Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is a historic castle which is located on the northern bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and is separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by Tower Hill. It was founded in 1066 as  part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name,  was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror and  became a symbol of oppression inflicted upon England by the new ruling elite.
The tower as a whole consists of several buildings which are located in two concentric rings of defensive walls and moat. From 1100 to 1952 the Tower was used as a prison although that was not its primary purpose, in fact it has  served many purposes throughout the centuries. The tower was more commonly used as a royal residence until the 17th century. It was used as an armory, treasury menagerie, it was the home of the Royal Mint and it is also the home of the Crown Jewels of England (141 ceremonial objects worn by  kings and queens at their coronations and during national ceremonies). The real reason why they are so important is that their value is estimated at 2 billion pounds.
The person who controlled the Tower also controlled the whole country and in this case that was the monarch. However, if the monarch was not in the residence the control was taken over by the Constable of the Tower, which was the highest and most trusted position that someone could achieve in the medieval period if we don't count the monarch himself. At the end of the 15th and during the 16th and 17th centuries the Tower was more commonly used as a prison. Many figures who had fallen into disgrace were kept behind its walls. One of them was also Elizabeth I before she became queen. Although the Tower was a place of death and torture, only 7 people were executed before the World Wars.The executions were not held within the Tower but they were held on the notorious Tower Hill on the north side of the castle. During the World Wars 22 people were executed on that hill. After the Second World War the Tower was repaired and reopened to the public and nowadays it's one of the most popular tourist attractions.
Here are some interesting facts about the Tower:
1) There is a famous legend that says "If the ravens leave the Tower the Kingdom will fall". There are at least 6 ravens that are taken care of at all costs because the legend says that if they fly away a great disaster shall befall England.
2) Back in the 1200's the Tower was also used as a zoo. It had many animal species but one of the Tower's most famous inhabitants was a polar bear.
3) A few years ago the key to the Tower's gates was stolen and although the lock was replaced it is really interesting to know that someone somewhere still has the original key.
4) Several ghosts are said to haunt the Tower, including those of William the Conqueror, Elizabeth I, Henry VI, and the polar bear itself!

                                                                                              Luka Savić (3.1)
(teacher: Tanja Perkić Dizdarević)

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