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Tower of London Visit

Today we visited the Tower of London, where we received a lively and entertaining tour from one of the Beefeaters at the tower before exploring the medieval palace, one of the remaining examples of Normal architecture in London. We visited the site where prisoners were held at the tower and where six individuals (mostly women) were executed. We also had the opportunity to see the Crown Jewels--although the coronation crown was absent from this display because it is currently being resized for the coronation of Charles III, which is scheduled to take place in May of this year. The rich history and traditions associated with the Tower of London help to explain the symbolic importance of the monarchy in Britain to this day.  As we observed when we visited the houses of Parliament earlier this week, the history and traditions kept alive by sites like the Tower of London permeate all aspects of British culture and politics, which would make little sense without them.  They also form the backdrop for many of the works students are reading in this course. 

Exterior of large castle-like structure from street level

The White Tower, a rare example of Norman architecture at the heart of the Tower of London historical site

3 studeents pose with statute. Two are mimicking the statue's pose. The third is crouched below and pointing at it.

Ben, a statue believed to be of the Roman Emperor, Trajan, Justin, and Alicia

Nine students pose for a photo on cobblestone street

The group pictured near the execution site and memorial at the Tower of London with Tower Bridge in the background

Image of an iron gate

The Infamous Traitor's Gate (originally known as Trader's Gate because it was the entrance that merchants would use when they entered the tower). It later became known as the "Traitor's Gate" because it was the entrance through which those accused of treason, such as Anne Boleyn, would enter the Tower of London.  

Two students smile at camera while seated in front an open air window

Jay and Ben pictured inside the White Tower

Image of a polar bear statue in front of a white stone wall

Wire statues of exotic animals are to be found throughout the tower. Up until 1835, the Tower was inhabited by a number of exotic animals, including a polar bear, lions, and elephants.  These animals were known as "power pets" because they were given as gifts to the reigning monarch and were displayed throughout the tower as symbols of power. After a few accidental escapes, the animals were relocated to what is now known as London Zoo in Regent's park.  

Landscape image with large bridge in the distance

View of Tower Bridge from inside the walls of the Tower of London

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