The emblematic Elizabeth Tower, first known as Clock Tower and later as Big Ben, is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Completed in 1858, it’s located at the Westminster Palace’s north end and encases one of the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. In June 2012 the clock tower was officially renamed to Elizabeth Tower, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
Each clock face has an inscription in Latin words read Domine salvam fac Reginam nostram Victoriam primam, which means “Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the first”.
Big Ben is, in fact, the name of the bell inside the Elizabeth Tower, which rang for the first time across Westminster on May 31st 1859. The first time it rang outside it’s schedule was during King George VI’s funeral, in 1952, chiming 56 times per minute (!). On July 27th 2012, starting at 8:12 am, Big Ben chimed 30 times, welcoming the London Olympic Games.
Sadly, you can’t visit Big Ben (the bell), since the visits are restricted to London’s residents.