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One of London's most famous landmarks, the Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The historic tower has served a variety of purpose such as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, a prison, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
The Tower of London is an attraction not be missed if you're one who is interested in medieval history. I personally found the tour really enriching and I've gained vast knowledge about England from this tour. The hubz would always be glued to English medieval history programmes on History Channel and so he enjoyed the experience too. It was really crowded at the outdoor areas of the tower initially due to the beautiful weather but thankfully, we were able to tour around the place quite smoothly on the whole.
Due to the large volume of photos, my photo story for Tower of London would be separated into 2 posts. If you are interested in viewing my previous London photo stories, click the links below:
Day 1: A Walk in the Park
Day 2: St Paul's Cathedral, Millennium Bridge & Shakespeare's Globe
Day 2: Borough Market, London Bridge & Tower Bridge
Day 3: Tower of London (20 December)
Our continental breakfast consisted of cold cuts, fruits, croissant and breakfast cereal. A real minimalist affair though much healthier.
I was really thrilled when I drew the curtains open and saw the sight that greeted me -- brilliant sunny day in a cold wintry London!
I hadn't intended for a pink OOTD theme that day but when the hubs asked, I decided to annoy him by being lame. I told him that I had to be in cheery pastel colours as the Tower of London was a gloomy place. He simply went -_-|||.
Armani Exchange pink tee worn over no label white 3/4 sleeves top. Sovil Titus bracelet watch has a pink face. On my hair was Fleurfaerie light pink Silk Chiffon Flower Hair Tie.
As if those pink weren't enough! For outer wear, I had on my pink marshmallow jacket with a pink knitted scarf which my friend renzze had kindly lent. Ah yes, you would see the photo of these rune-like inscriptions much later on. For now, please focus on my outfit. Thank you. ｡◕‿◕｡
As usual, the Underground was our mode of transport. It brought us to Tower Hill Station which was just outside the Tower of London.
Hubz and I felt so thrilled basking in the resplendent sunshiny day outside the Tower with the Port of London Authority Building behind.
A huge sundial.
What a beautiful day!
I often see contrails (jet trails) in the clear blue skies without being able to see the jets. They must have been really far away.
Brilliant crepuscular rays.
A beautiful day to ice skate! I wondered how it felt like to ice-skate outdoors. The last time I ice-skated was some 10 years ago?
Chi cats would be leaving their paw prints at the Tower of London in no time.
Kh looked so intellectual here...
... and then so silly here roaring at the lion sculptures. (More on the sculptures later!)
Everyone was crowding around a Yeoman Warder aka Beefeater. Free guided tour is provided in the ticket price but we had to break away from the crowd as we could hardly hear anything from where we were.
Top L-R: Middle Tower 1280, Byward Tower 1280, Bell Tower 1190
Bottom L-R: Bloody Tower 1225, Wakefield Tower 1220--1238, a more closed up view of Bloody Tower
Various names of towers greeted us even before we entered the main area of the compound. I got quite confused exactly how many towers are there in the Tower of London and what their significance were across various eras. For a step-by-step the major events in the history of the Tower of London, I found this Historic Royal Palaces Tower of London link really useful. Also, this map as seen below --showing the various towers in Tower of London at a glance-- helps a lot in navigating yourself as you read on. I wished I had found this map when I was there touring the towers!
A siege catapult.
Many prisoners of the Tudors entered the Tower of London through the Traitors' Gate. The gate was built by Edward I, to provide a water gate entrance to the Tower, part of St. Thomas's Tower, which was designed to provide additional accommodation for the royal family. The gate area was totally dry during our visit.
St Thomas Tower.
The White Tower is a fortress of enormous proportions, symbolic of William the Conqueror’s fierce suppression of a newly conquered capital. It is the oldest medieval building at the Tower. Read more about The White Tower here and here.
Let's take in all the beautiful outdoor sights around The White Tower.
What a pleasant little residential area amidst surrounding of the stony towers. I wondered who lived there? The Yeoman Wardens?
A spiffy modern circular memorial marks the approximate spot where executions were done inside walls of the Tower of London. Designed by British artist Brian Catling, the monument focuses on the ten executions that had taken place on Tower Green, within the Royal castle’s walls. In the middle of this monument is a glass pillow and around the circle are the names of those executed on the Tower green.
These buildings reminded me of those houses in Holland.
I thought that ravens were bad omen in stories, or was it crows? The ravens of the Tower of London are a group of captive Common Ravens which live in the Tower of London. Legend has it that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress. Read more about these ravens here and here.
The walls of The Beauchamp Tower, especially on the first floor, are covered in graffiti left by Tudor prisoners. The ground floor houses the 'Prisoners of the Tower' exhibition.
In Elizabeth’s reign (1558-1603), Sir Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, was held for 10 years and died a prisoner and under James I's reign (1603-25), Lord Cobham spent the last 14 years of his life here. In 1553, Robert Dudley, Elizabeth I's childhood sweetheart, was imprisoned here for one year.
These are some graffiti left behind by the prisoners of the tower. Somebody actually wrote a very detailed blog post about the graffiti at the Tower of London.
When I think of GRAFFITI, ancient rune-like inscriptions certainly do not pop up in my mind. These powerful and often beautiful inscriptions record the heartache, unwavering faith and the patience of some of the Tower's prisoners.
Gotta tread carefully so as not to disturb the ghosts of the tower.
The guard simply marched to and fro for as long as I could see.
Next up was The Crown Jewels tour. For security reasons, photographing them is prohibited. These crown jewels are really beautiful. Those images in Google aren't even half as beautiful as the real ones we behold with our very own eyes.
Outside the tower that houses The Crown Jewels.
Life-sized baboon sculptures outside the jewel house were part of the many wire mesh sculptures created by artist Kendra Haste. Besides the life-size lions and baboons you had seen so far, there are other beasts of the Royal Menagerie such as a polar bear and an elephant constructed with Kendra's trademark material-- galvanised wire. All of Kendra's sculptures will remain installed in their present locations at the Tower, a World Heritage site, for the next ten years.
The Maltese Cannon.
"A Wardrobe Tower?" shrugged kh. He felt I needed a tower for my wardrobe too.
The Wardrobe Tower is only preserved as a ruin. It is named after the Wardrobe, the personal household of an English king, whose goods and utensils, including the Crown Jewels, were temporarily stored in the Tower. The still existing remains are about 2 feet tall, and are made of natural stone and brick.
The Royal Armouries was where we spent the most time at. I will write about that in the next post!
This coming week would be a super busy and hectic work week for me due to the Good Friday Public Holiday. I hope to be able to blog after that. Till then!!!
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