Is London a state or a city
It all started with the Romans: Londinium
Tradition and history are nevertheless omnipresent in London: In the historic center, one attraction follows the next. Traditions like the key ceremony in the Tower survive the rapid changes the city is exposed to.
Despite the fast pace of the city, you can feel the breath of history in London. In 43 AD the Romans invaded Britain and founded the small port settlement Londinium on the site of what is now London.
The place on the south bank of the Thames, today's district of Southwark, was strategically located and was soon connected by a bridge to the north bank, today's City of London.
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, the city initially fell into disrepair. In the 9th century, the Anglo-Saxons conquered the area around the Thames estuary and founded the city of Lundenburgh.
London became the British capital after the renewed, this time Norman conquest in 1066. The London Tower also dates from this period. It has been expanded again and again over time and now houses the British Crown Jewels, among other things.
It was not until the 17th century that the next major changes in London were made. For one thing, the plague raged in this century and decimated most of the population. Second, four fifths of the medieval city was destroyed by the "Great Fire" of 1666.
Boom and expansion - London as a cosmopolitan city
The city has been growing steadily since the 18th century. The explosive economic growth in the 19th century made London the largest and richest city in the world. England pioneered industrialization. With the construction of the British railroad at the beginning of the 19th century at the latest, everyone wanted to go to the capital, where there should be work and money.
Thanks to the train connection to the surrounding towns, London's city center soon continued to expand. Green areas and fields were built on, and the surrounding villages docked onto the urban area. In just a few decades the population multiplied and London became the largest city in the world. With numerous British colonies scattered around the world, London was the capital of a huge empire for a long time.
Even today, the city on the Thames seems to be a collection of many villages, a patchwork quilt that offers diversity and mass. There is still no one inner city in London, but London is made up of many different parts of the city.
Very British - tradition and ritual
London is the old lady among world cities. In addition to the traditional royal family, the hatter of the Queen or the shoemaker, who custom-made the finest shoes in the old tradition, you will come across numerous historical ceremonies in the British capital. The famous changing of the guard of the courtly guards at Buckingham Palace is probably the best known.
Many cultural idiosyncrasies, such as the elegant afternoon tea, also persist. At the richly laid table in the idyllic "Orangery" in Kensington Gardens, tea, finger-shaped sandwiches and scones, the typical tea biscuits, beckon. Even those who are neither aristocratic nor extremely rich can sniff a bit of genteel air in the salons of the splendid hotel restaurants and mingle with the noble guests for afternoon tea.
The British Teatime gives you an enjoyable break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in London. Because there is also plenty of noise and hectic pace. In addition to all the tradition, London is loud, modern and hectic. In the times of globalization, tradition begins to crumble in many places.
In 2005, for example, the famous red double-decker bus was abolished from regular service. Today there are only a few tourist routes on which the bus with a doorless rear entrance operates. Likewise, the decent queue or the classic bowler hat as headdress are rarely found in London.
City of contradictions and breaks
Greater London is the smallest but most densely populated of the nine regions of England. The administrative area was established in 1965 and covers the entire metropolitan area of London. About 14 million people live here. An attractive variety is presented in a small space, which lives above all from its contradictions and breaks.
"Bulky" is a characteristic that applies to London more than any other city. There is everything here: art and culture, theater and architecture, the bizarre, the historical and the hypermodern - everything is in abundance. There are 40 theaters in the central City of Westminster alone.
London is still a leader in fashion and music. And the world of museums in London is also attracting worldwide attention: above all the Tate Modern and the British Museum. Numerous exhibitions and vernissages that take place in established locations and in the alternative art scene also make London a great city of art.
The multicultural capital
In London, people from more than 160 nations live together and next to each other. In the streets of the "multicultural capital" you can hear more than 300 different dialects and languages. This diversity is also noticeable in the cityscape. If you only travel a few stations on the subway, you feel like you are on another continent.
The British Empire is gone, but London has left an attractive legacy. London's East End is a classic immigrant neighborhood. Immigrants from the Caribbean, Africa and India live here. The Brick Lane area is home to many Bangladeshis, Stamford Hill is home to Orthodox Jews, and Vauxhall is the Portuguese quarter.
London is a trip around the world every minute. In Brixton you feel like you are in the heart of Africa - if only the English weather would play along in the bazaar, where colorful robes and turbans alternate with imitation branded watches. Of course there is tension among the many different nations in London too.
But overall everyone lets everyone do their thing. Because in this cultural "melting pot" (melting pot) everyone is a foreigner and a specialty. Cricketers and tea ceremonies are just as tolerated or admired as flashy-clad figures or oriental peculiarities.
Much also goes into everyday life. Soho, for example, is the European center of traditional Chinese medicine, and Indian dishes have long been part of typical London cuisine.
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