Attractions around Tower of London, The United Kingdom

The Tower of London is not only the most important building in Britain, it's the most visited of the city's many tourist attractions. This remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site served as a stronghold (many times besieged, never taken) as well as a royal palace, a prison and place of execution, a royal mint and treasure vault, an observatory and, for five centuries, a private zoo.

Built by William the Conqueror to protect London and to keep an eye on the city's citizens, as well as boat traffic on the River Thames, the original Tower - the White Tower - was built about 1078. Covering some 18 acres, the Tower complex today consists of the Outer Ward surrounded by a wall with six towers and two bastions, and the Inner Ward with its 13 towers.

The Tower was long a place of confinement, among its many prisoners King David II of Scotland, Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth I), Sir Walter Raleigh and William Penn. Many famous people were also executed or murdered within its walls, including Henry VI, as well as two of Henry VIII's wives. The last executions carried out in the Tower took place during WWII when a number of spies were shot here

1 The White Tower and the Line of Kings
2 The Jewel House: Home of the Crown Jewels
3 Coins and Kings: The Royal Mint
4 The Medieval Palace
5 The Bloody Tower
6 Terror on Tower Green
7 The Beefeaters and the Ceremony of the Keys


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