Belfast - the capital of Northern Ireland

Belfast is the capital, largest city, and chief industrial centre and port of Northern Ireland. The city lies on Belfast Lake, a bay at the mouth of the River Lagan on Northern Ireland's east coast.

Donegull Square lies in the centre of Belfast. In the square stands City Hall. The main street in Bel-fast's business district runs north from the square. Queen's University, to the south, is the largest university in Northern Ireland.

Next to university are the Botanical Gardens, which surround Ulster Museum. The Parliament Buildings of Northern Ireland lie just outside the city. Docks and shipyards border the harbour on the east shore of Belfast Lake.

For many years, shipbuilding and textile manufacturing provided most of the jobs in Belfast. During the mid-1900s, these two industries declined, though they remain important. Belfast shipyards have built many warships and ocean liners, including the famous British liner Titanic. Textile factories produce delicate Irish linen that is famous throughout the world. Since the 1930s, the construction of aircraft has become and important part of Belfast's economy. Other major products include clothing, machinery, processed foods, rope, soap, and tobacco.

English and Scottish settlers established Belfast as a trading centre in 1613.
During the 1800s Belfast became an industrial city and major port. In 1920, when Ireland became independent and Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom, Belfast became the capital of Northern Ireland.

A letter

Dear Olha,
I've been in England for three months now. I'll soon be starting my studies at King's College and I've been learning about England and British ways of living.

Ifind some customs new and interesting. People here do not shake hands as much as we do. During the first few weeks I was often surprised because people did not put out their hands when I met them. Men raise their hats to women but not to each other. When you go to a friend's house for a meal, it's not the custom to say "Thank you" at the end of the meal as in our country. Here you wait until you are leaving to go home and then you say "Thank you" for having been asked to come.

I always thought that the last meal of the day was dinner. My English friends usually call it supper. They tell me that it's more convenient to have a light meal about seven or half-past. Half-past seven is the time at many of the London theatres.

Sunday is a very quiet day in London. All the shops are closed and so are the theatres and most of the cinemas. Londoners like to go out on Sundays. There are thousands of cars on the roads into the country. The south coast is only fifty or sixty miles away and people like to go down to the sea for the day.

There are very few outdoor cafes here. That's because the weather changes so often and so quickly, I suppose. The sun may be shining one minute and then, a few minutes later, it may be raining.

What a lot of foreigners there are in London! When I travel on the buses I hear different languages. London is full of people from all parts of the world in the summer. I've often stopped people in the street to ask the way and have found that they, like me, are not Londoners. Now, if I want help, I ask a policeman. The London policemen are al-ways ready to help.

English people do not talk as much as we do. I've often travelled by train and nobody has spoken to me during the journey. I know one Englishman who is unusual: he speaks seven languages. And he can be silent in seven languages!

This is a long letter, isn't it? I must stop and say "Goodbye" to you now. Please write and tell me how you are and what you and your friends are doing.