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June 20, 2008.  Our first stop was the Tower of London complex.  The Tower's primary function was as a fortress, a Royal Palace, and a prison.  It served as a place of execution and torture and it also houses an armory, a treasury, a zoo, a mint, a public records office, and an observatory.  The official guides are called "Beefeaters".





There is a chapel within the walls of the complex, since there were so many executions and imprisonment there.  Three queens of England, Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, and Jane Grey, and two saints of the Roman Catholic church, Sir Thomas Moore and John Fisher are buried in this chapel.  It still remains as a place of worship for the Tower community for about 150 residents.



The Tower Prison.  For much of its history, the tower was used as a prison.  Royal captives were housed in relative comfort, but religious dissidents were subjugated to severe torture.  There were only five female victims who suffered death by beheading for treason:  Queen Ann Boleyn, Queen Catherine Howard (wives of Henry the VIII), Jane Boleyn, Catherine's lady in waiting, Margaret Pole (kinswoman of Henry VIII) and Lady Jane Grey, who was executed by Queen Mary.  





The Traitors' Gate only way to enter the tower from the River Thames. 



Sir Walter Raleigh's residence.  He wrote "The History of the World", amidst his other duties as a member of the Parliament.



The Royal Fusiliers Regimental museum houses all the weapons used by the soldiers during combat. 




Crown Jewels display.  It is housed in the Waterloo Barracks, built in the 19th Century in neo Gothic style.  The jewels displayed include what is known as the Coronation Regalia; in addition to the Crown Jewels are some spectular and priceless stones, such as the First Star of Africa (Cullinan I) which weighs over 530 carats, as well the Koh-i-Noor (a gigantic diamond set in Queen Elizabeth's Crown), and the Stuart sapphire, set in the Imperial State Crown.



The Royal Armories containing all the body armor for both men and animals.                   


There are remains of some very old walls dating back to the 12th century, when the complex was used as a fortress.



Originally there was a zoo within the confines of the tower, but now the only animals that remain are the Royal Ravens.  Tradition states that as long as the Ravens inhabit the towers the English Kingdom will be safe.


St Paul's Cathedral where Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married.  The spiral staircase has 272 steps going to the Whispering Gallery from where you can see the whole interior of the Cathedral. 



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