Jewels, beefeaters and ravens is what awaits us on our visit to the Tower of London, one of the most famous prisons in the world.
It is located next to the famous Tower Bridge. Without a doubt, the setting, helped by the stories that take place inside, is perfect for inspiring ghost stories. One of the main points of the Tower of London are the Crown Jewels and very interesting is the story of its ravens.
To save yourself the queues you can buy tickets for the Tower of London here.
A place with history
Although the Tower of London is known worldwide for being a historic prison, the truth is that it has had many uses during its almost thousand years of history.
It has served as a royal residence, prison, armory or fortress, as well as housing the UK Mint or Crown Jewels.
Its construction begins in 1078 by William the Conqueror with the main building, the White Tower.
Buildings, towers and fortifications were later added to give rise to the current complex.
The Tower of London as a prison
For much of its history, the Tower of London complex served as a prison, but not just any prison.
We could qualify it as a high-class prison since kings, high clerics or aristocrats once found their bones in the tower.
Some of the illustrious people who passed through here are Thomas More, Charles of Orleans and the queens Anne Boleyn, Jane Grey, Catherine Howard or Elizabeth I, the first three being executed as well.
The Crown Jewels
In addition to the possible morbidity of visiting the prison, most visitors to the Tower of London claim to have the opportunity to see the Crown Jewels.
In this exhibition you will be able to appreciate the entire royal collection of jewels, scepters, orbs, swords and crowns that have been used in the coronation ceremonies of the British royal house since the 17th century.
Only once has there been an attempt to steal the jewels. In 1671 Thomas Blood reached them, but was later unable to escape from the complex.
The Beefeaters and the ceremony of the keys
One of London’s icons is the Beefeater.
It is the name given to the halberdiers who guard the Tower of London. Undoubtedly, their clothing makes them a tourist attraction in itself.
Every night for more than 700 years the Beefeaters have performed the key ceremony. It is about closing the tower and keeping the keys to its door in the Queen’s House.
To attend, they must request in writing an invitation to the office of the ceremony of the keys at least two months in advance. It is a rather curious and admirable ritual, although it is difficult to attend if you live outside the United Kingdom due to the difficulty of getting an invitation for the desired day.
The legends that accompany the Tower of London
As expected in a place that has seen so many years pass by, the legends around it are innumerable, although we will only highlight two of them.
Crows live in the tower, it is not really known how they got to it.
Since the time of Charles II it has been considered that if they leave the Tower of London, the British Empire will disappear. For now they are still there and it is that their wings are cut in such a way that they cannot fly.
Anne Boleyn, queen consort during the reign of Henry VIII, is also said to be seen wandering the complex with her head under her arm.
You can find more information on the official website of the Tower of London.