London from above
London is one of the most historic,cosmopolitan and energetic cities in the world. Capital of the United Kingdom and seat of the British government, London occupies both banks of the river Thames in south-east England . It is the UK's largest port and main centre of population, an international hub of trade, finance, politics, and culture: a city rich in tradition, tragedy, triumph and experience, with each layer adding to London 's unique character.
St Paul's Cathedral, the Palace of Westminster, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London are just a few of the city's more historic buildings, but equally eye-catching are some of the recent developments such as the London Eye, the Gherkin, and the UK 's tallest building at I, Canada Square . But it is not the skyscrapers that define London 's skyline. Castles, royal palaces and timber-framed houses sit comfortably alongside the modern buildings, busy thoroughfares and the infrastructure of a thriving metropolis: everywhere there are the landmarks of a remarkable past.
Londiriium was founded 2,000 years ago by the Romans but there is evidence of human habitation dating back 4,000 years. London is sited on a chalk basin filled with sand, gravel, Thames alluvium, and clay up to 200m deep. Fossils discovered in the clay reveal remains of a tropical past with exotic plants and animals, including crocodiles that lived here some 50 million years ago.
The river Thames has provided water drainage, and access for the trade that brought prosperity. The Romans were the first to build a bridge over it with a wooden structure close to the present location of London Bridge . In Elizabethan times London Bridge was topped with timber houses. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the town experienced tremendous growth in population. The Thames became a polluted mess and cesspits within the city were a constant source of contamination.
Outbreaks of plague between the 14th and 17th centuries killed some 30% of the population. The Great Fire of 666 brought more devastation; 80% of the city proper was destroyed and the face of London was changed forever Rapid industrialization in the 9th and early 20th centuries brought wealth but also pollution and disease. Then came yet more destruction from German bombs during the Second World War Since then, massive reconstruction and development, together with pollution control and painstaking cleaning of buildings, has restored much of London 's original grandeur.
Until recently the last bridge downstream across the Thames, Tower Bridge is one of the most famous symbols of London. Originally, London Bridge was the only crossing over the Thames in London. As the city grew, more bridges were built upstream to the west but by the 19th century, the east end of London had became so densely populated that a bridge was urgently needed.Tower Bridge was completed in 1894 with two hydraulically operated boscalis which can be raised to allow ships to pass. The two supporting towers rise to a height of 43m.