Time for another world heritage site: Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress that we saw in London in October last year. You don’t know it? It’s more commonly known as the Tower of London. It is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 . The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. 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 general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site. 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.
In October last year Jany and I took our mothers to London. We wanted to listen to Carmina Byrana at Royal Albert Hall, see a few World Heritage Sites and just get away for a while. The idea to take our moms along seemed like a good one at first, but wait they actually never met before, so this could end anyhow. My mom is by the way talkative, she always has an opinion and always wants to convience anyone that she is right. Jany’s mom is calm, doesn’t talk too much and is more quiet. And now the four of us ended up in London.It was pretty OK after all, even if I was nervous and my mom tried to talk everyone down.
On the third day in the afternoon we decided to go to Tower of London. It was Halloween weekend, so we were passred by ghosts, vampires and werewolves, but when we got to the tower there were atually mostly normal people here.
We walked around the castle fascinated by its size. We listened to one of the guides at first, but then we decided to go on our own and read, look and listen to guides when we passed them, or they passed us. Maybe not as good, but we were quite late and we tried to be effective. It was still too much information for one visit, so I guess that I have to get back here.
As I wrote before the place is really old. It was cadtle, it was prison, it was treasury. It’s fascinating to see all the different time prints from different eras, different purposes and different kings. Like walking inside a history book. The oldests parts were more simple, the newer more fancy, but all the parts fit together really well and they still look like one whole piece.
We walked in the different towers, all the different parts and you could almost feel the ghosts, the soul of the place, the glorious history and the less bright. The power struggle was pretty obvious as well. Not always criminals were thrown into the prison. Sometimes brothers get rid of each other in order to take, or protect their power, their crown and their money. And sometimes the luck turned.
The old kings had they pets from around the world. They had imported lions, elephants and evebn a polar bear that used to swim in a special pool in the castle. How did they got it there ? Poor animal, there was probably not enough snow there, it must have benn too hot, but imagine that impression of power. I gueass the guests were amazed.
There were also cravens in the Tower. The legend says that as long they are there the kingdom and the crown will live in prosperity and wealth. When they go the disaster will struck and the power will shift. It’s importrant to keep the cravens there. Well, they solved it by cutting the birds wings, so they can’t fly away. It’s cheating in my eyes.
The guides were dressed up in old clothes (I guess) and played often roles, pretending to be from back then. It was quite interesting and yet another story. I think it’s good for the imagination and makes the tour a little more special and theatrical.And it was fun for the kids and tourists to photograph the guides and themeselves with the guides.
We went also into the treasury to look at the royal jewels. No photography inside there, so I only have great memories. Inside the treasury there was automatic band, that we stood on aand rolled by the treasures. The jewwels, crowns, spears were beautiful. Gold, diamonds and other presious stones. Just beautiul, really worth seeing. I think that both mothers were really impressed. We were as well.
The Tower of London became world heritage in 1988. Link to the site: Tower of London.
My grade is three gloves. There is almost everything here: history, blood, treasure and beauty, maybe too much people.