| ||London is one of the world’s great cities, a tentacular megalopolis whose heart displays as much of the vigor and political and ﬁnancial power of the City as leading-edge technology and avant-garde fashion. The city boasts beautiful monuments such as Westminster Abbey, and it can be justiﬁably proud of one of the most famous bridges in the world—Tower Bridge on the river Thames. After eight years of work, it was completed in 1984; today, 150,000 vehicles cross this bridge every day. More than 900 times a year, this famous structure opens up to let through tall ships, cruise ships, and other large vessels. A visit to its Gothic towers makes for a fascinating historical journey through the original Victorian machine rooms, revealing the hydraulic system of levers driven by enormous pumps that were once powered by steam. More than 11,000 tons of steel were used to build the framework of the towers and walkways, which was then faced in Cornish granite and Portland stone, both for protection and for looks.
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