222. Niagara Falls (Listen and Read)
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222. Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls is one of the world's leading tourist attractions.
Millions of people around the world visit here each year.
Summers at the Falls are especially busy, with traffic jams and parking problems.
However, the Falls are beautiful in winter too.
Many have asked why people travel so far to see water falling over a cliff.
The size and beauty of Niagara Falls help to make it special.
While many falls are higher than Niagara, very few are as wide or have such a volume of water.
It also helps that Niagara is relatively easy to travel to.
When the first Europeans came to Niagara, the Falls were surrounded by forest.
The noise of the Falls could be heard miles away, before they were actually seen.
The first visitors were filled with horror at the sight.
Later, fear ceased to be the main emotion inspired by the Falls.
Later, visitors were impressed by the beauty and grandeur of the Falls, which overwhelmed them with wonder.
By the 1830s, people were able to come to the Falls by railway.
As more and more people came, the tourist industry developed.
Early tourism was not well regulated, and there were many complaints about cheats and swindles.
Today, there are similar complaints about tourist junk and high prices.
The majority of tourists stay on the Canadian side.
There are two falls, separated by an island.
Since the Niagara River forms the boundary here between Canada and the United States,
each country has one of the falls.
The Canadian Horseshoe Falls is wider and more impressive than the American Rainbow Falls.
About nine times more water goes over the Canadian Falls.
Nonetheless, there is much to be seen on the American side.
The island in the middle, Goat Island, is one of the best places to view the falls and rapids.
It is on the American side.
Newly married couples began coming to Niagara Falls when it was still a secluded, peaceful and romantic spot.
It is still popular with newly-weds as a relatively inexpensive and convenient place to spend their honeymoon.
Besides being beautiful, Niagara Falls is also very useful.
Their falling water is the power behind several of the largest hydroelectric stations in the world.
Much of the electric power used in this part of North America comes from Niagara Falls.
In order to harness this power,
half of the flow of water is channeled away from the falls during the night,
and during the non-tourist season.
Probably most visitors don't notice the difference.
Niagara has attracted many kinds of people over the years.
Businessmen have come to profit from the tourists.
Daredevils have come to make a name for themselves.
Some have gone over the falls in a barrel,
while others have walked above the falls on a tightrope.
Poets and artists have visited here to capture its beauty.
Lovers have come to gaze on its romantic scenery.
All of these, and many others, have helped to make Niagara Falls world famous.