World Heritage #0488 – Tower of London

Last modified 26.04.2023 | Published 31.07.1976North and Central Europe, United Kingdom, World Heritage Sites

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The Tower of London emits power from whichever direction you look upon it. I always speculate how the heads on sticks on the walls would have looked like.

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes more than a thousand properties with outstanding universal value. They are all part of the world’s cultural and natural heritage.

Official facts

  • Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • Date of Inscription: 1988
  • Category: Cultural site

UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre’s description of site no. 488:

The Tower of London is an internationally famous monument and one of England’s most iconic structures. William the Conqueror built the White Tower in 1066 as a demonstration of Norman power, siting it strategically on the River Thames to act as both fortress and gateway to the capital. It is the most complete example of an 11th century fortress palace remaining in Europe. A rare survival of a continuously developing ensemble of royal buildings, from the 11th to 16th centuries, the Tower of London has become one of the symbols of royalty. It also fostered the development of several of England’s major State institutions, incorporating such fundamental roles as the nation’s defence, its record-keeping and its coinage. It has been the setting for key historical events in European history, including the execution of three English queens.

The Tower of London has Outstanding Universal Value for the following cultural qualities:

  • For both protection and control of the City of London, it has a landmark siting.
  • The Tower of London was built as a demonstration and symbol of Norman power.
  • It is an outstanding example of late 11th century innovative Norman military architecture.
  • The property is a model example of a medieval fortress palace, which evolved from the 11th to 16th centuries.
  • The Tower has strong associations with State Institutions.
  • As the setting for key historical events in European history.

My visit

I have seen the Tower from a distance and passed by several times, but I have actually been inside only twice. I had to go back to my very young days to find this picture. At that time I remember I was more interested in the beheadings. Opponents to the king were beheaded and their heads posted on the walls of the fortress.

However, I also remember how marvellous I thought the Crown Jewels were. I returned in 2022 for a thorough visit and will have to write some more about it.

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