"Tower of London"

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The Tower of London
the Tower of London is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thamesin central London, England.
Tower of London3 RyzhyyI.M.22.04.12e.jpg
It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.Construction of the Tower of London was initiated in 1070 by William the Conqueror, shortly after his victory at Hastings in 1066. The Tower was built to enforce the power of the king over the newly conquered region.The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries.
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
The fortress, strategically located at the Thames, was originally not more than a temporary wooden building which was replaced later by the White Tower. Over time the complex was expanded into a stronghold with about 20 towers.
The White Tower
The White Tower
The oldest part of the fortress is the so-called White Tower, which was completed in 1097. This keep was long the tallest building in London at 27.4 meters (90ft). Its walls are 4.6 meter wide.
The tower was whitewashed during the reign of Henry III, which gave the tower's facade its white appearance. Ever since the tower has been known as White Tower. The building has four domed turrets at each corner. Three of them have a square shape, the other is round, due to its spiral staircase. The round turret was long used as an observatory.
Other Towers
Byward Tower
The Tower of London was significantly expanded in the 13th century, during the reign of Henry III, when two defensive walls were built around the White Tower. The inner wall had thirteen towers and the outer wall another six. The towers were mostly used to imprison political opponents.
Some of the most famous prisoners locked in the Tower were two princes, the sons of king Edward IV. After Edward's dead in 1483 the children were locked in the Bloody Tower by their uncle, who would later ascend the throne as king Richard III. The princes were never seen again and were probably killed by guards.
The St. Thomas Tower is located close to the Bloody Tower. Here, prisoners were brought into the fortress by boat through the Traitor's gate.
Important prisoners were often locked in the Beauchamp Tower, sometimes with their servants. An inscription on the wall of the tower is believed to refer to Lady Jane Grey, who, nine days after she was crowned Queen, was executed on Tower Green, an open terrain in the Tower of London.
Thomas More was imprisoned in the Bell Tower until his execution after he refused to accept king Henry VIII as head of the Anglican church. Even Queen Elisabeth I was confined here for some time.
The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century.
The Tower of London nowadays
The Imperial State Crown
Today the Tower of London is best known for its Crown Jewels. The most famous tourist attraction in the Tower of London is the collection of Crown Jewels that has been on display here since the 17th century, during the reign of Charles II. Most of the jewels were created around the year 1660, when the monarchy was reinstalled. The majority of the older crown jewels were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell.The jewels can be found in the Jewel House, which is part of the Waterloo Barracks just north of the White Tower. Some of the highlights of the collection are the 530 carat First Star of Africa, which is set in the Imperial State Crown Scepter of the Cross; the Imperial State Crown with more than 2800 diamonds and the famous Koh-I-Noor, a 105 carat diamond. There's plenty more to see in the Tower of London, such as the Royal Armories, which includes the personal armory of King Henry VIII, one of the world's largest. The medieval palace in the Tower of London is also open to visitors and there are often reenactments of historic events in the fortress.
The Tower of London's outer curtain wall, with the curtain wall of the inner ward just visible behind. In the centre is Legge's Mount.Tower of London2 RyzhyyI.M.22.04.12

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