TRADITIONS & CUSTOMS OF GREAT BRITAIN
Every nation and every country has its own customs and traditions. In Britain traditions play more important part in the life of the people than in some other countries. Englishmen are proud of their traditions and carefully keep them up. It has been the law for about three hundred years that all the theatres are closed on Sundays no letters are delivered only a few Sunday papers are published. To this day English families prefer cottage houses with gardens to flats in a modern house with central heating. English people like gardens. Sometimes the garden in front of the house is a little square covered with cement painted green (in imitation of grass) and a box of flowers. In English houses the fireplace has always been the centre of interest in a room. For many months of the year people like to sit round the fire and watch the dancing flames. Fireplaces are decorated with woodworks, there is a painting or a mirror over it. Above the fire there is usually a shelf with a clock and some photographs. Holidays are especially rich in old traditions and are different in Scotland, Wales and England. Christmas is a great English national holiday and in Scotland it is not kept at all except by clerks in banks, all the shops and factories are working. But 6 days later on the New Year's Eve the Scots begin to enjoy themselves. People invite their friends to their houses and sit the old year out and the new year in. In England on new Year's Eve a lot of people go to Trafalgar Square, at midnight, they all cross their arms join hands and sing. People have parties too, they drink toasts to the New Year Children are happy to have presents.
Four times a year the offices and banks in Britain are closed on Monday. These public holidays are known as Bank Holidays. The British like to spend holidays out of the town in the open air. They go to the sea-side or to amusements parks. Londoners often visit the Zoo, outside London they take their families to Hamsted Heath a large natural park too. There is usually a big fair with many different amusements for children merry-go-round, swings puppet shows, bright balloons.
One must also speak about such holidays ass All Fools Day, Hallowe'en Bonfire Night, St. Valentines Day and such tradition as Eisteddfod (a festival of which culture) .
SCIENCE IN OUR LIFE
Today we see the world in which social, industrial and political order has been greatly influenced by science. The development of science has increased man's know-ledge of nature. Modern experimental science began about 400 year ago. Man learned to use the energy of fire water. Later man made steaw serve him. Nowadays man uses thermonuclear energy and that of autimatter. I'd like to dwell on electronics as not a day passes without the appearance of a new electronic device. The first great progress in electronics came with the invention of the vacuum tube or valve in 1904. it made broad casting possible. the development of electronics during World War II gave us radars and electronic computers. The first general purpose computer for scientific use was invented in 1949. Today computers have become common they can do fantastic things. Computer can conduct experiments in places, which are too dangerous for people. Some computers are used in carves and mines to replace workers. Besides they can be designed for special purposes. They can solve mathematical problems, make bank aubuts, play chess. New supercomputers solve problems in many branches of industry, science and culture. They are widely used in submarine navigation and in modern hospital. Now much is being done to create artificial intellect. Science has brought in to being a new atomic technologies. Electric engineering and radio engineering have been created in the some way.
Science and technology have achieved great progress in space research. There have been space flights, the launching of interplanetary stations in the direction of Mars, Radar contacts with the planets Mercury and Venus. Science enters own flats. Many people have already forgotten what the world was like before television. Several generations of children have grown up with TV as a baby-sitter, teacher and companion. A lot of kitchens in our flats are so well equipped that they look like a control room. We are so used to all these that we can't imagine our life without science.
THE UNITED KINGDOM
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. The British Isles consist of two large islands, Great Britain and Ireland, and about five thousands small islands. Their total area is over 244 000 square kilometres. The United Kingdom is one of the world's smaller countries. Its population is over 57 million. About 80 percent of the population is urban. The United Kingdom is made up of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast respectively. Great Britain consists of England, Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ireland. But in everyday speech Great Britain is used in the meaning of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The capital of the UK. is London. The British Isles are separated from the Continent by the North Sea and the British Channel. The *western coast of Great Britain is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish Sea.
The surface of the British Isles varies very much. The north of Scotland is mountainous and is called the Highlands. The South, which has beautiful valleys and plains, is called the Lowlands. The north and west of England are mountainous, but the eastern, central and south- eastern parts of England are a vast plain. Mountains are not very high. Ben Nevis in Scotland is the highest mountain (1343 m) . There are a lot of rivers in Great Britain, but they are not very long. The Severn is the longest rive, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one. The mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and the warm waters of the Gulf Stream influence the climate of the British Isles. It is mild the whole year round. The UK is a highly developed industrial country. It produces and exports machinery, electronics, textile. One of the chief industries of the country is shipbuilding. * The UK is a constitutional monarchy with a parliament and the Queen as Head of State.
Abraham Lincoln is the most famous example of the **American dream” . Many Americans think that in their country a man may rise from the lowest to the highest position in Ireland. That was exactly what Lincoln did. He was born in 1809 in a small farm in Kentucky. When Abraham was quite young, the family moved to the wild forest land of Indiana. He hardly had any education; he only learned to read and write and do simple arithmetic. In 1830 Abraham left his father's farm and went to Springfield, Illinois. There he became a clerk in a store and worked hard to improve his education. In 1836 he became a lawyer.
He entered politics, too, and in 1834 became a candidate to the Parliament of Illinois. He soon became a force in the political life. In 1847 he went as a Congressman to the National Assembly (National Parliament) .
Slavery was then becoming a burning questions American politics. Many people in the Northern states wanted to abolish it, the Southern states opposed the abolition. The Southerners said that it would mean economic ruin for them. The reason was that the prosperity of the South was based on cotton-growing, and only Negroes worked there. The Southerners threatened that if the North didn't cease its fight against slavery, the Southern states would leave the Union. They wanted to form an independent “confederacy” *. In 1860 Lincoln was elected President of the USA. In 1861 seven states left the Union and elected their own President, Jefferson Davis. The Confederacy was formed.
Lincoln was strongly against slavery and even more strongly against the break-up of the Union. In 1862 the American Civil War between the North and the South began. At first the war went badly for the North. The Southerners headed by General Robert Lee and Colonel Jackson won some brilliant victories. But Lincoln did not lose courage. On April, 9 General Lee surrendered. The Civil War was over. Lincoln tried to convince former enemies that they should live in peace.
On April, 14 the President and his wife visited a theatre in Washington. During the performance Lincoln was shot by an actor who supported Confederacy. Abraham Lincoln died next morning. People admire Lincoln for political moderation. They admire him because he tried to preserve the nation. He is a symbol of American democracy.
London is the capital of the United Kingdom, its economic, political and cultural centre. It is one of the world's most important ports and one of the largest cities in the world. London with its suburbs has a population of about 11 million people. London has been a capital for nearly a thousand years. Many of its ancient buildings still stand. The most famous of them are the Tower of London, where the crown jewels are kept, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral. Most visitors also want to see the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace (the Queen's home with its Changing of the Guards) and the many magnificent museums. Once London was a small Roman town on the north bank of the Thames. Slowly it grew into one of the world's major cities. Exchange and the Bank of England are here, too. The East End is the district where mostly working people live. The old port area is now called “Docklands” . There are now new office buildings in Docklands, and Different areas of London seem like different cities. The West End is a rich man* world of shops, offices and theatres. The City of London is the district where most offices and banks are concentrated; the Royal thousands of new flats and houses. By the day the whole of London is busy. At night, offices are quiet and empty, but the West End stays alive, because this is where Londoners come to enjoy themselves. There are two opera houses here, several concert halls and many theatres, as well as cinemas. In nearby Soho the pubs, restaurants and night clubs are busy half the night.
Like all big cities, London has streets and concrete buildings, but It also has many big parks, full of trees, flowers and grass. In the middle of Hyde Park or Kensmgtoa Gardens you will&ink that you are in the country, miles away. Many people live outside (be centre of London in the suburbs, and they travel to work in shops and offices by train, bus or underground
Moscow is the capital of Russia, its administrative, economic, political and educational centre. It is one of Russia's major cities with the population of about 9 million people. Its total area is about 900 thousand square kilometres. The city was founded by Prince Yuri Dolgonlky and was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1147. At that time it was a small frontier settlement. By the 15th century Moscow bad grown into a wealthy city. In the 16th century, under Ivan the Terrible, Moscow became the capital of the state of Moscow. In the 18th century Peter the Great transferred the capital to St. Petersburg, but Moscow remained the heart of Russia. That is why it became the main target of Napoleon's attack in 1812. During the war of 1812 three quarters of the city were destroyed by fire, but by the middle of the 19th century Moscow was completely rebuilt. The present-day Moscow is the seat of the government of the Russian Federation. President of Russia lives and works here; government offices are located here, too. Moscow is a major industrial city. Its leading industries are engineering, chemical and light industries. Moscow is known for its many historical buildings, museums and art galleries, as well as for the famous Bolshoi, Maly and Art theatres. There are more than 80 museums in Moscow, among them the unique Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Andtey Rublyov -Museum of Early Russian Art and many others. Moscow is a city of science and learning. There are over 80 higher educational institutions in the city, including a number of universities
PETER THE GREAT
Peter 1, or Peter the Great was one of the most outstanding rulers and reformers in Russian history. He was Tsar of Russia and became Emperor in 1721. First he ruled together with his brother, Ivan, and his sister, Sofya. In 1696 he became a sole ruler. He was a healthy, lively and clever child. He loved military games and enjoyed carpentry, blacksmithing and printing. At the age of 17 he was married. Peter I is famous for drawing Russia further to the Cast. He also transferred the capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Peter travelled much in Western Europe and tried to carry western customs and habits to Russia. He introduced western technology. He completely changed the Russian government and military system: he increased the power of the monarch and reduced the power of the boyars and the church. In foreign policy. Peter I waged a war with Turkey (1695-1696) and the Great Northern War with Sweden (1700-1721) , and a war with Persia (1722-1723) . In these wars, he wanted to get access to the Baltic, Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. He managed to get the shores of the Baltic Sea and the Caspian Sea. Peter I played a great part in Russian history. After his death, Russia was much more secure and progressive than it had been before his reign.
Pushkin is the most important Russian writer of all time, like Shakespeare in England or Dante in Italy. Pushkin provided the standards for Russian arts and literature in the 19th century. Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799 into an upper-class family. In 1811 he entered a lyceum at Tsarskoye Solo. The education offered at the lyceum shaped Pushkin's life. He graduated from the lyceum in 1817 and began to work in the foreign office in St. Petersburg. In 1820 the foreign office transferred Pushkin to Ekaterinoslav, and later to Odessa for writing anti-tsarist poetry. In 1824, for his letters against the tsar, he was exiled to Mikhailovskoye. In 1824, Tsar Nicholas I allowed Pushkin to return to Moscow. Pushkin felt in love with Natalya Goncharova, and in 1830 they got married. His wife was suspected of an affair with Baron Georges d'Antes; this became the subject of gossip. Pushkin challenged d'Antes to a duel. Pushkin was wounded and died two days later. Pushkin was Russia's greatest poet. In his works he was first influenced by 18th century poets, and then by Lord Byron. Finally he developed his own style, which was realistic but classical in form. His earliest long poem was romantic “Ruslan and Lyudmila” (1818-1820) . À series of verse tales followed- “The Prisoner of the Caucasus” , “The Robber Brothers” , “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” , and “The Gypsies” . They were inspired by Syren's poetry. In 1823 Pushkin began writing his masterpiece “Eugene Onegin” , a novel in verse. “Eugen Onegin” became the linguistic and literary standard. It is a commentary on the life of the early I 9th century Russia. It is noted for brilliant verse. He also wrote other long poems, including “Bronze Horseman” (1833) , the finest collection of lyrics in Russian literature. Pushkin created also a number of masterpieces in drama and prose. “Little Tragedies” and “The Stone Guest” are among the best works in the world history of drama. Pushkin's love to Russia's past resulted in his historical drama, “Boris Godunov” (1825) . “Tales of the Late l. P. Belkin” , “Dubrovsky” , “The Captain's Daughter” are the most important of his prose works. Pushkin's use of Russian influenced the of great Russian writers Turgenev, Goncharov, Tolstoy. Pushkin's early death shocked the country. Pushkin, called by many “the sun of Russian literature” , belongs among the foremost poets and writers of the world.
Russia is one of the largest countries in the world. The vast territory of Russia lies in the eastern part of Europe and the northern part of Asia. Russia is washed by twelve seas and three oceans. The oceans are: the Arctic, the Atlantic, the Pacific. The seas are: the White Sea, the Barents Sea, the Okhotsk Sea, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and others. Russia borders on many countries, such as Mongolia and China in the south-east, Finland and Norway in the north-west, and so on. The land of Russia varies very much from forests to deserts, from high mountains to deep valleys. The main mountain chains are the Urals, the Caucasus and the Altai. There are a lot of great rivers and deep lakes on its territory. The longest rivers are the Volga in Europe and the Ob, the Yenisei and the Lena in Asia. The largest lakes are Ladoga and Baikal. Baikal is the deepest lake in the world and its water is the purest on earth. The Russian Federation is rich in natural and mineral resources. It has deposits of oil, gas, coal, iron, gold and many others. The current population of Russia is more than 150 million people. The European part of the country is densely peopled, and most population live in cities and towns and their outskirts.
The capital of Russian Federation is Moscow, with the population of about 10 million people. Russia is a presidential republic. It is one of the leading powers in the world.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Unites States of America are situated in the central part of the North American continent. Its western coast is washed by the Pacific Ocean and its eastern coast - by the Atlantic Ocean. The total area of the USA is over nine million square kilometres. The population of the USA is more than 236 million people; most of the population lives in towns and cities. The USA is a very large country, so it has several different climatic regions. The Goldest regions are in the north and north-east. The south has a subtropical climate. The United States is a land of rivers and lakes.. The northern state of Minnesota is the land of 10 000 lakes. The longest rivers in the USA are the Mississippi, the Missouri and the Rio Grande. The highest mountains are the Rocky Mountains, the Cordillera and the Sierra Nevada.
The United States are rich in natural and mineral resources. It produces copper, oil, iron ore and coal. It is a highly-developed industrial Bad agricultural country. There are many big cities in the USA, such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and others. The national capital is Washington, D. C. Its population is about 3,4 million. Washington was built in the late eighteenth century especially as the centre of government. It was named after George Washington. The USA became the world leading country at the beginning of the twentieth century.