First thing we did when we went to London was finding the Tower of London. The Tower of London is a big building by the river the Thames. Along the centuries the Tower of London has been a fort, a royal palace, a prison and a museum. Near the Tower of London you can find the famous Tower Bridge.
A Quick History Lesson
They started building the Tower in 1078, it was an order from King Willem I. They made a square fort that had to be able to protect them against the Normandic conquerors. Earlier forts had been made mostly out of wood, but he wanted to make this one out of stone. The White Tower is — like the name says — made out of white, chalk-like stone. King Richard Lionheart made his people dig out the moat around the fort, and it was filled from water from the Thames. Later they build extra protection walls around it, and that’s how a complex building got created. The original fort is actually, now placed in the middle of a bigger castle.
The last time the Tower served as a palace was in 1566 till 1625. It got ‘famous’ when it was used as a prison, especially prisoners that were from the high society. Queen Elizabeth I has been held captive there for a while, during the regime of her sister Maria Tudor. More prisoners has been Anne Boleyn, Catharina Howard, Jane Parker (Lady Rochford), William Lord Hastings and more.
The Tower was also used as an execution place for high-society people. Criminals from the lower classes were hanged in public execution places. Royal people (especially women), were beheaded on Tower Green (inside the fort).
They also kept exotic animals inside the Tower that were often given as a gift. It started with 3 Leopards that were given to Hendrik III from England as a wedding gift. They also kept Zebras, tigers, Lions, monkeys, bears and more.
To keep an old legend alive, they are keeping Ravens inside the fort. The legend goes that as long as the raven stays in the Tower, England will be save from attacks from outside. Charles II from England was warned that his Kingdom would fall as the raven would leave the Tower. Even to this day, Ravens are kept inside the fort. Right now there are seven of them.