The Tower of London was built by William the conqueror in 1078 and has served many purposes such as prison, vault, palace and private zoo. It is now famous for holding the crown jewels which are guarded by the world-famous Beefeaters and the Ravens that roam the grounds. Head along to see the gory exhibits portraying the many executions that have taken place here (most famously, some of the wives of Henry VIII!) or enjoy beautiful grounds with spectacular views of the Thames & Tower Bridge.
The Tower of London, often simply referred to as the Tower, is a historic fortress and iconic landmark located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It is one of the city’s most famous and enduring symbols, with a rich history dating back nearly a thousand years.
Here are some key facts and information about the Tower of London:
1. Historic Significance: The Tower of London has played many roles throughout its history, including as a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution, an armory, a treasury, and a menagerie for exotic animals.
2. William the Conqueror: The Tower was founded by William the Conqueror in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. He ordered its construction as a symbol of his power and as a means of asserting control over London.
3. White Tower: The central and most recognizable part of the Tower is the White Tower, a massive stone keep that gave the entire complex its name. It served as both a royal residence and a military stronghold.
4. Crown Jewels: The Tower of London houses the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, including the Imperial State Crown, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross, and the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond. These treasures are on display for visitors.
5. Ravens: The Tower is home to a group of captive ravens, and according to legend, the monarchy will fall if the ravens ever leave. As a result, the birds are carefully cared for and remain a beloved part of the Tower’s tradition.
6. Notable Prisoners: Throughout its history, the Tower of London has been used as a prison for various high-profile prisoners, including Anne Boleyn (the second wife of King Henry VIII), Lady Jane Grey, and Sir Walter Raleigh.
7. Execution Site: The Tower’s history is also marked by executions, with several famous figures put to death on its grounds, including Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Lady Jane Grey. The scaffold site is known as the “Tower Green.”
8. UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Tower of London has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its historical and architectural significance.
9. Tourist Attraction: Today, the Tower of London is a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from around the world. Visitors can explore its historic buildings, view the Crown Jewels, and learn about its intriguing and sometimes dark history.
10. Beefeaters: The Yeomen Warders, commonly known as Beefeaters, are the ceremonial guardians of the Tower of London. They offer guided tours and provide insights into the history and stories of the Tower.
The Tower of London stands as a testament to England’s rich history and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in British history, architecture, and culture. Its role in shaping the nation’s history and its enduring mystique continue to captivate visitors to this day.