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The closet point to the European mainland, the coast of Dover has been called the “Gateway to England,” the “Lock and Key of England,” and in times of war, a “Frontline Town.” Because of this the area is home to numerous fortifications, all of which have inspired the location architecture and building designs.
The most famous structure in the region is, of course, Dover Castle. This castle stands atop the White Cliffs and overlooks the busy port town and guards the English Channel. The site was likely an early earthwork that may have been constructed in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age.
Dover Castle as it stands today was build during the reign of Henry II, but the site was previously used by the Romans for one of their lighthouses, which can still be seen today. Later, the Anglo-Saxons built the first major fortifications, which were damaged during the siege by William the Conqueror, then improved after William’s conquest of England.
The castle was fully rebuilt by Henry II, and fortified throughout the following centuries. Thus, the massive fortification offers numerous design styles. During World War II additional tunnels were added, and along with the most of the castle these are open to the public. It is still the official castle of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, as well as the Constable of the Dover Castle.
Dover Castle is not the only worthwhile fortification in this part of Kent. The nearby Fort Burgoyne, which was first known as Castle Hill Fort, dates back to the 1860s, when it was build to protect the high ground to the east of the city. It used the polygonal system with separate and detached redoubts to the east and west of the main structure. The fort is open to the public, except for the central part, which is still used as the Connaught Barracks.The nearby Dover Turret , which is also known as the Admiralty Pier Turret, was built in 1882. This enclosed armor fortification features a pair of 16-inch, or 80-ton rifled muzzle-loading guns. These are the biggest ever installed in the United Kingdom. The turret, complete with the guns remain, but are inaccessible to tourists.