London, the capital of the United Kingdom, is one of the most important cultural centres in the world. The Roman fort of Londinium grew into a large town through the centuries. In 1666, London was almost completely destroyed by the Great Fire. It was rebuilt and slowly expanded. Over the years, surrounding villages became part of what is now called Greater London. The name ‘the City of London’ does not mean the whole of London. The City is only about 2.5 square kilometres. It is the oldest part of the Roman town. Today it is one of the world’s great financial centres. Every day thousands of people commute from other towns to work in the City. The West End is the main shopping and entertainment area and the centre of night life. The East End used to be a poorer residential area. But now there are also expensive homes and large office blocks in the old docklands of the East End. Near the docklands is an enormous dome celebrating the millennium. The dome Is next to the River Thames, which runs through London.

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