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1) There is more of London’s history in the Tower than anywhere else. It is the oldest surviving building in London, dating from the Norman Conquest, and even before that the site had been used by the Romans and later by the Saxons as a fortress.

2) From the eleventh century onwards the Tower has had many purposes — always a fortress, but at various periods of history, also used as a royal palace, a prison, a treasury, a mint, an arsenal, the first royal observatory, and for three hundred years there was a royal zoo.

3) The oldest part is the White Tower built as a fortress and family residence by William the Conqueror in 1078.

4) The name is said to have originated in the reign of King Henry III who ordered the Tower to be whitewashed.

5) Today, the White Tower houses a unique collection of arms and armour and even instruments of torture.

6) The Chapel of St. John, on the first floor, is one of the finest surviving examples of pure Norman architecture, a wonderful combination of immense strength and an impressive simplicity of line. It has a long recorded history.

7) Successive sovereigns were responsible for the many additional buildings that comprise the complex tourists see today.

8 ) Traitors’ Gate is now seen as an enormous arch below the outer walls, through which, when this was the main approach from the river, prisoners passed on their final journey.

9) The delightful Tower Green, where so many visitors pose for photographs today, was not always so pleasant, described by historians as «no sadder spot on earth», where many common prisoners met their end.

10) For several centuries the Tower of London was the chief arsenal in the kingdom but at the same time it housed the King’s personal armours and weapons. Out of these elements there has grown the great historical collection of the Tower Armouries, Britain’s most celebrated national museum of arms and armour.

#1. (…) What is the most ancient part of this architectural monument?

#2. (…) Where can London’s history be seen to best advantage?

#3. (…) Can you name the characteristic features of Norman art of construction?

#4. (…) How many purposes did the Tower of London serve?

#5. (…) Which is a very gloomy place in this complex despite its pleasing and attractive name?

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