The Tower of London is one of the most important attractions not only in London, but throughout the UK. For many centuries, it represented the Royal power, and now it is the place where the treasures of the English Crown are stored.
The official name is "Her Majesty`s Royal Palace and Fortress". The central White Tower was founded in 1066 and has survived unchanged. For several centuries, powerful fortified walls and towers were created around it.
The Tower was founded by William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, who invaded England and defeated king Godwin`s Anglo-Saxon forces at the battle of Hastings in 1066. After that, he needed to strengthen his power over the captured country. The symbol of his power was the White Tower, which combined the functions of a Royal castle and a Norman defensive Donjon.
At first, there were no defensive fortifications around it, but the Tower itself could withstand any siege, since the thickness of its walls reached 4 meters. Powerful walls and towers around the Tower began to be built under king Richard I the Lionheart and Henry III.
Since the 13th century, the Royal court has moved to the more spacious Palace of Westminster, however, the kings continued to strengthen and expand the Tower to be able to hide in case of danger. As the Duke of Edinburgh wrote: "In its history, the Tower of London has been a fortress, a Palace, a repository of Royal jewels, an Arsenal, a mint, a prison, an Observatory, a zoo, a place for attraction of tourists."
There are several museums in the Tower of London. The tour to the Tower of London is a must – visit destination. Since the time of king Henry III, the Tower has held the treasures of English monarchs. In the 13th century, a House of Jewels was built here, but in 1649, by order of Oliver Cromwell, all the Royal regalia were melted down.
When the English monarchy was restored, it turned out that only a 13th-century spoon and 3 swords remained in the Tower. Over time, all the Royal regalia that can now be seen in the Treasury in the Tower were restored.
Of particular interest in the Royal Armory is a Line of Kings - an exhibition of 10 equestrian statues in knight`s armor. In general, the collection of weapons and armor here is huge. The Royal Menagerie exhibition is located near the Brick tower. Be sure to take a photo with a Beefeater (the ceremonial guard of the Tower), dressed in Tudor clothing.
Every evening, tourists gather in the Tower to watch the Ceremony of the Keys of the Tower. The chief Beefeater hands over the keys of the Tower to the Chief of London Guard at 21.53 sharp. This ceremony has been performed every day since 1340.