Westminster Palace & Clock Tower

London, England, United Kingdom
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Few of the places in the world can be considered as more popular a tourist attraction than The London Clock Tower, also known as "Big Ben", and the Westminster palace. The Palace of Westminster is also known commonly as the House of parliament in London. It is also called as Westminster palace. There are two houses of the Parliament in the United Kingdom. One is the House of Common while the other one is the House of Lords. Both of these houses meet in the Westminster palace to conduct their sessions and to do their business. There are many other government buildings located near the Westminster palace. The palace is unique in more than one respects and this is the reason it is considered to be one of the most important places people like to visit. The Westminster palace is actually located at the bank of the River Thames. The palace lies to the North of the river.  

The Westminster palace is a very popular and commonly recognized building. It happens to be one of the biggest parliament houses in the world. Although there are other bigger parliament houses in the world, but there are very few parliament houses which are more popular than the Westminster palace. The palace has been designed in a very intricate manner. The building which currently exists has more than 1,200 rooms in all. The total length of corridors included in this building is more than three kilometers in all. There are more than 100 staircases located in this building. The building is a very well designed one and is definitely a very nice to look at piece of architecture.  

Some part of the building comes from the 19th century while some new parts of this palace have been constructed in the past two centuries. The parts that are the oldest ones include The Jewel Tower as well as the Westminster hall. These parts are still in use. Westminster hall is most commonly used for conducting the ceremonies of public nature nowadays. The control of this palace lies with the Queen's representatives. This was the situation for more than two centuries after the construction of this building. The situation changed in the year 1965 when the control of this palace was given to the House of Commons and the House of Lords together. Although overall the control of the building now lies with the two houses, still few parts of the building are in the control of the Lord Great Chamberlain, who was the original controller of this building.  
The house of parliament was damaged by a fire in the year 1834. The parts of the building which are now used as the two houses were constructed after this fire. It took some good 30 years to construct these two houses. Very famous and intelligent architects were chosen for this work. Sir Charles Barry was the architect of this palace. He has a team of assistants but Pugin was his most famous assistant who worked on this palace with him. St. Stephen's Chapel and the Westminster hall were incorporated in this design. In this way the parts of the building which have survived the fire were incorporated as such in the new design. Few parts of the building we now have are post that fire while the oldest parts were constructed way before that.  

There are many towers of different heights in this building. Few of the towers are more important and popular than the other towers. One of the most popular towers is the Victoria tower. This tower is the tallest tower of Westminster palace and it is 98 meters high. The entrance below this tower is used by the monarchs' at all official ceremonies of high profile.  

The central tower of the Westminster palace is also called as Central tower. This tower lies towards the middle of the Westminster palace. A spire is there on this tower which is also called as St Stephen's tower. This tower helps in the intake of air. It is located just above the central lobby. It is octagonal in shape. One of the popular buildings in the world, the towers of Westminster palace are well known by people. The building very beautifully represents the construction art and architecture of the era to which it belongs.

The most famous tower of this building is the Clock tower. The clock tower is known as the Big Ben the world over. The Big Ben is the most popular representative of United Kingdom. You can identify London in a second if the picture you are looking at or the movie you are watching shows the Big Ben. The clock located in the clock tower is called as the Great Clock of Westminster. There are four sides of this clock tower and there is a clock face at each side of this tower. The clock tower or the Big Ben is in fact 316 feet tall.  

There are five bells in the Clock tower in all. These five bells strike the chimes of Westminster after every fifteen minutes. The name which is usually used for the clock tower, the Big Ben, is actually the name of the biggest of these five bells. This bell is also called as the Great Bell of Westminster. This bell is the third biggest bell in England in terms of its weight. It weighs more than 13 tons. If you are interested to see this huge tower and the clock, you can visit London which is easily accessible from all parts of the world. Every season will be equally good for you if you are interested in seeing this historic and elegant building.   
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