Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Tower of London

In a prior post I mentioned that my husband and I climbed to the top of nearly every monument we visited on our European trip. By the time we got to the Duomo in Florence, I was starting to get very dizzy on circular staircases. Here's one from the Tower of London, below.

I don't know about you, but here, on my first trip to Europe, when the guide book said "Tower of London" I expected a huge tower. Like the one where you find Big Ben. Like the two from London Bridge (which was, incidentally, not falling down).

But the Tower of London is a former "keep" and -- if I'm remembering correctly -- this is the place William the Conquerer established for the monarchy to reside. Back in oh, about 1066, I think.

I loved this place, and we did climb to the top of the White Tower, the central structure of the keep.

This was only about four stories, so this was not one of our marathon climbs. But I wanted to talk about it today because our visit there was fascinating. I have about fifty pictures from this visit alone. I want to include them all, but time and space are holding me back. For now, just a few highlights (more to come):

The former moat. I guess it was a great moat for many years, until progress and other changes turned it into a sewer. (Sounds like the Chicago River these days.) Not such a happy place to keep a fortress at that point, so it was eventually drained and grassed in.


Isn't this gorgeous? This is the chapel inside the Tower of London. Some period movies were filmed here. Can't you just see Henry the Eighth striding to his seat? Can't you see a suspicious character eavesdropping from behind one of those pillars?


Those blue doors are painted in Victoria Blue and that residence (note the guard) is where the queen sleeps if she ever chooses to stay overnight at the Tower of London. From what we gathered, she doesn't visit often.

The grassy area above - and one directly opposite, not pictured - are where you could be beheaded, but only if you were very special. Anne Boleyn was beheaded here. As was Catherine Howard and Anne's sister, Jane Boleyn. Now, if you were just a regular, garden-variety beheadee, you were required to suffer your fate in town, in front of a sea of spectators.
This area was reserved for only the closest of the king's friends.

Oh, how lucky they must have felt!


Anybody looking for a knight in shining armor? I found one!
Well, I found his armor, at least!

More soon.


Dru said...

The chapel is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Dru!

Heather said...

Thanks for sharing especially the pictures of the Tower Green area. I am very much interested in Tudor era history especially Lady Jane Grey who was beheaded here on the green. Lady Jane, along with others from the era are buried at Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. did you get to visit there as well?

Julie Hyzy said...

Our eldest is really good at keeping the Tudor stories straight. Fascinating times there and it was so amazing to be where they had lived and worked and died. Incredible. We didn't get to the Chapel Royal of St. Peter, but we did get to Westminster. We'll have to put Chapel Royal on our list for next time! Thanks for the suggestion.