Tower of London
The age old fortress stands as a monument of English and European history. Through monarchs, bloody battles, from prisoners to executions and a touch from all London’s prominent events in history, the Tower Of London is renowned for more than just its magnificent appearance.
The tower was founded by William, Duke of Normandy when he conquered England in 1066. He began building the stronghold as a declaration of his power to the English people who were resentful of his reign. William invaded England and defeated King Harold and his armies at the Battle of Hastings. When he began building, the white tower was constructed, which was the first step of many more additions to make the castle we see today. Because it was built around war time, the tower was designed with the principle of defense. Roman walls, guard towers and gates were put up around the tower. Later other monarchs would also add more defensive walls, a moat, more towers and reinforce the military tower guards, Yeomen warders or more commonly called Beefeaters. Many of the monarchs continually improved on the white tower, in attempts to make it more and more secure. From its beginning the white tower has been the most formidable part of the royal castle.
Royal monarchs did not start living on the grounds until several hundred years after its construction. In 1220 Henry III began to largely expand on the royal palace and increased the castle defenses. When the tower did become a common place for monarchs, it also became a new stage for climatic events in England. The palace became a place for royal ceremonies and drama. The casual attributes of the tower like the armory, treasury, temple, the castles green and even an added Jewel house were all made more magnificent. Over time the Tower became less of a defensive fortress and more of a royal palace and public gathering place. The moat and many military defenses were disbanded. Grass over grew the moat and more attractions were added such as the royal menagerie and baiting of the animals. The king and other nobles would set animals to fight against each other as a sort of gambling sport. Once this became viewed as too uncivilized and brutal, the menagerie was used as a zoo instead. Later even the zoo was closed after several animals escaped and attacked each other. In the winter a large Ice rink is opened to the public at the west wall of the grounds. The Ice rink is frozen over a large field to make a spectacular attraction to the royal castle. Today the tower is mostly used as museum and display showcase for the British War Department. The Royal Regalia is on display in the Jewel House. This magnificent spectacle consists of the Imperial Crown, which was fashioned for the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838. The largest piece of diamond cut from the Cullinan crystal was made into the Star of Africa, a 530 carat diamond that was placed on the royal crown.
Although the tower is a great tourist site, it has a rich...