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CITIES OF THE WORLD

THE FOLLOWING EXTRACTS FROM GUIDE BOOKS DESCRIBE FIVE OF THE WORLDS MOST
FAMOUS CITIES. READ THE DESCRIPTIONS AND DECIDE WHICH CITY IS BEING
DESCRIBED IN EACH TEXT.

There is little point in portraying it as something it is not. Its beauty is not as aweinspiring as other cities. It is not even particularly old, and much of what may have
constituted its historical legacy has over the centuries been all too quickly sacrificed to
make way for the new. It is a largely modern city, a product of the 19 th and 20th
centuries, and the expanses of its outer dormitory suburbs and peripheral high-rise
apartment jungles are an oppressive introduction for anyone driving into the city for the
first time.
It may lack the historical richness and sophistication of other European capitals,
but it oozes a fife and character that, given the opportunity to work its magic (it doesnt
take long), cannot leave you indifferent. Leaving aside the great art museums, the
splendour of the main square and the Royal Palace, and the elegance of the city park,
the essence of this city is in the life pulsing through its streets. In no other European

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The city is like a history lesson come to
life. As you walk among the long stone
palaces or across the Charles Bridge, with
the Vlatava flowing below and pointed
towers all around, youll feel as if history
had stopped back in the 18th century.
Goethe called it the prettiest gem in the
stone crown of the world. A millennium
earlier in 965 the Arab Jewish merchant
Ibrahim Ibn Jacob described it as a town of
stone and lime. For these reasons the
city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Today it is a city of over a million
inhabitants, the seat of government and
leading centre of much of the countrys
intellectual and cultural life. Unlike other
capitals in this region, which were major
battlefields during WW2, it escaped almost
unscathed and after the war, lack of
modernisation
prevented
haphazard
modern
development.
Since
1989,
however, the city centre has been
swamped by capitalism as street vendors,
cafs
and
restaurants
take
over
pavements, streets and parks as they did
prior to 1948.
How you feel about the citys current
tourist glut may depend on where youre
coming from. If youre arriving from

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This is a cosmopolitan mixture of the Third
and First worlds, of chauffeurs and beggars,
of the establishment, the avowedly working
class
and
the
avant-garde.
Unlike
comparable European cities, much of it
looks unplanned and grubby, but that is part
of its appeal. Visiting the city is like being let
loose on a giant-sized Monopoly board
clogged with traffic. Even though you
probably wont know where the hell you are,
at least the names will look reassuringly
familiar. The city is so enormous, visitors will
need to make maximum use of the

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The sheer level of energy is the most striking
aspect of this capital city. Its true the larger
picture can be somewhat depressing shoebox
housing estates and office blocks traversed by
overhead expressways crowded with traffic. But
this is the countrys success story in action. The
average
suburb
hasnt
fallen
prey
to
supermarket culture though: streets are lined
with tiny specialist shops and bustling
restaurants, most of which stay open late into
the night. Close to the soaring office blocks exist
pockets of another time an old wooden house,
a kimono shop, a small inn, an old lady in a
traditional dress sweeping the pavement outside
her home with a straw broom. More than

They dont come any bigger than this king of the hill, top of the heap. No other city is
arrogant enough to dub itself Capital of the World and no other city could carry it off. It is a
densely packed mass of humanity seven million people in 309 square miles (800 square km.)
and all this living on top of another makes the inhabitants a special kind of person. Although
its hard to put a finger on what makes it buzz, its the citys hyperactive rush that really draws
people here.
In a city that is so much a part of the global subconscious, its pretty hard to pick a few
highlights, wherever you go youll feel like youve been there before.
Bookshops, food, theatre, shopping, people: it doesnt really matter what you do or

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1) MATCH DEFINITIONS A-H TO THE ADJECTIVES 1- 8 ON THE
RIGHT. THEN DECIDE WHICH OF THE ADJECTIVES YOU WOULD
USE TO DESCRIBE THE NOUN PHRASES IN THE BOX BELOW.
a. Rather dirty
1. awe-inspiring
b. Full of people who are very busy or lively (especially a place)
2. haphazard
c. Not organised, not arranged according to a plan
3. tacky
d. Very tall or high in the sky (especially buildings or trees)
4. grubby
e. So loud, big or noticeable that you just cant ignore it
5. clogged
f. Cheap and badly made or vulgar
6. bustling
g. Giving a feeling of respect and amazement
7. soaring
h. Blocked so that nothing can pass through (especially a place)
8. in your
face

Plastic souvenirs
tree tops
Childrens hands
approach to work
Tower blocks
waterways
Collection of people

2)

arteries
beauty
advertising campaigns
market
seaside postcards
scenery
action movies
old trainers coastal resorts

Look at the verbs below. Without looking back at the


extracts, match each one with an appropriate phrase from the
list on the right.
a.
To make
a finger on (something)
b.
To work
prey to (something)
c.
To get
on top of one another
d.
To fall
its magic
e.
To live
your bearings
f.
To put
way for the new

3) FIND THE ADJECTIVES IN THE TEXT. WHAT ARE THEY


DESCRIBING?

4) Complete these sentences using the phrases in 2. Make any


changes to the phrases that are necessary.
a. No matter how stressed you feel, once you let the beauty of the beach and the
warmth of the sun _________________________________ on you, you will begin to wind
down and relax.

b.

The old town is built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the gorge, using up every
bit of spare space. Some houses are even built into the cliff face and people
_____________________________________ in a warren of narrow cobbled streets.

c.

The medieval clock tower offers a landmark which is visible wherever you are in
the town, making it very easy _____________________________________.

d.

It is difficult __________________________________ exactly what makes this grey,


industrial town such a popular tourist destination.

e.

Its very easy ______________________________ the charm of the market stall holders
and people often end up spending much more than theyd expected to.

f.

Far too often historic town centres are carved up and charming old buildings torn
down _______________________________________________.

1) THE CITIES ARE: 1) MADRID 2)PRAGUE 3) LONDON 4) TOKYO 5)


NEW YORK
2) MATCH DEFINITIONS A-H TO THE ADJECTIVES 1- 8 ON THE
RIGHT. THEN DECIDE WHICH OF THE ADJECTIVES YOU WOULD
USE TO DESCRIBE THE NOUN PHRASES IN THE BOX BELOW.
a. Full of people who are very busy or lively (especially a place)
2.
haphazard
b. Rather dirty
1. aweinspiring
c. Not organised, not arranged according to a plan
3. tacky
d. Very tall or high in the sky (especially buildings or trees)
4.
grubby
e. So loud, big or noticeable that you just cant ignore it
5.
clogged
f. Cheap and badly made or vulgar
6. bustling
g. Giving a feeling of respect and amazement
7.
soaring
h. Blocked so that nothing can pass through (especially a place)
8.
in your face

Plastic souvenirs
Childrens hands
waterways

tree tops
approach to work
action movies

arteries
market
old trainers

beauty
advertising campaigns
seaside postcards
scenery
Tower blocks
coastal resorts
Collection of people

Possible answers: Grubby: childrens hand; old trainers. Bustling: market, costal resorts;
Haphazard: approach to work, collection of people. Soaring: tree tops, tower blocks. In your face: advertising
campaigns, action movies. Tacky: plastic souvenirs, seaside postcards. Awe-inspiring: beauty, scenery. Clogged:
arteries, waterways.

3)

FIND THE ADJECTIVES IN THE TEXT. WHAT ARE THEY


DESCRIBING?
GRUBBY: The city (n 3 refered to London)
BUSTLING: Restaurants (n 4
Tokyo)
HAPHAZARD: modern development (n 2 Prague) SORING office blocks (n 4
Tokyo)
IN YOUR FACE: experience of the city (n 5 NY) TACKY: tourist trap (n 2 Prague)
AWE-INSPIRING: the beauty of the city (n 1) CLOGGED: traffic (n 3 London).

4)

Look at the verbs below. Without looking back at the


extracts, match each one with an appropriate phrase from the
list on the right.
a. To make
a finger on (something) (F)
b. To work
prey to (something) (D)
c. To get
on top of one another (E)
d. To fall
its magic (B)
e. To live
your bearings (C)
f. To put
way for the new (A)

5) Complete these sentences using the phrases in 2. Make any


changes to the phrases that are necessary.

a. No matter how stressed you feel, once you let the beauty of the beach and the warmth
of the sun _WORK THEIR MAGIC_ on you, you will begin to wind down and relax.

b. The old town is built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the gorge, using up every bit of
spare space. Some houses are even built into the cliff face and people __LIVE ON TOP
OF ONE ANOTHER__ in a warren of narrow cobbled streets.

c.

The medieval clock tower offers a landmark which is visible wherever you are in the
town, making it very easy _TO GET YOUR BEARINGS__.

d. It is difficult __TO PUT YOUR FINGER ON__

exactly what makes this grey, industrial

town such a popular tourist destination.

e. Its very easy __TO FALL PREY TO___ the charm of the market stall holders and people
often end up spending much more than theyd expected to.

f.

Far too often historic town centres are carved up and charming old buildings torn down
__TO MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW___.