The fortress of Edinburgh Castle was originally home to Scotland's royal family but is mostly used as a museum now. Fortress Edinburgh has been attacked no less than 23 times in its history, making it Europe's most besieged stronghold. Overlooking the city of Edinburgh atop a volcanic rock 443 feet above sea level is a landmark called Castle Rock, situated within the periphery of the castle. At least three thousand years of human history may be traced back to Castle Rock. Eidyn's Hill Fort was constructed on the rock in 600 CE. Scottish history records Malcolm III Canmore as the first king to live atop Castle Rock (reigned 1058–93).
St. Margaret's Chapel, the oldest remaining structure on the castle grounds, was constructed between 1130 and 1140 on the topmost point of the rock to honor his devout wife, Queen Margaret. She died at the castle in 1093 and was eventually canonized as St. Margaret of Scotland. Now averaging over a million annual visitors, Edinburgh Castle has become a major draw for tourists in Scotland. The area is included in the UNESCO World Heritage site that encompasses both the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.
How to explore Edinburgh Castle?
- About 100 feet (30 meters) tall, David's Tower was constructed in memoriam of King David II, who passed away in the castle in 1371. Check out the beauty that surrounds the tower.
- As early as 1457, a massive cannon called Mons Meg was installed in the military section of the castle.
- James IV completed the construction of the Great Hall in 1511, and it has survived to this day. Admire the architectural beauty of the interiors - its upholstery, fireplace, etc.
- James VI, who would become King James I of England, was born in 1566 in a room at the Royal Palace, a nearby edifice. Check out these royal chambers to know more about their way of living.
- The Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum sit on castle grounds and pay tribute to Scotland's long and distinguished military history. A visit to these historical places is a must if you want to know more about Scottish history.
- The Honors of Scotland, often known as the country's crown jewels, have traditionally been stored in Edinburgh Castle. The Stone of Scone (also known as the Stone of Destiny) is an even older artifact associated with Scottish royalty. It was returned to Edinburgh Castle in 1996, precisely 700 years after it had been moved to England. Scottish kings and queens have traditionally been crowned atop this sandstone slab which is on continuous display in the castle for tourists.
- The massive lawn in front of the castle is called an esplanade. Every summer, grandstand seating is set up for the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, an international military music event. There is a more regular occurrence of a loud cannon being fired on the grounds of the castle every day at 1:00 PM. Since its inaugural shot in 1861, the 'One Of the Clock Gun' has served as a time signal for ships in the adjacent Firth of Forth. Be present at the esplanade to experience this ceremonious moment.