Hallás utáni értés (B2) – What you didn’t know about the London Eye

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What you didn’t know about the London Eye

The London Eye may be one of the city’s most popular attractions, but there are many facts travellers don’t know about it. At 443 feet high, the London Eye is currently the fourth-largest Ferris wheel in the world, but it doesn’t even belong to the top 20 tallest structures in London itself. The tallest building in the city is the Shard, topping out at 1,004 feet high. The circumference of the wheel is 1,392 feet, so if it weren’t a wheel, it would actually be taller than the Shard.

A ride on the London Eye takes 30 minutes, and it travels at a speed of about 0.6 miles per hour.

Husband-and-wife team David Marks and Julia Barfield came up with the idea for the Eye in response to a 1993 competition asking Londoners to design a new landmark celebrating the millennium. The wheel opened on March 9, 2000. It was behind schedule, so technically didn’t open on the millennium.

With more than 3.5 million people checking out the Eye every year, it’s now the most popular paid tourist attraction in the U.K. The most popular free attraction is the British Museum, which sees more than 6 million visitors each year.

The operators of the Eye keep track of the celebs who’ve taken the most rides on the attraction: In the U.K., Kate Moss is the winner, with 25 spins. The American celebrity who holds that distinction is Jessica Alba, who’s gone on the Eye 31 times. The Eye has 32 capsules, one for each of the city’s 32 boroughs, but they’re numbered from one to 33. Why? As with many buildings and other structures, there is no No. 13 capsule – whether the superstition about that number is warranted or not, the cars skip from 12 to 14.

The entire wheel weighs more than 1,000 tons, or well over 1 million pounds. It was assembled flat on ground and moved onto eight temporary islands on the River Thames; the structure was raised into place in September 1999.

More than 5,000 people have gotten engaged on the Eye since it opened. If you want to do the same in a private capsule, it’ll cost you £360 but champagne is included. More than 500 weddings have also happened there, with the first one taking place in 2001.

In 2004, a man dressed as Spiderman climbed the attraction and spent 18 hours on top of a pod, allegedly to call attention to fathers’ rights in the U.K. Since the Eye opened in 2000, many cities – including Las Vegas, Seattle, and Atlanta – have opened observation wheels whose designs were directly inspired by the attraction. An exact replica of the wheel can be found about 30 miles outside of London – in miniature form, anyway, in Windsor. On a clear day from the top of the London Eye, you can (almost) see forever – or, at least, as far as Windsor Castle.

Decide whether the statements are true or false. 


There are more than 20 structures in London that are taller than the London Eye.



The London Eye is taller than the Shard.



One ride on it takes half an hour.



A couple designed it.



It was opened later than originally it should have.



It’s the most popular tourist attraction in the U.K.



Kate Moss is the celebrity who has travelled on it the most times.



The London Eye has the same number of capsules as the number of London’s boroughs (districts).



There is no capsule with number 13 because it’s considered to be an unlucky number.



It was assembled on the River Thames.



Thousands of weddings have happened on the Eye already.



A man in a Spiderman costume climbed up on the Eye on one occasion.



Exact replicas of the London Eye can be found in other cities.



14. You can see 30 miles from the top of the Eye.


Key: 1. True 2. False 3. True 4. True 5. True 6. False 7. False 8. True 9. True 10. False 11. True 12. True 13. False 14. True

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