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The City of London, also known as The City, or The Square Mile (after its approximate size), is the area of London that originally lay within the ancient city walls. This part of Central London is not as big a tourist destination as the West End, Westminster or South Bank, but is a must for anyone wishing to explore and understand London.

Although London grew from this area, the official City did not change in size and the borders of the City of London have barely changed in centuries (they still follow the line of the old city walls to a great degree). The walls around the city, originally built by the Romans, have now largely disappeared (several vestiges still remain, one of the largest of which can be seen outside the Museum of London, another just near the Tower of London) but various place names and streets hint at their prior existence. Locations such as Aldgate, Bishopsgate, Ludgate and Moorgate mark where the main gates were in the city walls.

The City of London is not a London borough and has an ancient and unusual local governance, with rights and privileges greater than those of anywhere else in United Kingdom. The local authority is the City of London Corporation and the chief position is the Lord Mayor. Whilst the rest of London has the Metropolitan Police, the City of London has its own police force.

The City of London does not include Tower Bridge or the Tower of London; they are in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. A number of bridges over the River Thames do connect the City with Southwark and the two oldest of them, London Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge, are unusual in that the City of London’s boundaries include the whole span of the bridge (the border otherwise runs along the middle of the Thames). Small statues of Dragons (sometimes described to be Griffins) mark the boundary of the City on most roads.

The City is the world’s leading centre of international finance. In British parlance, The City often refers to the financial sector, just as Americans might refer to Wall Street. This area contains 255 foreign banks, which is more than any other financial centre. It also is home to the Bank of England and houses other institutions such as Lloyds and the London Stock Exchange. Every weekday approximately three hundred thousand workers come into the City to work in small and large business and financial institutions. (wikitravel)