The TOWER OF LONDON is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Situated in London, the Tower of London is a complex of buildings, fortress and royal castle built by William the Conqueror, who ruled between 1066 and 1087. The White Tower, from which the name of the castle comes, was built by William the Conqueror in 1070-1080 and it was a huge construction for its time, dominating the skyline from a great distance.
The complex was also expanded during the 12th and 13th centuries, during the reigns of Richard Lionheart (1189-1199), Henry III (1216-1272) and Edward I (1272-1307), the latter turning the complex into the greatest fortified concentrical castle.
The Tower of London was not only a fortification and royal residence, but also a safekeeping place for the documents of the time. It is also where the Crown Jewels are kept, following a tradition started by Henry III. The Jewel House was built specifically to shelter the jewels and symbols of monarchy, such as the crowns of kings and queens of England, their sceptres and swords. In 1669 the Jewel House was demolished, and the jewels were moved to the Martin Tower, situated also in the Tower of London complex.
The Tower of London has played an important part in the history of England, as a place of victory celebration, but also of imprisonment and execution for some kings, queens and throne claimers. Its first prisoner was jailed here in 1100. Among the Tower’s victims: Henry VI (in 1471), Edward V and his brother in 1483. Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was also imprisoned here before she became queen, by her step-sister Mary I (1553-1558). Ten persons were decapitated here, three of them queens of England: Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife (in 1536, at the age of 30), Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife (at the age of 20) and Jane Grey (at the age of 16).
They say that, along the centuries, the Tower of London has been haunted by the ghosts of those who lost their lives within its walls.