Name: United Kingdom / Great Britain
The UK is a state located on the British Isles. (The British territory includes: the island of Great Britain, the northeast of the Irish Island, many small islands and archipelagos, Shetland Islands, the Orkney Islands.)
Area and location:
The state is located on the British Isles, which is washed by the Atlantic Ocean and its seas. The area of the country is 244 820 km ², and the land occupies 240 590 km ², and 3,230 km ² are the area of inland waters.
The capital and the largest cities:
The capital of Great Britain is one of the largest cities in Europe - the city of London with a population of 7.5 million people. Large cities: Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow.
According to the UK population census in 2009, the total population of the country is 61,634,783 people. Indigenous people (English, Scots, Welsh and Irish) make up 92% of the total population. The remaining 8% are Indians, Chinese, Pakistanis, and Africans.
Political structure and Administrative division:
The country is a Parliamentary Monarchy, with the queen as the head of the country. The legislative body is a Parliament – the highest authority in entire Great Britain. A distinctive feature of the political structure of this country is the absence of the Constitution. To regulate relations between the government and the people they use Legislative Acts, constitutional conventions, as well as unwritten laws and agreements. The UK consists of four administrative and political units: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
The main and the most widespread religion is Christianity (71.6%). 15.5% are atheists. Other religions in the UK include Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism.
The official language of Great Britain is English. Together with it, there are three other languages: Scottish and two Celtic languages – Welsh and Gaelic.
In addition to the traditional festivals celebrated all over the world, there are many national holidays in Great Britain: the Winter Feast (January 2), St. Patrick's Day (March 17), Mother's Day (March 26), Scotland's Independence Day (April 6), Royal National Feast in Aberystwyth (August 12), Halloween (October 31). But the most grandiose and solemn of them is the Queen's Birthday, it takes place in mid-June in London (every second Saturday of June).
The country uses Greenwich time. In summer they switch to summer time, which is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Time.
The currency in the UK is the pound sterling, which is equal to 100 pence.
Brief historical insight:
In the V-VI centuries, the Anglo-Saxons conquered the British Isles. In 1066 the Norman commander Wilhelm conquered the small kingdoms of Great Britain, which were united into a single state. In the second half of the thirteenth century, the English Parliament was formed, and a class monarchy was formed. The name “Kingdom of Great Britain” was proclaimed in 1707, and London became the capital of the state.
In the UK climate is temperate oceanic, mild and wet (in Northern Ireland - more humid, in Scotland - cold and dry). The coldest month is January, the warmest month is July. Most of the precipitation in the form of rain falls from September through January; fog is a usual phenomenon. The warmest areas of the country are London, southeast and Westland.
Animals and plants:
The territory of Great Britain is mostly deforested, forests occupy about 9% of the country's area. The main plant in the UK is heath. In the country there are 56 species of mammals, the largest of which is the red deer. You can meet roe deer, wild goats, foxes, badgers, are widespread caresses, otters, ermines.
The least suitable time for a visit to the UK is the period between November and February. In March and October it gets warm enough, but it's still very dank. The best time to visit is between April and September. At this time, the weather is relatively nice: it is a tourist season.
The culture of Great Britain is extremely rich and diverse. It greatly influences the world culture.
In the UK capital, tourists have chosen the area of Kensington and Oxford Street. London's large department stores are Selfridge, John Lewis Partnership, Harrods, etc. There are many franchised boutiques in this city, for example: Burberry. Fans of shopping consider it shopper’s paradise.
Classic national cuisine:
British food is not too refine, but the quality of ingredients are always properly selected, and they are produced locally most of the time. Traditional British dishes - fish and chips, potato casserole with meat and mashed potatoes.
St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster and Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Tower, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Madame Tussauds Museum, Royal Shakespeare Theater, Loch Ness, Ozerny Krai, Orkney Islands.
Traditions and customs:
The English differ from all other nations. A characteristic feature of the British is pride, obstinacy, wit, adherence to tradition. They are friendly to tourists, always happy to show that they are the most civilized in the world. Numerous festivals are an integral part of English traditions, and the most famous is the Chelsea Flower Festival.
It is a rectangular blue cloth with a red straight cross in a white fringe, superimposed on the red and white oblique crosses.
Coat of arms:
The official coat of arms of the British monarch has 2 lions and 7 heraldic leopards: 6 gold leopards on the shield correspond to England. The lion in the second field of the shield represents Scotland. On the right the shield is supported by the golden crowned lion, to the left - a unicorn in a chain.
In the UK aviation, railway, road and water transportation are well-developed.
International flights are arriving at Heathrow (London) and Gatwick (London) airports, domestic and international flights – to Stansted (London).
Stations and ports:
The fastest way of traveling from London to Paris, is by train - to cross the English Channel through the tunnel.
Great Britain is a unique country with many attractions (numerous museums, galleries, monuments) and at the same time there are enticing, beautiful natural corners (Scottish lake Loch Ness, Hebrides, fascinating waterfalls, etc.). In Great Britain there are also many festivals. Every August in Edinburgh you can visit the "Fringe" Music Festival of Music and Drama ("On the Edge"). In the Hoting Hill in London they hold a grand Caribbean carnival. Visiting the UK in spring will leave you with the pleasant memories of the Great National Cup on steeplechase, which is held on the first Saturday of April each year.
Features of recreation and travel:
The main rule in the UK is to smile. It will help you get along with any Englishman.