tower of London was so dangerous, King Henry VII formed a personal bodyguard. Henry moved into the Tower in 1485 after killing Richard III in a battle. His protectors were called the Yeoman Warders, who to this day still guard the tower. King Henry was a very frugal man. He seldom gave parties and tried very hard to avoid war, which both cost a lot of money.
After the death of Henry VII, the Tower of London was never again used to house an English queen or king. The dungeon was still used to hold England's enemies, and the Tower was still used for many celebrations. The marriage of King Henry VIII to his second wife, Anne Boleyn, took place at the Tower on May 19, 1533. A huge party was thrown for the next 11 days at the Tower, topped off with an enormous feast.
But the Tower of London was not always a place of celebration. On May 19, 1536, Anne Boleyn was executed under Henry's orders at the Tower Green. Anne had been accused of misconduct, but the plain truth was that she had born a daughter rather than a son, who would become a future king of England. This daughter was Elizabeth I, who would later become the Queen of England. Elizabeth was held prisoner in the Tower for two months by the order of her half sister, Queen Mary. Mary felt that her throne was being threatened by Elizabeth, so she imprisoned her in the Tower. If you look really carefully, you can see Anne Boleyn's Ghost about the tower. She will tell you about the royalty.
Elizabeth was innocent, and people knew it, leading to a public outcry. Elizabeth was released on May 19, 1554 (ironically, May 19 was the day on which Anne Boleyn was married and killed, and the same day that Elizabeth was released from jail.) In 1558, Elizabeth became the queen of England. She spent three days on her coronation in the Tower, to symbolize that it was her duty to «take possession» of it as the royal monarch of England. (Fisher, 1987) On January 15, 1559, she left in a festive parade to be crowned at Westminster Abby. Elizabeth would never return to the Tower.
In 1603, part of the Tower of London became a museum. King James I had ordered that the royal jewels be kept in the Tower Jewel House and be put on display for the Tower visitors. Though its roots trace back to a non-Englishman, the Tower of London has had a very interesting place in English history. It has been the sight of murders, marriages, uproars, museums, and zoos. But the Tower of London will always be remembered as a «symbol of royal power, a fortress for the monarch, and a prison for the monarch's enemies».
Many people like traveling and I am no exception to the rule. Some people like to travel in winter, but most of them prefer to go travelling in summer, when it is warm and the sun is shining brightly. There are people who like to travel by train or by air. In this way they cover large distances and see the far-off places. If a person likes the sea he decides upon a sea-voyage. Nowadays young people travel on foot and like to go to the woods or to the mountains. On a trip by air you don't see much, but you save a lot of time. If you go by train, you get acquainted with new regions. A sea-voyage is very pleasant if the sea is calm. The passengers enjoy watching the sea, which is always ever so beautiful. Many people travel all around our country by car. I believe that travelling is one of the best pleasures in the world.
1. Encyclopedia Britannica 2006
2. The official site - The Tower of London