Saturday, July 30, 2011

The London Tower

  The Tower of London was completely different then I had expected it to be.  It might be the misconception I had of the size or the fact I really thought it was only one tower but it exceeded my expectations.  During the 1070s, William the Conqueror began building the gigantic stone towers that now hosts over two million visitors a year.  There are many towers and buildings on the perimeter that were all constructed under different rulings.  New royalties kept adding there mark accumulating what is there today.
 First stop was The Crown Jewels that were absolutely breathtaking.  Several pieces left me speechless.  They were more then just flashy jewelry but also a symbolic measure of the British Monarchy.  Most on display were used at the coronation referred to as the Coronation Regalia.  The swords, orbs and sceptres, trumpets and tunics were lavishly covered in the prettiest diamonds and jewels I have ever seen.  There was even a Coronation Spoon that is used for holding the holy oil.  The London Tower has held these jewels consistently since the 17th century.  Although many of the precious items date back thousands of years ago, many are still used in current day ceremonies.  For example, the current monarch was crowned with St Edwards crown that was made in 1661 and modeled after a medical crown from 1042-1066.  The Queen still a dresses parliament every year at the State Opening wearing it.  The Imperial State Crown has the second largest top quality cut diamond in the world right behind the one in the Sovereign's Sceptre.  I don't possibly know what I would do if I was in control of a single diamond containing 539 carats.
 The Lower Wakefield Tower was less then I expected.  History of torturing is somewhat exaggerated and was typically only used as means of interrogating and finding elicit information.  

Without a doubt, The White Castle was the most interesting building with it's extremely preserved architect from the 11th century.  It wasn't the first tower to be built but the first of it's kind.  The Three large stories all have a different purpose.  On the entrance level, the royal armors and arms were on display from rulers like Henry VIII from 1515, gilt armor from Charles I, and and a partial re-creation of the 'Line of Kinds' dating back to 1660.  The second level has a rook called St Johns Chapel that doesn't hold the most glamour but does represent one of the most complete examples of early Anglo-American architecture in England.  One item on display that struck me was the block and axe that was supposedly used at the last public beheading, Lord Lovat, in 1747.  I wish I could of had more time to take in everything at The Tower of London considering it is a bit overwhelming with all the different exhibits.

-Taylor Gentry

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