Oxford

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Conservative, bookish and privileged… This is probably the best description of Oxford - the first oldest university city and a home to the legendary Oxford University. Together with Cambridge - the second oldest university city - Oxford forms the English academic elite. They are very often referred to as Oxbridge. They have a long history of rivalry with each other. In the year 2011, however, Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed Oxford University 4th in the world after Caltech, Stanford and Harvard and the 1st in Europe. It is one of the most prestigious higher education institutions around the world.

The University is a federation: it consists of 38 colleges, halls and a central administration. The administration is headed by the Vice-Chancellor. The formal head of the University is the Chancellor. He is elected by the members of Convocation. The academic year is divided into three terms. Until the 1960s, the academic dress was worn by the students on the regular basis. Nowadays it is still commonly seen at Oxford but on disciplinary hearings, examinations and certain formal dinners and meetings. In 2006, the University’s income was estimated at £ 608 million.

Among the most notable alumni of the Oxford University are 26 British Prime Ministers including David Cameron, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, about 30 other international leaders; such writers as T. Elliot, J.R.R. Tolkien, Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll. Tim Berners Lee – the co-inventor of the World Wide Web graduated from the Oxford University. So did Albert Einstein and such famous actors as Kate Beckinsale and Hugh Grant.

Oxford itself is located in the central southern England 80 km north-west of London. It is known for its diverse economic base. Besides publishing, education and information technology its industries include science-based businesses and motor manufacturing. 

Buildings in Oxford represent every period in English architecture since Saxon times. Fascinating architecture and a vibrant modern life make Oxford a great destination for tourists and students from all over the world. It boasts of a lot of interesting attractions. A lot of them belong to the university. Among the Oxford’s main landmarks are Sheldonian Theatre, Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University Press, Martyrs' Memorial, Hertford Bridge, Church of St Mary Magdalen, Carfax Tower, Botanic Gardens, and Bodleian Library – the oldest library in Europe. Bodleian library is considered to be a real masterpiece of English Gothic architecture. It is the main research library of the University of Oxford.

One of the most discussed places in Oxford is the Christ Church College and surprisingly not because it was the college where thirteen British Prime Ministers studied but because it’s the place that was used for filming several “Harry Potter” movies. It represented the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.