Added: March,5th 2008
Desciption: Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress The Tower of London, more commonly known as the Tower of London (and historically simply as The Tower), is a historic monument in central London, England on the north bank of the River Thames. It is located within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and is separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill.
The Tower of London is often identified with the White Tower, the original stark square fortress built by William the Conqueror in 1078. However, the Tower as a whole is a complex of several buildings set within two parallel rings of defensive walls and a moat.
The Tower's primary function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison (particularly for high status and royal prisoners, such as the Princes in the Tower and the future Queen Elizabeth I). This last use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower" (meaning "imprisoned"). It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, a mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
The Tower of London was founded in 1078, when William the Conqueror ordered the White Tower to be built inside the SE angle of the City walls, adjacent to the Thames.  This was as much to protect the Normans from the people of the City of London as to protect London from outside invaders. William ordered the Tower to be built of Caen stone, which he had specially imported from France, and appointed Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester as the architect.
Some writers, such as Shakespeare in his play Richard III, have ascribed an earlier origin to the Tower of London and have stated that it was built by Julius Caesar. This supposed Roman origin is a myth, however, as is the story that the mortar used in its construction was tempered by the blood of beasts.
In the 12th century, King Richard the Lionheart enclosed the White Tower with a curtain wall and had a moat dug around it filled with water from the Thames. The moat was not successful until Henry III, in the 13th century, employed a Dutch moat-building technique. This king greatly strengthened the curtain wall, breaking down the city wall to the east, to extend the circuit, despite the protests of the citizens of London and even supernatural warnings (if the contemporary monastic chronicler Matthew Paris is to be believed). Henry III transformed the Tower into a major royal residence and had palatial buildings constructed within the Inner Bailey.
The fortification was completed by between 1275 and 1285 by Edward I who built the outer curtain wall, completely enclosing the inner wall and thus creating a concentric double defence. He filled in the pre-existing moat and built a new moat around the new outer wall.
The Tower remained a royal residence until the time of Oliver Cromwell, who demolished the old palatial buildings.