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10 Interesting Facts About Tower of London

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The Tower of London is a historical castle, one of the capital’s most known buildings that served multiple functions in British history. Apart from being a Royal Palace, the tower was a fortress, prison, Royal Mint, Royal Zoo, and a jewel house. Currently, the Tower of London is one of England’s most popular tourist attractions. Discover here the top 10 facts you need to know about the Tower of London.

10 interesting facts about the Tower of London

1. The Tower of London was built by hand using Kentish ragstones

The Tower of London, constructed in the 11th century, stands as a testament to manual craftsmanship, built with enduring Kentish ragstones quarried in England.

2. The Tower of London functioned as a prison

Initially not intended as a prison, the Tower of London housed individuals accused of treason or religious infractions. Notable for incarcerating influential figures, the tower had both regal comforts and harsh conditions for commoners. It witnessed 22 executions, the last in 1941.

3. The Tower of London served as a Zoo

For over 600 years, the Tower of London housed London's first zoo, boasting exotic animals given as royal gifts, later moved to the London Zoo in 1835 by the Duke of Wellington.

4. Most of England’s coins were made at the Tower of London

The Tower of London's mint produced England's coins for five centuries. Initially handcrafted, the mint introduced modern coin-making techniques and eventually relocated to a purpose-built facility in the 1800s.

5. The Crown Jewels are preserved at the Tower of London

Housing the Crown Jewels for over 800 years, the Tower of London safeguards 140 ceremonial objects worn by British monarchs during coronations, attracting over 30 million visitors.

6. The Ceremony of the Keys is the oldest surviving military ritual held at the Tower of London

The Ceremony of the Keys, the oldest surviving military ritual, involves nightly gate locking at the Tower for over 700 years, with only the monarch's name changing during the ceremony.

7. The White Tower is the oldest and most famous part of the building

The White Tower, built by William the Conqueror, is the oldest and most iconic part of the Tower of London. It served as the primary structure around which the rest of the tower was built.

8. There are Ravens guarding the Tower of London

Known for housing ravens that are considered guardians of the Tower, an old legend claims the Crown's safety is tied to their presence.

9. The Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, the Tower of London is an exceptional example of a medieval structure, remarkably intact and retaining its historical significance.

10. The Tower of London was built as a defence system as well as a royal palace

Originally a fortress and royal residence, the Tower of London withstood sieges throughout history, enduring damage only during World War II. It was subsequently restored for public access.

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Guided Tour of Tower of London with Thames River Boat Ride & Optional Entry to Buckingham Palace
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Frequently asked questions about Tower of London facts

What is The Tower of London?

The Tower of London is a 900-year-old castle and is one of England’s most iconic structures that has been used as a royal residence, an armoury, a zoo, a treasury, a Royal Mint, and is currently home to the Crown Jewels.

What is the most interesting fact about The Tower of London?

The Tower of London was home to a menagerie of exotic and wild animals, and most of these were given as Royal presents to the Kings and Queens that reigned during that era.

Where is the Tower of London located?

The Tower of London is situated on the north bank of the River Thames, in the western part of the borough of Tower Hamlets, on the border with the city of London.

Who built the Tower of London?

The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror.

When was the Tower of London built?

William the Conqueror built the White Tower in 1066 as a demonstration of Norman power.

What is the most famous Tower in the Tower of London?

The White Tower is the most famous tower in the Tower of London. It acts as a fortress and a gateway to the capital.

What are the key features of the Tower of London?

The Tower of London is a fortress. It has moats, two concentric walls and many protection towers.

Why are ravens kept at the Tower of London?

Ravens are historically kept at the Tower of London as they are considered guardians, and according to legend, their presence ensures the safety of the Crown and the kingdom.

Is the Tower of London open to the public?

Yes, the Tower of London is open to the public as a tourist attraction and historical site. Visitors can explore its rich history, see the Crown Jewels, and experience the various exhibitions and tours offered.

What is the Ceremony of the Keys?

The Ceremony of the Keys is a traditional ritual where the Tower's gates are locked each night, a practice that has been upheld for over 700 years.

When did the Tower of London become a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The Tower of London was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 due to its historical importance and architectural significance.

What animals were housed in the Tower of London's zoo?

The Tower of London once housed exotic animals such as lions, elephants, polar bears, and kangaroos, among others, as gifts for the royal court. The menagerie was moved to the London Zoo in 1835.