The Tower of London

 

The Tower of London is an old castle located on the banks of the Thames River in London. Over the centuries it has had many functions. It was a prison for famous prisoners, like Elizabeth I and later on it was the home of the Crown Jewels.

It is one of London's main tourist attractions. Visitors can see many displays and exhibitions in the Tower.

The most famous part is the White Tower, in the middle of the complex. It was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. Other kings, for example Richard the Lionheart and Henry III, built more towers to the existing ones to improve its safety. Henry III also turned part of the Tower into a royal residence.

 

The Tower of London is the most famous fortification in London because of its long history. It is best known as a prison and a place where famous prisoners were executed. Many of them were brought to the Tower of London through the Traitor's Gate, an entrance near the Thames River. Through this gate prisoners could be brought to the Tower without attracting public attention. Many writings and drawings from prisoners who spent a lot of time in the tower are also on display.

Some executions were carried out in the Tower complex. Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII's wives was executed on Tower Green. During the Middle Ages the heads of executed criminals were hung on the Tower walls.

In the 1300s the Tower of London became the official home of the Crown Jewels. Money and gold bars were also kept there because it was one of the safest places in the city.

 

Two features attract most of the attention of the Tower's visitors. The Beefeaters are responsible for guarding the tower and showing visitors around. The ravens around the Tower are said to be the symbol of the British monarchy. As long as there are ravens flying around the monarchy will survive.

 

The Tower of London

The Tower of London - Carlos Delgado

 

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Words

  • attention = notice, interest
  • attract = to be a focus for
  • attraction = place that everyone wants to see
  • bank = the land along the side of a river
  • century = a hundred years
  • Crown Jewels = the crown, sword and jewels that are worn by the king or queen during special events
  • display = exhibition; something special that is shown
  • entrance = a door where you go into a building or area
  • execute =to officially kill someone, in most cases in public places
  • existing = already there
  • feature = something interesting
  • fortification = towers and walls around a place to make it stronger and safer
  • improve = to make better
  • located = can be found; situated
  • prison = a place where people who have done something wrong or illegal are locked up
  • raven = a large shiny black bird
  • royal residence = place where the king or queen lives
  • safety =to feel safe
  • survive = to live on
  • William the Conqueror = king of England from 1066 until his death; He invaded England from Normandy and defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings. He brought great changes to the island