The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles. It consists of 4 parts: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England, Wales and Scotland occupy the territory of Great Britain. Northern Ireland is situated in the northern part of Ireland. The population is over 57 million people. The northern and western part of the country is mountainous and is called the Highlands. All the rest: south, east and center are a vast plain, which is called the Lowlands. The mountains are not very high. The rivers are not very long. The most important of them are the Severn and the Thames. There are many beautiful lakes in Great Britain. Great Britain is a country with old cultural traditions and customs. The most famous educational centers are Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The United Kingdom is a monarchy and the Queen is the head of the state. But in practice it is ruled by the government with a Parliament at the head.