Reading is an ancient city, first mentions of which belong to the 8th century. At that time this was a small village, which was mostly developing due to the foundation of the Abbey. However, just several centuries after the foundation Reading was already one of ten largest cities of the country. In the 18th century large deposits of iron ore were discovered near the city. This fact has given rise to building of first industrial plants.
An old factory, built in the early 19th century is symbolic of the city. This factory produced famous Huntley and Palmers cookies. At the time of its foundation, it was one of the largest industrial enterprises in the city. Nowadays, you can see an old prison nearby. Oscar Wilde was serving his punishment there and thus brought it worldwide renown. It was within the walls of the prison that he wrote his letter to Lord Douglas.
Reading is often called a city of parks. There are over a hundred of them in a miniature town. Each park has its own characteristics. Leisure areas are supplemented with interesting attractions, children's playgrounds, and sports platforms. Many parks have long acquired the status of cultural centres. In summer they often hold open-air concerts and entertainment events
In the centre of the city is located an ancient Greyfriars church, built in the early 14th century. Initially, the church was part of a large monastery. Later, the monastery was destroyed, and the church was used for a variety of purposes. In the 16th century, it housed the town hall. After that the building was used as a hospital for the poor. A prison was opened in the church, as well. Only in 1863, the church returned its religious status. Despite the complicated history, it managed to preserve a number of old interior elements. Nearby, is situated a cultural and entertainment centre bearing the same name. It has a restaurant, several shops, and exhibition halls.
The building of Reading railway station is also of great historical value. From the moment of construction, it managed to preserve the luxurious front finishing. It is decorated with huge oblong windows and decorative elements. On the roof, you can see several carved towers. This railway station is considered to be one of the largest and busiest in the UK. It serves about 4 million passengers every year. Lovers of event tourism are most likely to visit Reading in the summer. At this time of the year, they hold many excellent festivals. In the first days of July, carnival is organized in the picturesque Prospekt-Park. It is followed by a series of music festivals. In August, the Water Festival is traditionally held. The program ends with the August rock festival, which is the largest in Europe.
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