Блог Воли Стаса

Текст для перевода на английском - 'The world cultures'



Landforms, climate, weather, vegetation, resources, and the world ocean make up parts of the earth's physical environment. However, the study of geography involves much more than a study of the earth's physical features. Just as important is a study of the earth's various cultural features. Every human group leaves a distinct imprint on the earth. The earth's cultural variety finds expression in different population trends, social characteristics, political systems, and economic systems.

Humans can be divided into many ethnic groups - that is large groups of people who have more in common with each other than they do with other peoples. Some ethnic groups differ physically from others. However, all humans are born with certain physical differences. They differ in height, skin, eye and hair color, features of the face and other ways. Often there are no overall physical differences between one ethnic group and another. Other differences between human groups are differences in culture.

Culture is the sum of what a human group acquires through living together, including language, knowledge, skills, art, literature, law, customs, and life styles. When studying about a group's culture, it helps to divide cultural characteristics into two categories - material culture and nonmaterial culture. Material culture includes all the physical objects that people make. Examples of material culture include buildings, clothing, tools, paintings, etc. The ideas of a society - expressed in its language, values, political and economic systems, and so on - make up its nonmaterial culture. Both material and nonmaterial culture tell us a great deal about a society's way of life.

In spite of the differences all human cultures have found the same general ways of living on the land. They have developed some kind of clothing, shelter and methods of preparing food. They all have a spoken language - even though it differs from place to place. Nearly all human groups have developed some kind of art, music, and religion.

Language, both spoken and written makes it possible for people to communicate with each other. Scientists have identified over 3,000 different languages in the world today. Some languages are spoken by relatively small numbers of people. Other languages are spoken by millions of people. They include English, which is the official language of many countries around the world, and Chinese, which more than 600 million people speak. Most of these languages began in one area and then spread to other parts of the world.

Scholars believe that the thousands of languages spoken today develop from a few common languages. As early people migrated throughout the world and lost contact with other groups, different languages evolved. Languages that have the same origin are called language families. The two largest language families in the world today are the Sino-Tibetan family, spoken mainly in Asia, and Indo-European family, of which English is a part.

Even though most speakers of different languages within the same language family cannot understand each other's languages, certain words are similar. The English word sister, for example, resembles the word for sister in several other Indo-European languages. The French soeur, the German schwester, the Italian sorella, and the Russian sestra reflect common origins.

Language is never static. It always changes and develops. Changes in languages can take place over a relatively short period of time. The most notable recent additions include terms related to technological advances, such as the words computer chip and software.

Like language, art could vary from place to place. Eskimos would carve a face on a piece of driftwood to be used as a fishing float. For a ceremonial dance, West Africans would carve a mask out of wood and decorate it with copper. American Indians wouldwear ornaments they made out of shells, feathers, and animal bones. The objects out of which different peoples made their art depended on local resources. But the designs could come from people's imagination.

From the tropics to the tundra, humans looked up at the sky and wondered where the stars came from, and what would happen when they died. As each group faced these questions, it began to develop its own religion. (See text Religions)

Cultural regions. Geographers divide the world into several cultural regions, or areas in which the people share similar cultural characteristics. They identify the cultural regions of the world in many different ways. The following list reflects one way accepted by geographers - Anglo America, Latin America, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Africa South of the Sahara, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.


The "borders" between cultures usually, but not always, coincide with political boundaries between countries. To illustrate, we can speak of the Japanese culture, the Mexican culture, and the French culture. Today political boundaries divide the world into more than 160 different nations.

Political boundaries usually follow physical landforms on the earth. The high Andes Mountains, for example, divide Peru from Brazil and Chile from Argentina. The Rhine River forms part of the border between France and Germany. Other boundaries, however, do not follow physical features. The long border between Canada and the western United States, drawn along the 49°N latitude line, cuts across many different landforms for thousands of miles.

Many political boundaries separate groups of people with different cultures. The border between Spain and France, for example, separates the Spanish people, with their distinctive culture and language, from the French people, who have their own traditions. In other cases, however, the boundaries are arbitrary lines that include several different, and often opposing, groups. Many boundaries in Africa, for example, were drawn by Europeans, who ruled much of that part of the world until the mid-20th century. Such countries often have serious difficulties because so many different groups are within their borders.

Size and shape. Some countries span (extend across) continents and cover several different time zones. Others are so tiny that a person can walk across them in a single day. Geographers call such small countries microstates. (See text Europe's Mi-crostates)

Years ago size was a measure of a country's pride. Wars were fought to acquire more land and to add to a country's prestige. However, big does not always mean better. Large countries are more likely to have a large workforce and an adequate supply of natural resources. Yet they face potential problems concerning food supplies, defense, transportation, communication, and political unity.

Countries vary not only in size but also in shape. Political geographers often classify nations according to their shape, or spatial form. Two of the most common classifications they use are compact nations and fragmented nations.

Compact are nations that have generally round or rectangular shapes and land areas not separated by large bodies of water or by the territory of other countries. In a compact nation all points on the country's borders lie about the same distance from the geographic center of the country. This makes communication and transportation easier. Examples of compact nations include Poland, Uruguay, and Kenya.

Fragmented are nations that have land areas that are geographically separated from other parts of the country. New Zealand, which occupies several islands in the South Pacific, is one example of a fragmented nation. Other examples include Italy, Indonesia, and Japan. Alaska and Hawaii, which are geographically separated from the rest of the United States, make it a fragmented nation.Fragmented shapes make communication and transportation more difficult than in compact nations. In fact, some fragmented nations have had such serious breakdowns in communication that they eventually divided into two or more countries. East and West Pakistan, for example, originally were part of the same country. Communication and government administration were difficult because the two parts of the country were thousands of miles apart, separated by India. Finally, in 1971 the people of East Pakistan revolted and formed their own nation - Bangladesh.


The economic features of a country - the way it produces, distributes, and exchanges goods and services - form an important part of its life. Economic geographers study economic patterns to understand how countries meet the needs and wants of their people.

Levels of economic development. The countries of the world today reflect a wide range of economic development. Some countries are highly industrialized, producing a variety of goods and services. Other countries have one-crop economies that specialize in the production of one or a very few products. Most often agricultural products or raw materials make up these goods. Such specialization leads to instability because the whole economy depends on the world price of a single good. The Ivory Coast, for example, depends on coffee production. If the price of coffee remains high, its economy grows. If the price drops the economy suffers.

The level of development of a country's economy largely depends on natural resources or raw materials, human resources or labor, and capital resources. Natural resources that are especially

important to a nation's economy are its fossil fuels, minerals, trees, and water. Human resources include a country's workers. Capital resources include the money, tools, equipment, and inventory used in the production process.

A country lacking any one of the factors of production finds it difficult to reach a high level of economic development. Without energy resources, for example, a country lacks the power needed Lo run factories. A country without a skilled workforce or technical equipment may be unable to support heavy industries.

Economic geographers divide the countries of the world into two broad categories - developed and developing nations. Each country's level of economic development forms the basis of its classification.

Developed nations are highly industrialized nations with high standards of living. Today only about 30 of the world's countries, or about 35 percent of the world's people, fit this category. These nations, which include the United States, Canada, and most countries of Western and Eastern Europe, use advanced technology to make their systems of farming, manufacturing, and distribution highly productive. They also have highly skilled workers and good educational systems.

International trade accounts for (explains) much of the wealth of developed nations. They import goods they lack and goods they cannot produce as cheaply as other countries. They export surplus goods and goods they can produce more efficiently than other countries.

Developed nations offer most of their citizens adequate food, clothing, and housing. Their governments also offer such services as fire and police protection; transportation and communication systems; schools, libraries, and museums. In general, the people have a high standard of living.

Economic geographers often use per capita gross national product to determine a country's standard of living. You can figure per capita gross national product, or per capita GNP, by dividing the total dollar value of all goods and services produced in a country by the number of people living in the country. The per capita GNPs of developed nations tend to be high.

Developing nations. Economists classify more than 130 countries of the world today as developing nations. Developing nations feature agricultural economies and traditional life styles. Thesecountries have little or no industry. Some lack the energy resources to power factories. Others lack money to develop the resources they have. As a result, developing nations must depend on the countries of the developed world to satisfy all or part of their needs and wants.

The per capita GNPs of developing nations tend to be low. Although some developing nations have several large cities, overcrowd -ing, inadequate housing and sanitation, and unemployment present serious problems. Most of the people in developing nations live in rural parts of the country and depend on subsistence agriculture. The literacy rate, or the percentage of people who can read and write, is low. Usually, there are few workers with specialized training.

Most developing nations have high birth rates and declining death rates. As a result, their populations grow rapidly. Often, developing nations cannot feed, educate, or care for their people. In Ethiopia and Bangladesh, for example, the growing population strains resources (uses them beyond reasonable limits) and contributes to the outbreak of famines.


To help young adults cope with their changing role in life, society develops special ceremonies or events called rites. Perhaps the most important of these rites are rites of passage.

Of the many role changes you undergo, the change from youth to adulthood is one of the most important. You take on the responsibilities and rights reserved for the adults in your society. Rites of passage signify to you that change is taking place and new things are expected of you.

A variety of ceremonies accompany the change to adulthood. Some of them carry religious meanings. Others, such as getting a driver's license or graduating from high school, are civil matters. Still others, such as marriage, can have both religious and legal significance. But all have the same purpose - to let you know you are entering adulthood.

In Africa life revolves around family and tribal traditions. African traditions usually feature more rites of passage for boys than for girls, partly because in earlier times boys had to prove they were ready for the adult responsibilities of being a hunter or warrior.

How boys prove their manhood varies from tribe to tribe. One tribe may require a boy to prove his hunting skill, another his bravery, and another his endurance. A young Masai boy in Kenya, for example, must prove his courage by grabbing a wild lion by the tail.

Many of these rituals remain a vital part of African culture. Boys in many West African tribes must prove they are ready to protecttheir families and their tribes. To prove this, a boy must kill a wild beast without help from anyone. Warriors escort the boy to the edge of the dense jungle, but he enters it alone. He carries only a bow, one arrow, and a knife dipped in poison. On his own he must select a worthy animal as his quarry, track it, and kill it. He returns to the tribe as a man only if he brings proof of his kill. The more dangerous the animal he kills, the greater is his prestige.

Such a test of manhood is dangerous. Some boys never return. Yet tribal members have accepted such a test for centuries. They believe that it is better to die fighting than never to know you are brave. And when the time comes, all boys are eager to prove themselves.


Six tiny nations, among the world's smallest, lie scattered throughout Europe. Imagine six nations whose combined areas occupy less than 975 square kilometers, approximately the area of New York City. Each of these nations is an independent country with its own government, economy, and history.

Andorra and Malta. Andorra, by far the largest of these microstates, covers 465 square kilometers. Sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees Mountains, the 43,000 Andorrans depend on tourism to provide between 80 and 90 percent of their income.

Malta, an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, covers 316 square kilometers. An economy based on tourism and textile manufacturing supports the population of 355,000.

Liechtenstein. Wedged between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein has a population of only 28,000. Most Liechtenstein live in tiny rural villages and work in small factories or businesses. The nation itself depends on two major sources of income - the sale of postage stamps, which are highly prized by collectors all over the world, and taxes levied on foreign businesses. Liechtenstein's business and income taxes are quite low when compared with those in most other nations of the world. As a result, about 5,000 foreign companies use the nation for their corporate headquarters.

San Marino. San Marino, completely surrounded by Italy, is barely one-third the size of Liechtenstein. Yet it traces its independence back more than 1,600 years. Its 24,000 people pride themselves on being citizens of the oldest republic in the world.

San Marino's picturesque capital, also named San Marino, sits at the very peak of the country's highest mountain. The entire setting, with its magnificent vistas, fortress walls, and numerous festivals, makes it a favorite spot for tourists. Indeed, tourism provides the major source of income for San Marino. Like Liechtenstein, San Marino also is noted for its postage stamps.

Monaco and Vatican City. Perhaps more well known than the other microstates are the two smallest nations in the world, Monaco and Vatican City. Monaco occupies 1.9 square kilometers of land. Famed for its resort like atmosphere on the Mediterranean coast, Monaco ranks as one of the favorite vacation spots in the world.

Vatican City's total area is just 44 hectares. Vatican City, ruled by the Pope, serves as the spiritual and governmental headquarters of the Roman Catholic church. Vatican City lies entirely within the city of Rome. Yet its area is recognized as the territory of an independent nation.


Many of Guatemala's Indians live far from the modern bustle of Guatemala City. They live in lofty highland villages lined with dirt or cobblestone streets and stonewalled yards.

Descendants of the Maya. In Quiche, a province in northwest Guatemala, 95 percent of the people trace their descent to the ancient Maya whose civilization existed in the area more than 1,000 years ago. They still speak the language used by their Mayan ancestors.

Like the farmers of ancient Maya times, the people of modern Quiche live in tiny villages scattered amid the volcanoes of Guatemala's highlands. The rhythm of their lives revolves today, as it did for their ancestors, around the growing of corn.

Guatemala's highland Indian farmers plant corn wherever suitable land exists. Some corn grows оц almost-level flood-plains along streams. Some clings to life on steep mountain slopes that farmers reach by crawling on their hands and knees.

Few Indian farmers can grow enough food to feed their families. Most men must leave their villages periodically to earn money for extra food and other needs. Many work for a month or two harvesting coffee or sugarcane or weeding cotton on Guatemala's many plantations.

The women of Quiche help maintain the village by cooking, hauling water, and collecting firewood. Every spare moment, often in the shadowy light of an evening fire, they are busy at their looms weaving the intricate designs on huipiles, the traditional blouses that most Indians still prefer to Western clothing. The sale of these beautiful blouses in town markets brings in a little extra income.

Civil defense patrols. Despite their isolation, Indians in Quiche are not far from the political troubles of modern Guatemala. As evening falls men in hundreds of small Indian villages leave home wrapped in blankets to protect them from the cold night air. Armed with ancient weapons, they trudge through the mists, seeking suspected guerrillas and terrorists opposed to Guatemala's rulers.

The nightly civil defense patrols date from the early 1980s, when Guatemala's military leaders suspected the Indians of rebelling against the government. Today every Indian man is required to join a civil defense patrol and be on duty one day each week. But the duty is often a severe economic hardship. It means losing a day's work in the fields or at another income-producing job. And the patrols have become socially harmful. Each man now

feels he must spy on his neighbors. Many Indians feel they are losing that special sense of togetherness that has helped them, as it did their Mayan ancestors, survive their harsh mountain environment.


A vast tropical grassland covers southwestern Kenya and the adjoining countryside of north-central Tanzania. Nomadic herders known as the Masai have lived on this expanse of grassland for hundreds of years.

The Masai believe that they have always been cattle herders. According to their legends, God gave them cattle as a gift when the earth and sky separated. Today the Masai rely almost totally on their herds of cattle for subsistence. They milk the cattle, make butter and cheese, and bleed the animals periodically. Though it sounds unappetizing to us, they drink the blood, which serves as an important source of protein. As a last resort, when an animal is too old or weak to graze, the Masai slaughter it for food.

In addition to their cattle, the Masai graze sheep and goats on pastures too poor to support cattle. They also use donkeys to haul their goods from place to place as they follow their herds.Masai society. The Masai live in small groups of four to eight families. The elders of each group serve as authority figures for all the group's members. The families stay in camps made of flat-roofed, straight-walled mud houses. Beside the houses is an area surrounded by thick, thatched fences where the cattle - the measure of each family's wealth - are kept at night. Each group lives in a dozen such camps throughout the year. The Masai tear down their camps and rebuild them from scratch as they move their cattle from place to place according to the season and the need for water for the animals.

An uncertain future. The Masai population is growing. But as more people compete for grazing lands, there is less room to wander. And the Masai must continue to compete for grazing lands and water with the many wild animals of Africa. The Masai realize that to survive they must guard against overgrazing, which is increasingly difficult.

To reduce the pressure on the pastures, the governments of Kenya and Tanzania have encouraged the Masai to settle down as farmers. Few of these efforts have been successful, however, for the Masai prefer to wander through the grasslands that have been their home for centuries. They feel no loyalty to national governments and no obligation to abandon their way of life. Instead they remain loyal to the elders of their group and their traditional way of life.


Apart from languages and art, religion makes up a part of a group's nonmaterial culture. Every culture in the world has religion in one form or another. In most cultures religion is a set of beliefs in a supreme being or beings. In general religions give people a model for human behavior. Most include the idea that good

behavior will be rewarded and that bad behavior will be punished. Often a trained group of religious leaders leads the people in religious observances. Priests, ministers, and rabbis, for example, conduct weekly services and preside at confirmations, baptisms, weddings, and funerals.

Religion affects many aspects of daily life. In the United States, for example, many workers have Sundays off because that is the traditional day of Christian church services. In Israel, a Jewish country, most workers have Saturdays off because Saturday is the Sabbath, or day of rest.

Three major world religions - Christianity, Judaism, and Islam - began in the Middle East. From there they spread to other parts of the world. Two of the world's religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, began in ancient India, most of their followers live in Asia. Confucianism remains largely confined to China and Japan.


Many of the world's religions hold certain places holy. Two of the most important holy places are Jerusalem and Mecca. Jerusalem is sacred to three great religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Mecca is the sacred city of Islam.

Jerusalem. For 2,000 years Christian pilgrims have flocked to Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, erected near the site of Jesus' crucifixion. Beyond this site lies the Via Dolorosa, or the Way of the Cross, the route that Jesus followed on the way to his crucifixion. The city also holds many other sites sacred to Christians.

For the Muslim faithful Jerusalem contains the magnificent golden Dome of the Rock, Islam's oldest religious building. Muslims believe that Muhammad ascended into heaven from the mosque's site. Nearby stands the silver-domed El Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest mosque in Islam.

Followers of Judaism find faith and unity in another sacred symbol - the Wailing Wall, or Western Wall. The wall marks the Ana remains of the Jewish Temple that Roman soldiers destroyed in A.D. 70. The wall's name comes from the tears and prayers that Jewish pilgrims offer as they remember the sad events in their proud history and mourn the destruction of the Temple.Jerusalem today is the capital and largest city of Israel. The Israeli government is very conscious of the city's special place in the world. To protect its holy places Israel imposes a seven-year prison sentence on anyone who attempts to damage any religious site. In addition, anyone who tries to prevent someone from entering a holy place can be imprisoned for five years.

Mecca. Quite unlike Jerusalem, which has holy significance to three of the world's great religions, Mecca has religious significance mainly for Muslims. Only Muslims may enter Mecca, the holiest city of Islam.

Muhammad was born in Mecca. Also the city is the site of the Kaaba, the shrine toward which all Muslims turn during their prayers. Islam requires all Muslims to make the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in their lifetime if they are able to do so. A hajj must be made between the eighth and thirteenth days of the last month of the Muslim year.. During those five days more than 1 million pilgrims pour into the city. Approximately half of the pilgrims come from Saudi Arabia. The other faithful come from all over the world.

Since the 1950s the Saudi government has spent great sums to modernize Mecca. Today modern hotels house the pilgrims, and hospitals and clinics provide health care.

The special importance of Jerusalem and Mecca gives each a vitality. Visitors and residents alike feel the unique energy of these two holy cities.


Earth's population, or the number of people living on the planet, constantly increases. In fact, in the time it takes you to read this sentence at least two more people will be born. Population figures are always approximations. No one can know exactly how many people there are in the world because birth and death records arc not always well kept, especially in developing countries. In general it is considered that the total population of the world is exceeding 6 billion people.

Stages of population growth. The population growth rate has not always been as high as it is today. Scientists who study population trends, have found that population growth rates differ in different parts of the world and vary with the levels of a country's economic development. As a nation develops, it moves through four stages of population growth. In the first stage of population growth the number of people increases slowly. The birth rate, or the number of children born per 1,000 people, is high. But the death rate, the number of people who die per 1,000 people, also is high. Few children live to be adults. Sickness, malnutrition, and starvation kill large numbers of people every year. Life expectancy - the average number of years a person is expected to live - is only about 30. This means that the rate of natural increase, or the difference between the birth rate and the death rate, remains low.

In the second stage of population growth technological ad vane- es in farming, nutrition, medicine, and sanitation result in increased supplies and improvements in health care. So people live longer and many more children than before live to become adults. The death rate drops rapidly and the population begins to grow rapidly.

In the third stage most children live to be adults. In order to raise their standard of living many adults begin limiting the size of their families, thus lowering the birth rate. The population still grows, but at a lower rate than before.

Finally, in the fourth stage both the birth rate and the death rate are very low. At this stage, the population growth rate slows dramatically and may even approach zero population growth, or a point at which the birth rate and the death rate are about equal. In stage four the rate of natural increase is almost as slow as it was in stage one. The four stages of population growth may not always apply to every country of the world but the understanding of the demographic tendencies helps put the world's population growth into perspective.

Uneven distribution of population. People make their homes in every geographic region except Antarctica but the world's population is not evenly distributed over the earth. In sonic places hundreds of thousands of people live within the limits of a single city. In other places only a few people live scattered over mi les and miles of farmland or wilderness. More people live in areas with fertile soil and a mild climate, for example, than in areas with rugged terrain and a harsh climate. The number of people per sq. km of a given land is called population density. Nearly 90 percent of the world's land area remains "empty" or sparsely populated. The remaining 10 percent is densely populated. For example, Asia has 55 percent of the world's people and 13 percent of its land. Hence the population density here is very high.

Population movements. Over a period of time population patterns were influenced by two population movements. One is migration, the movement of people from place to place. The other is urbanization, the movement of people from rural areas to urban areas within nations.

The many migrations that have taken place throughout history have helped to give many populations a mixture of races, ethnic groups, languages, and religions. Migration does not add to world population. But it does change the population of specific areas. Migration from one country to another can be classified as emigration or immigration. Emigration is the movement of people out of a country. Immigration is the movement of people into a country.People migrate for many reasons. Oppression, war, or natural catastrophes force some people from their homes. Other people move to an area because they are attracted by better conditions or new opportunities - political or religious freedom, better jobs, a more favorable climate, and so on. In the early 19th century, for example, more than 50 million people left their homelands in Europe to seek better opportunities in North and South America.

The movement of people from rural to urban areas has been taking place for thousands of years. In recent years, however, urbanization has taken place at a faster rate than ever before. Urbanization has increased dramatically over the last 200 years. Today 70 percent or more of the people in industrialized nations live in urban areas. In developing countries, the urban population is generally about 30 percent. However, urbanization in many developing countries is increasing rapidly. One of the most striking features of contemporary urban growth is the increase of large cities with a million or more people. Most of these million cities are in the economically developing world and they have a tendency to grow rapidly. (See text Baghdad; text Mexico City; Unit 18 text Lagos, Nigeria; etc.)


Cities originated more than 8,000 years ago when the development of agriculture freed groups of people from the need to search for food on a daily basis. In the 18th and 19th century cities began growing more rapidly. Over the years they have continued to grow.

From first human settlements to modern cities. Scholars believe that the first cities developed in the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley, where farmers learned to grow surpluses of food. These surpluses meant that it was no longer necessary for all the people to

devote all of their energy to growing food. Instead some people could work at other tasks, such as making tools or weaving cloth. Dividing tasks among workers is called specialization of labor.

The first cities were actually tiny villages. Over time some of these villages grew larger and larger, eventually becoming great cities. Yet even the greatest cities of the past, such as Athens, Greece, and Beijing, would not be considered large today. They included no more than 100,000 people. Today many cities have populations in the millions.

Cities are unevenly distributed over the earth's land surfaces. Some areas have so many cities that it is difficult to tell where one city stops and another starts. Other areas have no cities at all -only miles and miles of uninhabited land.

Cities today serve many functions. Geographers classify towns and cities as urban areas, from the Latin word urbs, meaning "city". Places outside cities are classified as rural areas, a term borrowed from the Latin word for "countryside".

From the earliest times cities of all sizes have served many of the same functions. Even the smallest city serves as the central place, or the location of specialized activities and services for the area around it. Among the most important functions of cities are transportation, manufacturing, commercial, and administrative functions. Most cities serve several functions at the same time. Today, however, we recognize many cities by the special functions that they provide. Some cities serve as transportation hubs, for example, while others act as centers of trade or as cultural centers. Thus for example, where road, rail, river, or air routes cross, such big hubs as Paris, Frankfurt, Shanghai appear.

All towns clearly have a residential function, they are places where people live. All towns also have a social function: they usually provide educational facilities, such as schools and colleges; health facilities, such as clinics and hospitals; places of worship, such as churches, mosques and temples and also places of entertainment. Many of them also are used by people from the surrounding rural areas.

All towns also have a commercial function: they are places where business takes place, they have shops and markets for the sale of goods, and also financial institutions such as banks. Some towns are particularly important as commercial centers. Examples includeseaport towns, river ports and those towns which have grown up where inland routes meet.

There are a number of towns which have grown greatly as a result of the development of mining. Thus Johannesburg, South Africa, serves as a mining and processing center for gold and other minerals. The examples of Russian towns centered around mineral deposits are numerous mining centers in the Ural Mountains, which are very rich in minerals. Such isolated mining centers as Vorkuta and Norilsk are located in the far north of this country.

In recent decades manufacturing industry has become important in many parts of the world. As a result many of the larger towns now have an industrial function. Some manufacturing centers, however, are quite small. When prices for their products are high, manufacturing cities grow rapidly, but they lose population when prices decline. Some cities even disappear. Cities centered on raw material production become ghost towns when supplies of nonrenewable resource which they depend on are used up or are no longer needed. In the 1950s, for example, 2,000 people lived and worked in Cobalt, the USA, a town that appeared near a large cobalt mine. By the 1980s the mine had closed and all the people moved away.

Several towns can be described as tourist centers. In and round them are many hotels which provide all the things people need and want mainly to holiday visitors. In Russia, for example, resort towns are a feature of the North Caucasus region, including Sochi, Pyatigorsk, and Mineralnyye Vody. Elsewhere the capitals of provinces and other administrative divisions are the main towns, having grown to considerable size as the organizing centers for their territories.


In many parts of the world the rapid growth in the size of towns has led to serious problems called urban problems.

Traffic problems. As the population has grown in size as people have become better off, the number of motor vehicles on the roads has grown enormously. In many towns this has led to severe traffic congestion. On the overcrowded roads vehicles can often travel only slowly, and sometimes traffic comes to a complete standstill. Minor accidents happen often. Traffic congestion is particularly bad during the so-called rush-hours, although in fact these periods often last for much more than an hour. The rush-hours are those times of a day when the traffic is the heaviest. There is a morning rush-hour when many adults are trying to get to work and children to school; and there is an evening rush-hour when the same people are trying to get back home. In addition to the frustration which they experience while traveling on the roads, in many large towns private motorists also often have problems of finding enough parking space when they arrive at their destinations.

In some of the largest cities of the world such as London, New York and Tokyo attempts have been made to overcome the problem of traffic congestion on the roads by building underground railways. (See Unit 20 text Some Interesting Facts about Moscow Metropolitan Railway)

In some towns a system of one-way streets, those along which all vehicles travel in one direction only, has been adopted in an attempt to enable traffic to travel more quickly and safely. This is often quite successful, although the one-way system can be confusing to people who are not familiar with it. In some towns pedestrian zones have been created. These are streets which are closed off to vehicles except for those delivering goods to shops etc., and are reserved solely for the use of pedestrians (people on foot). The aim of creating pedestrian zones is to make conditions safer for people in busy shopping areas.

In the past, main roads generally went right through the middle of towns. This greatly added to traffic congestion, especially as many of the vehicles traveling through the town were heavy lorries. This problem can be overcome by building by-pass roads. These roads go around the edge of the town. The vehicles traveling to destinations beyond the town can use these roads, and so avoidpassing through the town center. Although this may make their] journey slightly longer in distance, it often makes it much quicker.] Also, of course, it reduces the amount of traffic in the town itself.

Housing. Most people who leave rural areas for the cities come looking for jobs and a better standard of living. They come, however with little education. Some may be illiterate (unable to read and write). When they come to the city they are not qualified for : the jobs that will pay them well. They either remain unemployed, or they take the jobs that no one else wants.

As city population increases, so do demands for housing, water, electricity, sewage disposal, schooling, and medical care. Cities in industrialized countries have difficulties meeting these demands. Cities in developing nations have even greater difficulty j providing for the people who think that in the cities they will find the fulfillment of their dreams.

The flow of large numbers of people into the towns often leads to the growth of slum settlements. They are unhealthy and pro-1 vide a very unsatisfactory environment for the people. The problem of the growth of slums can only be overcome by spending more I money on developing rural areas to make them more attractive places to live, especially in terms of employment opportunities. I The governments of some countries have tried to do this by giving > special incentives (grant, subsidy) if people are willing to set up new factories in rural areas.


The term "census" (Latin censere, "to assess") is primarily referring to the official and periodical counting of the people of a country or section of a country; it also means the printed record of such a counting. In act'tte.1 usage the term is applied to the collection of information on the size and characteristics of population, as well as on the number and characteristics of dwelling units, various business enterprises, and governmental agencies.

The earliest known census enumerations were conducted for purposes of levying (demanding) taxes or for military conscription. Clay tablet fragments from ancient Babylon indicate that a census was taken there as early as 3800 BC to estimate forthcoming tax revenues. The ancient Chinese, Hebrews, Egyptians, and Greeks also are known to have conducted censuses. Not until the Romans began a count of their empire's inhabitants, however, did enumerations take place at regular intervals. The Roman censuses, designed for both taxation and military conscription, were the responsibility of local censors. In addition to registering the population and collecting taxes, the censor was also in charge of maintaining public morals.

With the dominance of the feudal system in the Middle Ages, information on taxation and personnel for military conscription became unnecessary. Not until the 17th century did a nation again attempt an accurate count of its population. Sweden has been cited as the forerunner in the collection of information on its inhabitants. Its churches were required by law to keep continuous records of births, deaths, and marriages occurring among all people residing within the parish boundaries. Such vital statistics registrations are still maintained in Scandinavia, Finland, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

The first true census in modern times, however, was taken in the colony of New France (France's North American empire), where the enumeration of individuals began in 1665. The rise of democratic governments resulted in a new feature of the census process: The 1790 census of the United States was the first to be made public after gathered information was tabulated.

During the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, the practice of census spread throughout the world. International organizations, such as the United Nations, have encouraged all countries to adopt uniform standards in taking their censuses. Decennial censuses are now taken by many countries throughout the world.


Towns are very different from each other in their layout (plan or general arrangement). However many towns have similar distinct zones. A very important part of any town is so-called Central Business District (CBD). The CBD forms the economic core, or downtown. This is the part of the town where most business actively takes place, because it offers the most desirable location for businesses.

An area of old and run-down buildings surrounds many central business districts. Usually low-rent apartments, warehouses, light manufacturing industries and small offices occupy this area. The areas on the edges of a central city were not always run-down. In the days before automobiles, areas within walking distance of the CBD were filled with the expensive homes of wealthy people. Modern transportation, however, made it possible for people to live outside the inner zone and commute to work in the CBD. Today most of the city's wealthier citizens prefer to live in the suburbs.

In many cities CBDs have expanded and decaying buildings along its edges have been torn down and replaced by new multistory blocks funded by urban renewal projects.


A visitor to a large city often feels that the entire area is under reconstruction. New buildings constantly replace old ones. Sewer lines, water lines, and gas and electric lines are continually dug up, repaired, and replaced. Streets are closed to be repaved or are turned into pedestrian malls between rows of stores. And throughout the city, traffic patterns are continually changed to ease the flow of traffic.

All of these changes, and many more, are the work of urban planners. Urban planners are problem solvers who tackle the challengesof today's modern cities. They carry out their work using many different approaches.

Urban planners may be researchers seeking specific data to complete a traffic plan. Or they may be historians checking old maps of city sites or street plans because, in spite of dramatic changes in the urban landscape, a city's past influences its present. Urban planners may be educators, trying to show both politicians and the public how their ideas will work. And perhaps above all, they may be politicians who influence their city through its government.

Students thinking about a career in urban planning must be sensitive to the environment and to history. They must enjoy analyzing complex problems and developing imaginative solutions to these problems. And they must truly enjoy working with people, because much of their contact with people is in a highly charged political situation.


People who live in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, say that you can feel thousands of years of civilization around you. Indeed, people have lived there since 4000 B.C. when the site of Baghdad was part of ancient Babylonia. But Baghdad was only a small village when in 762 a leader of the Arab Empire selected its site for his capital. More than 100,000 workers labored to construct the circle-shaped city at his command.

A troubled history. By 900 it was among the world's largest and richest cities and a renowned center of learning. But in 1258 Mongols swept out of Central Asia and virtually destroyed Baghdad. Wars, fires, and floods plagued the remnants of the city through the succeeding centuries. By the 1700s only about 15,000 people lived in the once-fabled city.

As recently as 1970 Baghdad was little more than a sprawling mass of shantytowns. Sanitation facilities were ancient and generally no operable. The city's streets were unpaved. Baghdad had only its name to recall its mighty past as the city of Sindbad, Aladdin, and Ali Baba.

Rebirth. Rich with oil money, Iraq began to rebuild Baghdad in 1979. Costs were disregarded. Some of the world's best architects were hired to make Baghdad once again the center of the Arab world. Today luxurious hotels and expensive apartment complexes dot the 1,200-year-old, walled section of the city. New underground sewer and water lines underlie the huge city of more than 4 million residents. A network of high-speed freeways cuts through the city and around it. Twelve bridges cross the Tigris as it meanders through the city. A new international airport lies to the southwest of the city. Several government buildings of unique design and five Western-style shopping centers have been constructed.

Even a new University of Baghdad, long ago the center of Arab learning, is being built. Its new campus lies along the Tigris and has 273 buildings including a great domed structure housing the university mosque.

But more is modern in Baghdad than its architecture. The city has a vibrant night-life. And, even more surprising in the conservative Middle East, the Iraqi government accords women full equality with men. In Baghdad women dress in the latest fashions; attend the universities; and work as engineers, doctors, lawyers, and architects. In fact, women make up one-fourth of Iraq's labor force. The ancient city of Baghdad now reflects Iraq's rapidly modernizing society.


Site. Mexico City serves as Mexico's capital city, but is important economically as well as politically. More than 45 percent of Mexico's industrial employees work in Mexico City and the surrounding suburbs. They produce almost one-half of thecountry's total of manufactured goods. This importance has caused rapid growth. Today more than 15 million people live in the sprawling metropolitan area. Mexico City occupies a dry lake basin surrounded on all sides by high volcanic mountains. Because of its elevation of 2,240 meters, frost sometimes occurs even though at 19° 30' N latitude the city is close to the Tropic of Cancer.

Serious problems. Because of its beauty, people often call Mexico City the "Paris of the Americas". But Mexico City also has major problems such as housing shortages, traffic congestion, and air pollution. The city cannot house all of the people who have moved there. Thousands of Mexicans from rural areas flock to Mexico City each year. They seek employment and better opportunities for their children. So just a few short blocks from the beautiful tree-lined boulevards sit squalid slums that house 46 percent of the city's population. Thousands of the poorest families live in kitchenless shacks or lean-tos and cook along the sides of the streets. Other families occupy the roofs of factories or live in shacks that barely cling to steep-sided ravines. They scavenge rubbish dumps for discarded food and things to sell.

Traffic jams and air pollution afflict the city. Rapidly increasing numbers of motor vehicles clog narrow streets that were originally laid out for a much smaller city. The exhaust fumes remain trapped over the city by surrounding mountains instead of dispersing. The air in Mexico City now has the highest carbon monoxide level of any city in the world. Public health officials are concerned about the effects this pollution will have on the health of the population.

Mexico City also faces the continuing danger of earthquakes. Powerful earthquakes in 1985 and 1986 killed thousands of city residents and destroyed large parts of the city. Nearby volcanoes, so spectacular to view from the city on a sunny day, remind residents of Mexico City's location near a tectonic plate boundary.

Despite these many problems Mexican officials continue to seek ways to improve the quality of life for the city's people. Strict building codes now make new buildings less vulnerable to earthquakes, while new social programs seek to lessen the effects of poverty.


Nearly 8.5 million people now live in Tokyo's 578 square kilometers. This gives Tokyo a population density that is nearly twice as high as the population density of New York City. Four other cities - Shanghai, Mexico City, Beijing, and Seoul - have more inhabitants than Tokyo, but none is more densely populated.

Tokyo's many aspects. Tokyo reflects great diversity. In some ways it is very modern and cosmopolitan. Tall buildings, freeways jammed with traffic, and streets aglow with neon signs resemble their counterparts in many of the world's other great cities. So, too, do the crowded baseball stadiums, golf courses, and movie theaters.

In other ways, however, Tokyo retains many Japanese traditions. Though most people wear street clothes that would not be out of place in any modern city, on almost every corner there is likely to be a man or woman dressed in traditional Japanese clothes. Intermingled with modern restaurants that serve everything from hamburgers to the finest European dishes are shops selling local delicacies. Down many twisting alleys are ancient Japanese shrines. And if it is festival time, people dressed in styles of long ago may be carrying a shrine through the streets on their shoulders to allow the deity who lives in the shrine a yearly inspection of the neighborhood it protects.

A Tokyo address. Getting around in Tokyo can be difficult. Because only a few of the most important streets have names, few street signs exist. The numbering system for buildings is very confusing because buildings are not numbered up and down the street as in many Western cities. Instead the buildings are renumbered every time a new one is built.

Fortunately the excellent Tokyo subway system helps visit-Ors untangle the confusing layout. Seven subway lines crisscrossthe city, carrying more than 3 million passengers a day. All subway stations have names and instructions in both Japanese and English. Each station also features an up-to-date map that shows the streets and the building numbers of the surrounding neighborhood.

Hub of the nation. Although much of Tokyo was leveled during a violent earthquake in 1923 and again in the bombing raids of World War II, the city has been rebuilt. Today, with earthquake-resistant skyscrapers, Tokyo remains the center of Japanese government, business, and industry. One of every four Japanese corporations has its headquarters in Tokyo and one of every six factories is located in the city or in a nearby community. Tokyo has become the focus of a vibrant nation and one of the world's great cities.


New York is the largest urban settlement in the USA. The city proper has over 7 million inhabitants, and with the greater Metropolitan area it has more than 18 million. New York was founded by the D utch in 1626 when it was known as New Amsterdam. It was captured by the English in 1664 and renamed New York.

New York owes its origin and early development to its excellent harbour, and to its ease of access with the interior of the North American continent. New York has a superb natural harbour at the mouth of the Hudson river. The harbour is free from ice in winter, it has deep water which enables it to handle very large ships and has a very small tidal range enabling ships to arrive and depart at all times. New York today is the busiest port in the world.

The heart of New York City is Manhattan Island. This small part of the city is the USA's financial, commercial, cultural, entertainment and fashion centre. Financial activities are centered on Wall Street, which is the home of the New York Stock Exchange. The area around the street known as Broadway is world-famous for its cinemas and theaters. Manhattan Island is also important for manufacturing industry.

New York is racially and culturally very mixed. Important ethnic groups include Germans, Russians, Italians, Jews and many others. There are also large numbers of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The Harlem area of Manhattan is home to large numbers of black Americans, descendants of people who moved there from the southern states of the USA.

Like most of the world's major cities New York faces a number of serious problems. These include traffic congestion, home-lessness and crime. On a typical working day some 4 million people are estimated to enter Manhattan. A high proportion of these travel by underground railway, known in the USA as the subway. Those who make the journey by car find that traffic moves very slowly, in spite of the authorities having built many kilometers of extra-wide roads known as expressways and freeways.

Pollution is another serious problem in New York. This includes atmospheric pollution, water pollution, and also noise pollution from motor vehicles. Atmospheric pollution is caused both by heavy industry and by motor vehicles. The pollution of waterways is also serious. This results from the dumping of waste from factories, and raw domestic sewage. These not only make waterways unsightly and smelly, but have also been responsible for killing off a lot of aquatic wild life.

Although people usually think of the USA as being a very rich country, it should be noted that in certain sections of society poverty is still a problem. For example, in New York City a high proportion of the black and Puerto Rican population occupy old and decaying housing. As in other parts of the world, poverty often leads to crime. A particularly common crime in certain parts of New York is robbing people on the street.

Уроки английского. География мира.
Комарова А.И. Окс И.Ю. Бадмаева Ю.Б.

Поиск по сайту:

Copyright © 2004-2024 by omen. Все права защищены. http://omen.perm.ru/