London is the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is one of the world’s oldest and largest cities. People have lived in London for about 2,000 years.

The River Thames <<tehmz>> flows east through the middle of London. Central London has three main sections. Two of the sections, the City and the West End, are on the north side of the river. The third section, the South Bank, is on the south side.

The City is the oldest part of London, but most of the old buildings were torn down to make room for modern offices and bank buildings. The West End is the center of Britain’s government, and the towers of the Houses of Parliament are a familiar sight along the Thames. The West End is also famous for its many theaters and shopping districts, especially around Piccadilly Circus, where six busy streets come together. The South Bank has many office buildings and a large, modern cultural center.

Each year, millions of people visit London’s many museums, parks, and well-known places such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. Buckingham Palace is the London home of the British royal family. Long ago, the Tower of London was a prison, but now it holds the royal jewels. Soldiers in fancy red uniforms guard the palace and the tower.

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