Category Archives: England

About England

England
England

London, the capital of England, is a place that goes back in time. As confirmed by an accidental archeological find during the construction of a railway tunnel in London in October 2013, the city was first established as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia. With that settlement having been abandoned after the collapse of the Roman Empire, the place that became known as London didn’t re-emerge until it was re-established by Alfred the Great in 886 AD (with the city becoming the largest in England by the 11th century).

One of London’s tourist attractions, the Tower of London, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, while another local site, Westminster Hall, was erected in 1097 (and became the English monarch’s principal residence by the late Medieval period). Having survived the Black Death of the mid-14th century, London grew in importance during the rise of Mercantilism in the 16th century (during the same period that a certain literary icon named William Shakespeare made a name for himself there). This was also the reign of well-regarded English monarch Elizabeth I (daughter of King Henry VIII), who ruled at a time when the country’s navy successfully fought off the Spanish Armada

By the 17th & 18th centuries, England began the process of building its empire, which eventually stretched to all corners of the globes – from the Americas to Africa, India, Australia and the South Pacific (making the port of London grow in importance). By the 20th century, London was the world’s largest city (a by-product of the country, which became Great Britain, having the largest empire in the world). With the city enduring aerial bombings by the Germans during both World War I & II, London not only survived, but grew even more during the post-war period. From the 1940s onward, London received large waves of immigrants from countries that became its former colonies, like Jamaica, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Even though Britain no longer has its empire, London still reigns in another respect – as a global center of finance (vying with New York City as the most important location of global finance). Perhaps to no surprise, London’s largest industry is finance (with around 325,000 individuals employed in that sector by 2007, and over 480 overseas banks having a presence there). London is also a major retail center (earning the highest non-food retail sales of any metropolis in the world in 2010).

Nowadays, the Port of London is the third-largest in England and the rest of the UK (after Felixstowe and Southampton). Aside from finance, tourism is another major industry in London, attracting 27 million visitors (and employing well over 300,000 full-time workers). One of the drivers of London’s tourism is the Royal Family and anything connected to it (from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London). Of course, London, now a multi-cultural trading center boasting a hodge podge of architectural styles, made the most of its tourist appeal by hosting the 2012 Olympics (attracting millions more visitors into the country). Both visitors and residents agree that London is a city on the move that constantly changes with the times.

British Museum

British Museum
British Museum

British Museum (Great Russell Street, London) – this famed museum exhibits include the works of man from prehistoric to modern times from around the world (such as the Parthenon sculptures, the Rosetta Stone, Ancient Egyptian mummies, as well as Viking and ancient Colombian artifacts, Japanese art, and other renowned exhibits). Admission: free (visitors are free to make a donation). Hours: 10 am – 5:30 pm (daily, except for Fridays, which closes at 8:30 pm).

Boxpark

Boxpark
Boxpark

Boxpark (2010 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch) – this is the world’s first “pop-up mall” and the home of the pop-up store. Attracting mainly young, trendy 20-something-year old shoppers, various retailers have a presence here, including Farah Vintage, Marimekko, Monsieur London, Moxham, Nike Running, Puma, Samsung Galaxy, The North Face, and Vans (among others).

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

Barclays ATP World Tour Finals (O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London) – held every November, this event hosts men’s tennis matches between the world’s best (such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal). The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals has established itself as one of the must-see annual international sporting events. The prestigious season-ending tournament at The O2 features the world’s top eight singles players and doubles teams. See its website for more info: www.atpworldtour.com/Finals.aspx

Barbican Centre

Barbican Centre
Barbican Centre

Barbican Centre (Silk Street, London) – this venue (which is London’s answer to New York’s Lincoln Center) hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions. It consists of a concert hall, two theatres, three cinemas, two art galleries, a library, two trade exhibition halls, five conference rooms, foyers, shops and a conservatory. The London Symphony Orchestra is also based here.

Among other things, this venue also books a broad spectrum of “World Music” acts from South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela, to Benin diva Angélique Kidjo, and Kinshasa street stars Staff Benda Bilili, among others. A great place for local and international patrons to be exposed to new sounds and an eclectic crowd. Check the Barbican website for upcoming events: www.barbican.org.uk

Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art

Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art
Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art

Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art / MAC (Ismael Valdés Vergara, Santiago) – created in 1947, this is one of Santiago’s main museums (run by the University of Chile Faculty of Arts). The museum has collected around 2,000 works by Chilean artists as well as some international pieces – consisting of artists such as Roberto Matta, Nemesio Antúnez, Matilde Pérez, José Balmes and important international art figures as Oswaldo Guayasamín (Ecuador), Emilio Pettoruti (Argentina), Friedensreich Hundertwasser (Austria), Isamu Noguchi (USA), David Batchelor (England), Jesús Ruiz Nestosa (Paraguay) and Dino Bruzzone (Argentina). Admission: 600 pesos (general), 400 pesos (seniors/students). Hours: 11 am – 7 pm (Tuesday – Saturday), 11 am – 6 pm (Sunday).