Tower of London, UK - The Traveller


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Tower of London, UK

Tower of London, UK
The Tower of London – World Famous Fortress

The Tower of London is one of the world’s most famous fortresses, a historical castle which is located towards the north bank of the Thames River in central London and lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets which is separated from the eastern side of the square mile of the City of London through the open space called Tower Hill.

 It has served the purpose as royal palace, armoury, prison as well as a zoo where the ancient stoneshold secrets as fortified vaults that shine with priceless jewels together with historic uniformed Beefeaters that guarded the grounds. It was founded at the end of 1066 as a part of the Norman Conquest of England and the White Tower which gives the castle its name was erected by William the Conqueror in the year 1708.

 It was considered as a resented symbol of oppression which was inflicted on London by the new ruling elite. From 1100, the castle was used as a prison till 1952, but it was not the main purpose. Early in its history, it served as a grand palace of royal residence and overall, the tower is a complex of many building set within two concentric rings of defensive walls as well as a moat with several phases of expansion under the guidance of Kings Richard, the Lionhearted, Henry II and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The White Tower – Keep/Donjon

The White Tower, a keep, was also known as a donjon and in medieval castle was the strongest structure containing lodgings which were appropriate for the lord. According to Allen Brown, a military historian he states that `the great tower – the White Tower’, was also by virtue of its strength, lordly accommodation and majesty, the donjon was par excellence and being one of the largest keeps in the Christian world, is described as `the most complete eleventh century palace in Europe’.

The Tower of London is considered as one of the most popular attraction for tourist and has been a tourist attraction since the Elizabethan period when it became one of the sights of London and foreign visitors related about it.

Painting of  Tower of London
Royal Menagerie and displays of armour were the most popular attractions while the Crown Jewels also drew much interest which has been on public display since 1669. The Tower gained popularity gradually among the tourist through the 19th century in spite of opposition from the Duke of Wellington to visitors with the number of visitors reaching very high by 1851, which give rise to the erection of a purpose built ticket office. Towards the end of the century, there were over 500,000 tourists visiting the castle every year.

Location very Convenient 

Between the 18th and the 19th centuries, this magnificent building was slowly utilised and demolished and only the Wakefield and St Thomas Towers survived. The tower’s location at London is very convenient and the site is a five minute walk from the underground station of Tower Hill where trains and Dockland light railway also stop near the tower.

Bustransports are available to reach the tower together with riverboats which stop at the Tower Pier. Besides these, taxis, bicycles and foot power are also good means of reaching the tower. Driving is not much fun due to the location in the Congestion Charging Zone with limited parking facilities. It is open all year round with the exception of Christmas holiday and New Year.

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