This week I am visiting my daughter and her family in Idaho. Helping her recover from surgery. I’m enjoying taking care of her and fixing her favorite meals and helping her with five of my grandchildren. I’m not sure how I’m going to get back into driving the night shift, my schedule is completely turned around from going to London, where the time difference is 7 hours earlier. Then coming to her home to get up at 6 a.m. to get kids off to school. I am totally ready for bed by when it’s the kids bed time. I really don’t know how you Mom’s do it. I’ve been to tired to turn on the computer. But I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else this week.
One of my favorite places to visit in London is the Tower of London. It’s such a fascinating place I thought it deserved a whole post.
For nearly 1000 years the Tower of London has stood in its place on the River Thames, serving over the centuries as a royal palace, prison, place of execution, armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, home of the Crown Jewels, and the symbol of the monarchy in England.
Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, is more commonly known as the Tower of London. It is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. The Tower was first founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror. It takes its name from the White Tower which was built in 1078 .
The Tower of London is actually a complex of many towers and structures. The White Tower, is a medieval keep, it’s the original structure with surrounding buildings. Added to over the years, such as the Chapel Royal of St. Peter and the infamous Bloody Tower. The White Tower is 27 meters above ground and is made of Caen stone imported from France.
Richard the Lionheart added to the castle in the 12th century and Edward I added the outer ward in the 13th century. The layout of the Tower of London has remained pretty much unchanged since.
The Tower has housed the crown jewels for many centuries. The estimated value of the crown jewels is said to be over $32 billion, with the Star Of Africa alone estimated at $400 million. But their actual value is priceless.
When Charles II was advised that if the Ravens were removed, The Tower would crumble and a great harm would befall the nation. Ever since, Ravens, at least 6, have been kept at the Tower. Legend says that if anything happens to the Ravens the kingdom will fall. The birds are cared for by the Yeoman Warders.
Every evening, at precisely 9:53 pm, the ceremony of the keys takes place to lock the Tower Of London. An armed escort of the Queen’s Guards set off with the Chief Yeoman Warder to lock all the gates. At one point, one sentry at a post issues a challenge to the escort by saying, “HALT!, Who comes there?” to which the Chief Warder replies, “The Keys”, the sentry then says “whose keys?” The escort then responds “Queen Elizabeth’s Keys”, the sentry then allows the escort to pass by saying “Pass Queen Elizabeth’s Keys, and all is well”. This has happened every day for hundreds of years without fail. It is the oldest military ceremony in the world!
The Tower of London used to house the Royal Menagerie. Over the years the Tower has been home to a polar bear (who used to go fishing in the River Thames), an elephant, lions and leopards.
The Tower is one of the world’s few surviving intact medieval buildings and is a World Heritage site, partly because of its many buildings dating from the 11th to the 16th centuries and partly because of its important role in British history. It is a must see when visiting London and it’s one of the attractions included in the London Pass.
Tower Bridge was built in 1886 to 1894. It is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London which crosses the River Thames. It’s close to the Tower of London, where it gets its name and has become an iconic symbol of London.
Next Wednesday we will be visiting more of London for Around the World Trivia. Be sure and stop back.
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