Минитопики или темы для обсуждения на уроках



New Years Eve/Hogmanay

New Year's Eve is a time of great celebration and nowhere more so than in Scotland, where it is called Hogmanay. All over the country, and especially in the capital, Edinburgh, crowds gather to hear the bells ring in the New Year. The city centre is transformed into a great open air party with singing and dancing accompanied by the sound of bagpipes - the tradi­tional instrument of Scotland.

New Year's Eve is considered a time for looking back and analyzing our behavior during the year that is just drawing to a close.

It is a chance for a new beginning, and many people decide to use this opportunity to make important changes to their lifestyle and attitudes. New Year's resolutions have been made for centuries.



Guy Fawkes Night

The festivities which take place in Britain on 5th November each year commemorate the attempt in 1605 by Guy Fawkes and a group of conspirators to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, in vengeance for what they considered to be unfair treatment of Catholics by King James I.

In a cellar beneath the House of Lords, the 13 conspirators hid 36 barrels of gunpow­der, which they planned to set light to during the opening of Parliament when the King and the whole of Parliament would be present. However, news reached the King in time, and his forces stormed the hideaway and found Guy Fawkes, who was arrested, tortured and publicly executed, along with his fellow plotters.

The event is commemorated every year in Britain with fireworks and bonfires. The bon­fire tradition dates back to the night of the failed coup, when Londoners lit fires to cele­brate the King's escape. Often children make a dummy of Guy Fawkes, and collect money by asking for "a penny for the Guy", before placing it on top of the fire.


Remember, remember the Fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent

To blow up the King and the Parliament

With three score barrels of powder below

Poor old England to overthrow.

But by God's providence he was catch'd

 With darkened lantern and slow burning


Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring

Holloa boys, holloa boys,

God saves the King!

   The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World 

 По материалам журнала "ИяШ"- 2005г.


Although most people know that a list exists of the Seven World Wonders, only a few can name them. According to popular tradition the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are:



The Great Pyramid of Cheops                    

 The Colossus of Rhodes

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon              

 The Lighthouse of Alexandria

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia                   

 The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus


The notion of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World can be traced back to the fifth cen­tury B.C. The first reference to the Seven Wonders is found in the History of Herodotus as long ago as the 5th century B.C. The Greek author, Antipater of Sidon, who lived in the 2nd century B.C., was one of several writers to list the greatest monuments and buildings known to the classical world. He settled on seven as it was considered a magic number by the Greeks,

The final list of the Seven Wonders was compiled during the Middle Ages. The list com­prised the seven most impressive monuments of the Ancient World, some of which barely sur­vived to the Middle Ages. Six of the seven wonders have not survived to the present day hav­ing been destroyed by natural disaster or by humans.

Today, archaeological evidence reveals some of the mysteries that surrounded the history of the Wonders for centuries. For their builders, the Seven Wonders were a celebration of reli­gion, mythology, art, power, and science. For us, they reflect the ability of humans to change the surrounding landscape by building massive yet beautiful structures, one of which has stood the test of time to this very day.




Man fears Time, yet Time fears the Pyramids

(Arab proverb)


The Pyramids of Egypt built at Giza dur­ing the 4th Dynasty (2680-2544 ВС) are the oldest of the seven wonders and the only ones remaining intact today. The Pyramids were started by Khufu (Cheops) around 2700 B.C. as tombs for the ancient kings. The three largest and finest were erected at Giza, near Cairo.

The largest and the oldest of the group is the Khufu Pyramid, built of limestone blocks on a base about 252 m wide on each side and covering an area of 13 acres. When it was built, the Great pyramid was about 145 m high. Over the years, it lost 10 m off its top. It ranked as the tallest structure on Earth for more than 43 centuries, only to be surpassed in height in the nineteenth cen­tury AD. The sloping angle of its sides is 51 degrees and 51 minutes. Each side is care­fully oriented with one of the cardinal points of the compass, that is, north, south, east, and west.

This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589-2566 ВС. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tons each. The total weight would have been 6,000,000 tons.

The pyramid's entrance is on the north face. Л number of corridors, galleries, and escape shafts lead cither to the King's bur­ial chamber, or were intended to serve other functions. The King's chamber is located at the heart of the pyramid, only accessible through the Great Gallery and an ascend­ing corridor. The King's sarcophagus is made of red granite, as are the interior walls of the King's Chamber. The sarcophagus is oriented in accordance with the compass directions, and is only about 1 cm smaller in dimensions than the chamber entrance.

Not much is known about Cheops (Khufu). The tomb had been robbed long before archeologists came upon it. Any information about him was taken along with the objects inside the tomb. He is thought to have been the ruler of a highly structured society and he must have been very wealthy. He was buried alone in this massive tomb. His wives may have been buried nearby in smaller mastabas.

New theories concerning the origin and purpose of the Pyramids of Giza have been proposed: astronomic observatories, places of cult worship, geometric structures con­structed by a long-gone civilization etc.




The Babylonian kingdom flourished under the rule of the famous King, Hammurabi (1792-1750 ВС). During the reign of Naboplashar (625-605 ВС) of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty the Mesopota­mian civilization reached its ultimate glory. His son, Nebuchadnezzar II, who ruled Babylon for 43 years, starting in 605 ВС, is credited with building the legendary Hanging Gardens.

The ancient city of Babylon, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, must have been a won­der to the traveler's eyes. "In addition to its size," wrote Herodotus, a historian in 450 ВС, "Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world." Herodotus claimed the outer walls were wide enough to allow a four-horse chariot to turn. The inner walls were "not so thick as the first, but hardly less strong." Inside the walls were fortress­es and temples containing immense statues of solid gold. Rising above the city was the famous Tower of Babel, a temple to the god Marduk, that seemed to reach to the heav­ens.

According to accounts, the gardens were built to cheer up Nebuchadnezzar's home­sick wife, Amyitis. Amyitis, daughter of the king of the Medes, was married to Nebuchadnezzar to create an alliance between Media and Babylon. The land she came from, though, was green, rugged and mountainous, and she found the flat, sun baked terrain of Mesopotamia depressing. The king decided to recreate her homeland by building an artificial mountain with rooftop gardens.

There is an alternative story that the gardens were built by the Assyrian Queen Semiramis during her five year reign start­ing in 810 ВС.

The Hanging Gardens probably did not really "hang" in the sense of being suspend­ed from cables or ropes. The name comes from an inexact translation of the Greek word kremastos or the Latin word pensilis, which mean not just "hanging", but "over­hanging" as in the case of a terrace or bal­cony.

The gardens were a series of five terraces of glazed bricks, each 15 metres above the next. The terraces were built on top of stone arches and they were connected by a wind­ing stairway. The terraces were filled with rare and exotic plants. A pumping device supplied water from the Euphrates so the gardens could be irrigated by fountains. Excavations have found an elaborate tun­nel and pulley system that apparently brought water from the ground level to the top terrace.

While the most descriptive accounts of the Gardens come from Greek historians, Babylonian records stay silent on the mat­ter. Tablets from the lime of Nebuchadnez­zar do not have a single reference to the Hanging Gardens, although descriptions of his palace, the city of Babylon, and the walls are found.

It was not until the twentieth century that some of the mysteries surrounding the Hanging Gardens were revealed. Archaeo­logists arc still struggling to gather enough evidence before reaching final conclusions about the location of the Gardens, their irri­gation system, and their true appearance.

The greatness of this achievement serves as an indication of the level of ancient Babylonian art and architecture.






In ancient times the Greeks held one of their most: important festivals, The Olympic Games, in honor of the King of their gods, Zeus. Like our modern Olympics, athletes traveled from distant lands, including Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and Sicily, to compete in the games. The Olympics were first started in 776 B.C. and held at a shrine to Zeus located on the western coast of Greece in a region called Peloponnesus. The games, held every four years, helped to unify the Greek city-states. Sacred truce was declared during the games and wars were stopped. Safe passage was given to all trav­eling to the site, called Olympia, for the season of the games. The site consisted of a stadium (for the games) and a sacred grove, or Altis, where temples were located.

According to accounts the 12m Statue of Zeus (mid-5th century ВС) by the Greek sculptor Phidias was the central feature of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia. The figure of the seated Zeus was 9m tall and rested on a base that was 3m high. The statue of the Greek god was made of wood and covered with gold and ivory. Golden lions rested near his feet. In its right hand the statue held the figure of Nike (the goddess of victory) and in its left was a scepter with an eagle on the top. The throne was made of gold, ebony, ivory and inlaid with precious stones. Carved into the chair were figures of Greek gods and mys­tical animals, like the sphinx.

Besides the statue, there was little inside the temple. The Greeks preferred the inte­rior of their shrines to be simple.

Today the stadium at the site has been restored. Little is left of the temple, though, except a few columns. Of the statue, which was perhaps the most wonderful work at Olympia, all is now gone.




The first shrine to the Goddess Artemis was probably built around 800 B.C. on a marshy strip near the river at Ephesus (now a site in Turkey). The Ephesus Goddess Artemis, sometimes called Diana, is not the same figure as the Artemis worshiped in Greece. The Greek Artemis is the goddess of the hunt. The Ephesus Artemis was a goddess of fertility. That earliest temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the next few hundred years.

By 600 B.C., the city of Ephesus had become a major port of trade and an archi­tect named Chersiphron was engaged to build a new large temple. He designed it with high stone columns. It was decorated with high stone columns. It was decorated with bronze statues sculpted by the most skilled artists of their time. The temple served as both a marketplace and a religious institution. For years, the sanctuary was visited by merchants, tourists, artisans and kings who paid homage to the goddess by sharing their profits with her.

This temple did not last long. In 550 B.C. King Croesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus and the other Greek cities of Asia Minor. During the fighting, the temple was destroyed.

The second last of the great temples to Artemis in Ephesus was four times the size of the temple before it. More than one hun­dred stone columns supported a massive roof. The new temple was the pride of Ephesus until 356 B.C. when a tragedy struck. On the night of 21 July 356 B.C. a young Ephesian named Herostratus burned the temple to the ground in an attempt to have his name go down in history. The cit­izens of Ephesus were so appalled at this act they issued a decree that anyone who spoke of Herostratus would be put to death.

Shortly after this horrible deed a new-temple was commissioned. The temple was built in the same marshy place as before by one of the most famous architect of those days.

The new temple combined great size with elaborate ornamentation. It was 130m long and 80m wide with 127 marble columns, each 20m tall. The gates of the temple of Artemis were made of cypress and the ceiling of cedar. The temple also housed many works of art.

According to Piny the Elder, a Roman historian, the temple was a "wonderful monument of Grecian magnificence, and one that merits our genuine admiration."

The temple of Artemis was destroyed during a raid by the Goths in 262 A.D. Today the site of the temple is a marshy field. A single column was erected to remind visitors that once there stood in that place one of the wonders of the ancient world.




The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, a 45m high white marble structure, was built in 352 B.C. at Halicarnassus (now a site in Turkey) in memory of King Mausolus of Caria.

When the Persians expanded their ancient kingdom to include Mesopotamia, Northern India, Syria, Egypt, and Asia Minor, the king could not control his vast empire without the help of local governors

or rulers: tiie satraps. Like many other provinces, the kingdom of Caria in the western part of Asia Minor (Turkey) was so far from the Persian capital that it: was prac­tically autonomous. From 377 to 353 B.C., king Mausollus of Caria reigned and moved his capital to Halicarnassus.

The construction of the Mausoleum might have started during the king's life­time. It was completed around 350 B.C., three years after Maussollus death. The structure was rectangular in design, with base dimensions of about 40 m by 30 in. Overlying the foundation was a stepped podium decorated with statues. The burial chamber and the sarcophagus of white alabaster decorated with gold were located on the podium and surrounded by 36 ionic columns. The colonnade supported a pyra­mid roof which was also decorated with statues. A statue of a chariot pulled by four horses adorned the top of the tomb.

The beauty of the Mausoleum is not only in the structure itself, but in the deco­rations and statues that adorned the outside at different levels on the podium and the roof. Because the statues were of people and animals, the Mausoleum holds a special place in history as it was not dedicated to the gods of Ancient Greece.

For 16 centuries, the Mausoleum remained in good condition until an earth­quake caused some damage to the roof and colonnade. In the early fifteenth century, the Knights of St John of Malta invaded the region and built a massive crusader castle. When they decided to fortify it in 1494, they used the stones from the Mausoleum. By 1522, almost every block of the Mausoleum had been disassembled and used for construction.

Some of the sculptures survived and today they are on display at the British Museum in London.




The Colossus of Rhodes, a tall bronze statue of Helios, the Greek god of the sun, was erected in about 280 ВС to guard the entrance to the harbor of the Mediter­ranean island of Rhodes in Greece. The Colossus of Rhodes was not only a gigantic statue. It was rather a symbol of unity of the people who inhabited that beautiful Mediterranean island: Rhodes.

The island of Rhodes was an important economic centre in the ancient world. It is located off the southwestern tip of Asia Minor where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean. The capital city, also named Rhodes, was built in 408 B.C.' In 357 B.C. the island was conquered by Mausolus of Halicarnassus (whose tomb is one of the other Seven Wonders of the Ancient World), then it fell into Persian hands in

340 B.C., and was finally captured by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C.

When Alexander died, his generals fought bitterly among themselves for con­trol of Alexander's vast kingdom. Three of them, Ptolemy, Seleucus and Antigous, suc­ceeded in dividing the kingdom among themselves. The Rhodians supported Ptolemy in this struggle. This angered Antigous who sent his son Demetrius to capture and punish the city of Rhodes. Demetrius brought an army of 40,000 men. This was more than the entire population of Rhodes. When Demetrius attacked the city, the defenders stopped the attackers by flooding a ditch outside the walls. By then a fleet of ships from Egypt arrived to assist the city and Demetrius withdrew quickly. To celebrate their victory and freedom, the Rhodians decided to build a giant statue of their patron god Helios.

The statue was 30m tall and stood upon a 17m pedestal. Although the statue has been popularly depicted with its legs span­ning the harbour entrance so that ships could pass beneath, it was actually posed in

a more traditional Greek manner: nude, wearing a spiked crown, shading its eyes from the rising sun with its right hand, while holding a cloak over its left.

For years, the statue stood at the harbor entrance, until a strong earthquake hit Rhodes about 226 B.C. The city was badly damaged, and the Colossus was broken at its weakest point - the knee.

From the time of its construction to its destruction was merely 56 years. Yet the colossus earned a place in the famous list of Wonders. "But even lying on the ground, it is a marvel", said Pliny the Elder.

For almost a millennium, the statue laid broken in ruins. In AD 654, the Arabs invaded Rhodes. They disassembled the remains of the broken Colossus and sold it as scrap metal.




Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only one had a practical use in addi­tion to its architectural elegance: The Lighthouse of Alexandria. For sailors it ensured a safe return to the Great Harbor. For architects, it meant even more: it was the tallest building on Earth, it was 122m high with a ramp leading to the top. Light was produced with a fire and reflectors, and

could be seen from a distance of 42 miles.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria was lo­cated on the ancient island of Pharos, now a promontory within the Egyptian city of Alexandria. The project was conceived and initiated by Ptolemy Soter around 290 ВС, but was completed after his death.

For centuries, the Lighthouse of Alexandria (occasionally referred to as the Pharos Lighthouse) was used to mark the harbor, using fire at night and reflecting sun raj's during the day. It was even shown on Roman coins, just as famous monuments are depicted on currency today

When the Arabs conquered Egypt, they admired Alexandria and its wealth. The Lighthouse continued to be mentioned in their writings and travelers accounts. But the new rulers moved their capital to Cairo since they had no ties with the Mediterranean. When the mirror was brought down mistakenly, they did not restore it back into place. In 956 AD an earthquake shook Alexandria but caused little damage to the Lighthouse. It was later in 1303 and in 1323 that two stronger earthquakes left a significant impression on the structure.

The final chapter in the history of the Lighthouse came in 1480 AD when the Egyptian, Mamelouk Sultan Qaitbay, decided to fortify Alexandria's defenses. He built a medieval fort on the same spot where

the Lighthouse once stood, using the fallen stone and marble.

Of the six vanished Wonders, the Lighthouse of Alexandria was the last to disappear.



 Bridges can be different  (По материалам журнала "ИяШ"- 2005г. Методическая мозаика№5-6)


... A man built a city, banks and cathedrals...

(The words from the U2 song)

Man built bridges - crossings of diverse natural obstacles - for walking on foot, for transport, for trade, for lovers watching the stars at night and much else besides. People have become so used to them that bridges are nothing unusual for us. Though at the same time a bridge is a genuine miracle... here are the top 11.



This bridge was situated in Babylon and built in the 7th century AD. Its length was about 700 metres and it was 9 metres in width. The Euphrates river flowed under it. This most ancient bridge led to the main temple.



 The trouble with this bridge was that not everyone could use it. More than 100 years ago the Italian acrobat Maria Spelterrini walked the tightrope across Niagara Falls.



The bridge is in the West of the USA, in the stone desert of Utah state. It leads nowhere. This bridge is the length of a football ground. In fact the US Capitol could fit under its arch.


The Ponte Vecchio forms part of the Florence World Heritage site. Tins inhabited urban bridge is across the Arno river and has three great seg­mented arches on massive piers. It replaced a similar bridge that failed in 1333. The architect is Taddeo Gaddi,


The Spectacular Confederation Bridge links Cape Jourimain, New Brunswick    and     Borden- Carleton,

Prince Edward Island, the islands situ­ated in the Atlantic ocean not far from Canada. The technology of the 90s made; possible the construction of a bridge stretching almost 13 kilometres. It is presently the longest bridge in the world to cross ice-covered sail water.


 This bridge was built in 2004 over the Tarne valley in France. The engi­neers brought the two central ends of the Millau road viaduct in southwest France together, completing the span of the highest bridge in the world. The road surface is 270 metres above the ground. The bridge, along the most direct route from Paris to the Mediterranean, was opened to public traffic on December 17. 2004, 39 months after work began.


 The "Rainbow Bridge" in Jinze, near Shanghai is so called because of its shape and colours. Until last year the Rainbow Bridge, the only arched bridge made of straight timbers, existed only in a painting from nine hundred years ago. Its length is 15 metres and its width is 3.6 metres. In mythology a rainbow is considered a road between the world of the gods and the world of the mortals.


 Such bridges arc mostly built in Denmark and Northern Holland. A drawbridge is a type of movable bridge typically associated with the entrance of a castle, but the term is also used to describe modern bascule bridges and lift bridges. The most common type of drawbridge consists of a wooden plat­form with one fixed side and the other side attached to a wall. It is raised by ropes or chains. Pulling on the chain raises the bridge.


 The most unusual


This bridge is built between two tiny islands in the part of the St Laurence river where Canada borders the USA. The point is that this bridge is an inter­national one and the smallest in the world.







The bigger island belongs to Canada and the smaller one - to the USA.



The Lieutenant Shmidt bridge in St .Petersburg across the Neva was built in the 19th century. It was named in honor of Lieutenant Shmidt, who was execut­ed for taking part in the revolt on board the ship "Ochakov". It is a raising bridge. The grating was designed by the architect A.P. Brullov, a famous artist's brother. During these years the name was changed several times - Blagoveshchensky, Nikolaevsky


Nan Pu Bridge was built in 1991 in Shanghai. It has a navigational over­head clearance of 46 metres, accommo­dating any steamer with a tonnage of 55,000. With a full length of 846 metres and a width of 30, 35 metres, the bridge has six traffic lanes and two pedestrian lanes. Historically it is the first modern heavy-duty bridge in China, spiraling over the Huang Pu river like a gigantic dragon lifting its head.


студентка III курса МГПУ,



copyright:©Ястребов В.И.   29.04.08г.-02.04.09-01.008.09г.


Поисковик Гугл настроен на поиск в основном материалов, связанных с изучением английского языка. Тем не менее ищет все, что Вам может понадобится гораздо лучше, чем другие поисковые машины. Я люблю Гугл. Надеюсь, Вам он тоже понравится. Не удивляйтесь, результат поиска высветится на карте этого сайта, может и там окажется что-либо полезное.  

    sherlok holms  

Пользовательского поиска