So today I thought I would try and discover some of the secrets of one of London’s top tourist attractions, the Tower of London. The Tower began life as a castle in 1066 and had many additions and developments over the years when it was used as a royal palace. It was also used as a functioning prison between about 1100 and 1952 and is famous for being embroiled in tales of espionage and intrigue particularly through the Tudor years of the sixteenth century. Today it is famous for housing the Crown Jewels. Here are a few of her interesting Facts and Secrets…
- The Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters were first mentioned 500 years ago. Their main purpose is to guard the Tower and to show people around.
- There is a legend that if six ravens leave the Tower, both it and the monarchy will fall.
- For 500 years the Tower doubled as the National mint and coins were hammered by hand.
- $32 billion of treasure is looked after there including the Imperial Crown, which includes 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies. The Star of India diamond is worth $400 million.
- The Tower once housed a zoo for exotic animals in the 13th century. It included an ostrich and a polar bear.
- An innkeeper from Bristol was imprisoned for sorcery in the 1500’s. His astronomical drawings can still be seen in the Salt Tower.
- Only 22 people were actually executed in the Tower. It’s reputation was much worse than its bite. The last person to be executed was a German spy in 1942.
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