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Edinburgh Castle

Listed under Castles & Palaces in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

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Photo by flickr user Lord Biro
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In the year 1018, King Malcolm II won the Battle of Carham against the English and secured lands between the Firth of Forth and the River Tweed for Scotland. Towards the end of the 11th century, a royal castle begins to emerge in Edinburgh. The oldest and only surviving part of the early royal castle is St. Margaret’s Chapel, built by King David I in the early 12th century. Nothing else survives because the castle was captured by the English and King Edward I in 1296, and then retaken by the Scots. It was then that Robert the Bruce ordered the castle defenses to be torn down to prevent any reoccupation by the English. Soon after, Robert the Bruce defeated the English near Stirling at the Battle of Bannockburn and reconstruction began on Edinburgh Castle. In 1566 the castle was chosen as the location where Mary Queen of Scots would give birth to her first and only child, Prince James. James would go on to unite the crowns of Scotland and England and become King James IV of Scotland and James I of England. Like the Tower of London in England, Edinburgh Castle has been used for many purposes through its history. It has been a royal residence, a prison, served as a military barracks, and now a tourist attraction. Edinburgh Castle sits atop a high volcanic hill overlooking the city. In 1818 the ancient Honors of Scotland (Scotland’s Crown Jewels) were rediscovered and put on display at the castle. This began the transformation of the castle from a garrison fortress to a tourist attraction. The castle gatehouse is flanked by bronze statues of Robert the Bruce and Sir William Wallace. Mons Meg, a giant siege gun given to King James IV in 1457, is another popular attraction. Edinburgh’s great hall has a beautiful medieval hammer-beam roof supported on stone corbels as well as a collection arms and armor. Through the centuries Edinburgh Castle has become a powerful national symbol of Scotland.

Written by  Ron Lyons Jr..

Other expert and press reviews

“Scene of dramatic events”

The defensive works now visible on edges of the summit of this precipitous volcanic crag are mostly 18th century, but facing the east approach is a large 16th century artillery bastion built over the vaulted lower parts of Kind David II¹s large L-plan … Read more...

Written by  Mike Salter.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Get there for 1 o'clock and see the Mons Meg being fired!

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle dominates the city's skyline, sitting proudly at the end of the Royal Mile. A major tourist attraction (the castle houses the Scottish crown jewels), if you want a more solitary experience, take a wander up there at night to look out over the city. The palace at Holyrood House, Queen Elizabeth II's official residence whenever she ventures north of the border, is open to the public, with several rooms in the State Apartments available to have a good snoop around.

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