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One of the World’s Most Famous Prisons: Tower Of London

Have you visited the Tower Of London? It is probably one of the the most famous prisons besides Sing Sing Prison in New York. It has been in existence for well over 800 years. It is twenty towers high and is filled with a mixture of ancient history, culture and jewels.

 

The initial structure was a fort used by William the Conqueror. It was completed in 1000 AD. It stands over a hundred feet high with walls as thick as sixteen feet thick. It was obviously built to be very sturdy and to withstand all weather conditions and it remains a fortress. Once completed, it was the tallest building in London. A king had it painted white in the 12th century and thereby named, White Tower.

It then became and is still a prison. It also houses a crown jewel collection Many former kings housed their collections here.

It has also been used throughout the years as a storage facility for records, the Royal Mint, the beginning of the Zoo, and an observatory. The observatory was built in the 1600’s.

Since the 1400’s the Tower has been guarded by wardens known as Beefeaters. They have bright red costumes on. Military personnel now provide this function.

The distinct spiral staircase runs through the Towers. There is also a national museum of arms, which is London’s oldest museum. The museum contains over 30,000 pieces of armor.

At one time there was a moat that was drained in the 1800’s. Other buildings have been added through the years to make it a complete complex housing a Middle Tower, Byward Tower, Garden Tower and a gate.

It is a study in history as there were at one time, famous tenants housed there such as Henry the VIII’s second wife, Little Princess and other victims of former Kings. There are torture devices on display and other items to view and other items to confirm that it was indeed used, such as particles of blood on stones.

Under King Henry’s orders, his wife Anne Boleyn was executed in the Tower. She had been accused of inappropriate acts. However, she was executed because she had a daughter and not a son. Her daughter became the future Queen Of England. There are rumors of Anne’s Boleyn’s ghost lingering, so if you go there, be careful!

The Crown Jewels is definitely worth seeing. There is an actual Jewel House that contains stunning necklaces, earrings, rings and other beautiful jewelry.

Former Queens have their jewelry stored here such as Queen Victoria and others. There is also the Star of Africa which is a large diamond which contains over 2,000 carats. This gem was found in an African mine in the 20th century.

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