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Category Archive: страноведение

Pubs in Britain

english pub

Most countries have a national drink. In England it is beer, and the «pub» is a peculiarly English institution.
The pub is the place where people can meet and talk in a friendly atmosphere. It is quite different from bars or cafes in other countries. In cafes people drink coffee and get out. The atmosphere is rather formal. But in pubs there is a general atmosphere of warmth and cosiness.
Every pub has a sign outside with its name. («The Pig and Whistle», «The Bull», «The Duke of Cambridge», etc.). All pubs have one distinctive feature: there is no waiter service there. If you want something you have to go and ask for it at the bar. People usually sit at tables and chat in a small room, called the «bar», but the same term is used for the great counter of wood, where people stand and have their drinks.
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An Englishman’s Home is His Castle

english house

Everyone in Britain dreams of living in a detached house, which means a separate building. It is usually built of brick and slate. A detached house is of «non-classical» shape with a lot of little corners, which make the house very cosy. In front of the house there’s always a beautiful garden with smooth lawn. The garage is hidden away so it doesn’t spoil the rural feeling.
Every Englishman wants privacy. And a large, detached house not only ensures privacy, but it’s also a status symbol. Such a house is a dream for most people. But even a small house with a garden is very dear to the hearts of many people in Britain.
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Holidays in Britain

London

London

There are fewer public holidays in Britain than in any other country in Europe. Even New Year’s Day wasn’t a public holiday in England and Wales until quite recently. Most official holidays occur just before or just after a weekend. There are practically no extra local holidays in particular places.
The word holiday means holy day. But not all public holidays are connected with religious celebrations. The average employee gets four weeks’ paid holiday a year. About 40% of the population do not go away for their holidays.
In the 18th century the British upper class started the fashion for seaside holidays. In the 20th century the working class got such an opportunity too. And soon it became popular to spend a week or two at the seaside resort towns. These towns have many hotels.
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Holidays and Festivals in Great Britain

Festivals in Great Britain

Festivals in Great Britain

There are eight holidays a year in Great Britain. On these days people don’t go to work. They are: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Late Summer Bank Holiday.
Most of these holidays are of religious origin. But nowadays they have lost their religious significance and are simply days on which people relax, visit their friends. All the public holidays (except New Year’s Day, Christmas and Boxing Day) are movable. They don’t fall on the same date each year.
Besides public holidays, there are other festivals, anniversaries, on which certain traditions are observed. But if they don’t fall on Sunday, they’re ordinary working days.
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The Thames

The Thames

The Thames

The River Thames is one of the sights of London. Tourists come to admire the beauty of Cleopatra’s Needle, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. In fact the river isn’t just a part of the scenery. Without the river London wouldn’t exist. Let’s look back into history.
Two thousand years ago, in A. D. 43 a Roman army decided to cross the Thames at a point where a bridge could be built. That was the beginning of the City of London.
The Thames connected the settlements of the Romans at Kent and at Colchester. All foreign traffic and goods had to cross the Roman bridge, that’s why the nearby land grew into a key port, thus increasing trade with the Continent.
Over the next five hundred years, London exported the nation’s wool, cattle and imported fine clothes from Flanders, wine from France, furs from Scandinavia. The tradesmen formed guilds, which protected their interests and strengthened London’s position as a commercial centre.
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The Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

The Channel Tunnel

Great Britain is separated from the Continent by English Channel.
On May, 6, 1994 the Channel tunnel between Calais and Folkstone was opened by Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and President Mitteran of France. They were the first to travel under the sea.
That was the biggest project in which Britain took part. The process of the construction was very difficult and not always a successful one. The price of construction was very high (? 9 billion), several people were killed during the construction, and the start of service was several times postponed.
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The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy

The Royal Academy

There is a house of great beauty and colour in London. This is Burlington House. Since 1869 it has been the Royal Academy of Arts.
In 1768 a group of leading painters, sculptors and architects presented a memorial to King George III. The young art-loving monarch declared his patronage, protection and support. All succeeding Sovereigns have accepted the style of «Patron, Protector and Supporter» of the Royal Academy. The monarch formally sanctions the elections of new Royal Academicians.
The first President of the Academy was Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose statue (palette and brush in hand) surveys the forecourt of Burlington House. He was President for 24 years and created in the Academy a body of highly skilled professional artists.
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The Museum of Transport

The Museum of Transport

The Museum of Transport

The Museum of British Transport is in London. It tells the story of public transport in Britain.
In 1829, an Irishman (Shillibeer by name) started the first bus-service in London. His bus was very different to those you can see in London today. It was drawn by three horses and looked like a carriage. The first double-decker bus was built in 1851. But the upper deck didn’t have a roof until about 1936. When it was raining the passengers were given raincoats.
In 1885, the first buses, driven by a petrol engine were used in London. The speed of the first petrol engine bus was 12 miles per hour.
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Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is the biggest market-place in Britain. If you come to Covent Garden in the afternoon, you’ll only see enormous buildings and a few tourists. But if you come here early in the morning, you’ll see hundreds of people buying and selling vegetables, fruit and flowers. Cars, vans, lorries are everywhere. There are voices everywhere. Some people are carrying heavy boxes of fruit and vegetables. They are crying: «Mind your backs, please». Before the businessmen arrive at their offices, all the cars and vans will have arrived at the shops all over London. They’ll have delivered everything for customers. By the afternoon all the farmers, shopkeepers, porters and drivers will have gone home. The market-place will have been cleaned by the dustmen. It’ll be ready to meet tourists.
Covent Garden has been the most important market-place in London for 300 years. It was officially established by King Charles II in 1670. It was called Covent Garden because it was the garden of the monks of Westminster Abbey. At that time it was very small, and used only by Londoners.
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The British Museum

Great Britain

Great Britain

The British Museum is the largest and richest of its kind in the world. This Museum comprises the National Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography, and the National Library. It was built in the middle of the last century. The Museum is situated in London (in Bloomsbury district).
On one of the houses in Bloomsbury there is a plaque, which tells people that for nearly 50 years this was the home of Sir Hans Sloane, the benefactor of the British Museum.
Sir Hans Sloane was an Irishman. He arrived in London nearly 300 years ago with 800 species of plants collected in West India. His particular specialities were natural history specimens and books. All his long life Sir Hans Sloane remained a collector. In his will he offered his vast collection to the people of Britain. Later on the Government bought his collection. Two important libraries were added to the collection of natural history specimens and books.
At first, his collections were on view to the public in a large house not far from the present museum.
The present building was built in 1852.
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