Unit 3.1

Territorial and administrative structure: Capitals, cities and towns

Capitals

  • The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland consists of Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) and Northern Ireland. Following are the capitals of countries within the UK:
    • London is the capital, seat of government and largest city of the United Kingdom. It is also the capital of England.
    • Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland.
    • Cardiff is the capital of Wales.
    • Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland.

Cities with an International Impact

  • London is the largest city of the United Kingdom. It is the second-largest financial centre in the world and the most important insurance services market in the world. There is a lot of scientific and research institutions, editorial offices of British magazines with international reach and large publishing houses.
  • Manchester is a part of the metropolitan country called Greater Manchester in North West England. It is located in the United Kingdom’s second-most populous urban area. 
  • Birmingham is a city and metropolitan district in the county of West Midlands. It is the second-largest city in Britain. It is an important industrial, cultural and academic centre.
  • Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and is the third-largest in the United Kingdom. It is situated on the River Clyde in the central belt of Scotland. It is Scotland’s economical centre and is a part of the high-tech sector.

Places of Historic, Artistic or Cultural Interest

  • Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster in London. The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower. It has become one of the most famous symbols of the United Kingdom.
  • Houses of Parliament which is also known as the Palace of Westminster. It is located in London. It is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. These are the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Palace is located in central London.
  • London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is also known as the Millennium Wheel.
  • Stonehenge is a famous megalithic structure from the Neolithic and Bronze Age. It is located near the city of Salisbury in Wiltshire in southern England.
  • Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress built on the Castle Rock in Edinburgh. It used to be an important fortress in the Kingdom of Scotland.

Important Events

  • Notting Hill Carnival is an event that takes place on the streets of Notting Hill in London and is celebrated since 1996. The festival comes from the Caribbean minorities, where the carnival tradition is very strong. Its goal was to unite the Caribbean people of Notting Hill. It is led by members of the British West Indian community and attracts around one million people annually. It has a colourful parade, many stages on which different kinds of music can be heard. It is Europe’s biggest street festival.
  • Glastonbury Festival takes place at the end of June and last for 5 days. It is one of the most popular music festivals in the United Kingdom.
  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world celebrated since 1947. Any type of performance can be shown, across theatre, comedy, music and dance. Many students visit Edinburgh to put on their shows.
  • Edinburgh’s Hogmanay covers four days of processions, concerts and fireworks, with the street party beginning on Hogmanay.
  • Glasgow Film Festival: It is a film festival based in Glasgow, Scotland. The festival began in 2005.

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