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Channel Tunnel, popularly called "Chunncl", is one of the greatest technological and engineering feats of the XX century. It is more than a tunnel. It fulfilled a centuries old dream by linking Britain and the rest of Europe. Indeed, it may be listed as one of the world's wonders.

For centuries the shortest route across the Pas de Calais or Straits of Dover was also the most difficult one. Because of frequent storms, travelers could be equally delayed days or weeks, waiting for a fair wind or a skilled captain, and be seasick by the time they reached the opposite shore.

The idea of constructing a tunnel under the English Channel was considered by the United Kingdom and France many times. There were several proposals: a very long suspension bridge, a bridge-and-a tunnel link, a combined rail-and-road link. And, of course, the question of money was not the least important.

After almost 200 years of debate and planning for a fixed link between Great Britain and France, the governments of both countries signed a treaty in 1986 to permit the construction of the Channel Tunnel.

Digging began on both sides of the Straits of Dover in 1987. More than 13 000 engineers, technicians and workers were engaged in the tunnel building. The construction was completed in 1991 and in May 1994 the tunnel was opened officially.

The unique construction consists of three tunnels: two running ones, having 8,2 m outer and 7,6 m inner diameters, and one service tunnel, with its inner diameter being 5 m. The tunnels are connected by the cross passages to easy the maintenance and ventilation. The depth of the tunnels below the seabed is about 50 m.

The tunnels are 50 km long. They are provided with a special cooling system designed to counteract building up of heat produced by fast moving trains. The tunnel system is kept dry by 5 pumping stations. Two caverns excavated undersea allow the trains to change the tunnels if required. They are known as the English and French Crossovers.

The Chunnel runs between Folkestone (Britain) and Sangatte, near Calais, France. It is used for both freight and passenger traffic. Passengers may travel either by an ordinary rail coach or within their own motor vehicles, which are loaded onto special rail cars. Trains can travel through the tunnel at speeds as high as 100 miles (160 km) per hour. The trip takes 35 minutes.

Being a high speed rail link between London and Paris, the Eurotunnel meets one of the present day needs of civilization.

2.Symbol of Liberty

At the entrance to the New York Harbour there is a great woman figure called the Statue of Liberty, welcoming all those coming to the United States of America. Its sight can never be forgotten. The Statue was opened on October, 28, 1886 when the US President S. Cleveland was in the office.

The Statue of Liberty is the USA national monument officially recognized all over the world. It is the symbol of the country itself, the American hospitality and liberty. Our acquaintance with this significant monument helps us to learn more about the country past and present.

The history of the statue creation turned out to be a great event for the USA. The statue "was born" in France. Its creator Frederick Bartholdi, a French sculptor, worked at it 10 years. In 1886 the statue was shipped across the Atlantic to the United States as a gift from the French Government to commemorate the 100-th anniversary of the USA independence.

Originally, the statue was named "Liberty lighting the world". Nowadays it is known as the Statue of Liberty. The statue is 152 feet (about 50 m) high and stands on the pedestal of almost the same height. Its torch towers about 200 feet above the harbour and can be seen at night for many miles.

It is one of the highest woman figures in the world. The statue is hollow. It is casted in the Russian steel. Inside the statue there are 168 steps from the figure's feet to its head. Of course, there is a lift to the top, but many tourists prefer the stairs not to pay for the lift.

Thirty people can freely stand in the figure's head, and twelve of them — in the torch. The figure's steel body is wrapped up in a bronze tunic. At the statue's base there is the American Museum of Immigration founded in the fall 1968.

It is interesting to know that there are 2 smaller variants of the America Statue of Liberty in Paris, France. One of them was casted in the USA by the Americans grateful for the French gift. The statue is 10 times smaller compared to its original. It is named "the French Liberty" and is placed at one of the bridges across the Seine. The other statue, much more smaller in size, "its sister", appeared later in the famous Luxemburg Garden, Paris.

3. The C. N. Tower

Canadian National Tower (C.N. Tower) is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was declared one of the modem world wonders by the American Society of Civil Engineering. The C.N. Tower belongs to the World Federation of Great Towers. Its height is 553, 33 m ( 16 m higher than the Ostankino Tower in Moscow, Russia, 1967).

The Tower was built in 1975 by the Canadian National Railway, wishing to demonstrate the great potential of the national industry.

Originally, it was designed as the radio and TV transmitting antenna. The crowning antenna was hoisted by a Sikorsky helicopter. To walk up the Tower there are metal stairs with 1 769 steps. There are four lifts in the Tower. They are capable to carry 1 200 people to the top per hour.

At the height of 342 m there are the Glass Floor and the Outdoor Observation Deck, and at the height of 346 m — the Horizons Cafe and the Indoor Observation Deck.

There is the restaurant at 351 m. It rotates once every 72 minutes. The Sky Pod (a tiny enclosed platform) is the highest public observation deck, only for the bravest. It is at 447 m.

There are several towers taller than the C N Tower in the world today. But they are guy-wire supported structures and not classified as free-standing. Thus, the C.N. Tower is the world's tallest free­standing land structure at present, as heavy as 23, 214 large elephants. Today the tower is off by a mere 1,1 inch. It is considered the signature icon of Toronto. More than 16 of Toronto's media are transmitted from this Tower.

1. At Madame Tussaud's

Visitors to London know who Madame Tussaud is or was, as they have seen her, an old lady of 81, standing at the entrance of her own exhibition. She is made of wax, like all other models of people in this exhibition.

Born Marie Grosholtz in Strasbourg in 1761, she spent her childhood in Paris with her mother and uncle Philippe Curtius, who got her a place at Versailles teaching wax modelling to the king's sister. She survived the French Revolution by making wax models of its victims, from Marie Antoinette to Roberspierre.

In 1794 her life changed. She inherited her uncle's collection of the life size wax portraits and continued her uncle's business. In 1795 she married the French engineer F. Tussaud, but the marriage failed. That's why, in 1802 she moved to Britain with her two sons and her uncle's collection.

Many years she lived the exhausting and precarious life of a showman, moving from town to town to display her collection. In 1835 her exhibition found a permanent home in Baker Street, London, and soon became one of the famous sights of London.

What was the secret of her success? Her portraits were lifelike and convincing. She paid great attention to various details and spent a lot of money on the right clothes and effective lighting. She also included genuine relics in the exhibition. Her choice of subjects seemed eccentric sometimes. Events decided the selection of most of them. They were chosen not only because they were well known, but also because their character was expressed strongly in their appearance.

Whoever they might be and however they might be dressed, the XX century people fitted easily into the Conservatory, built in 1975. There, amongst the palms, cricketers could talk with writers, gardeners to famous singers, oil magnates to well known actresses, footballers to politicians. Madame Tussaud's portraits were always up-to-date and topical.

In April 1850 Madame Tussaud died in her house in Baker Street in London. She was the brilliant artist. Her contribution to the country history is difficult to overestimate.

In 1859 the famous English writer Charles Dickens wrote that "Madame Tussaud's was something more than an exhibition, it was an institution". As nobody else, she managed to keep up the real images of her contemporaries for new generations.

Thousands of people still queue up to look at these portaraits of the famous and the infamous. What is the attraction? Madame Tussaud's waxworks act as catalysts between you and other visitors, adding up to an experience which can be simple fun or serious instruction or great art, as it takes you. No doubt, it is the London's top visitors attraction.


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    Channel Tunnel, popularly called "Chunncl", is one of the greatest technological and engineering feats of the XX century. It is more than a tunnel. It fulfilled a centuries old dream by linking Britain and the rest of Europe. Indeed, it may be listed as one of the world's wonders. For centuries the shortest route across the Pas de Calais or Straits of Dover was also the most difficult one. Because of frequent storms, travelers could be equally delayed days or weeks, waiting for a... [читать подробенее]