Edinburgh Castle stands on a high basalt rock, making use of the
natural defences of the site.
Edinburgh Castle History
Edinburgh Castle was used
as a Bronze Age hill fort and during the Roman occupation it was a thriving
By the eleventh century AD it had become firmly established as one of
the principal royal residences in Scotland and Queen Margaret died there in 1093.
Her youngest son, David I, built the earliest surviving part of the
castle in his mother's honour and today St. Margaret's Chapel is a restrained reminder of the
castle's varied and ancient past.
After the Reformation, it was used as a gunpowder store, but was
restored to its present appearance in the nineteenth century and the Romanesque chevron
patterned chancel arch is in good condition.
Because of its importance to the Scottish nation,
Edinburgh has been attacked and rebuilt at various times and the military and
defensive aspects predominate over the palatial and residential.
The great fourteenth century L-shaped Tower House of Robert Bruce's
son, David II, was almost flattened by the 'Lang Siege' of 1571-3 and its base is now hidden by
the Half-Moon Battery, built to restore the defences of the castle after the siege.
Other earlier buildings around the Crown Square, once the centre of
the Renaissance Palace at Edinburgh, were subsequently used as military
barracks (in the Great Hall) and altered to accommodate the headquarters of the Regiments that
came to be based here after the centre of power went south with King James VI in
James only returned once to Edinburgh and his son Charles I was the
last monarch to sleep at the castle when he stayed overnight before his Scottish Coronation in
Cromwell's army made further alterations to the appearance of the
castle and the subsequent permanent army based there destroyed and erected buildings without
regard for aesthetic or historic concerns.
The massive vaults under the Great Hall were well used as
prisons during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, housing French, American, Spanish,
Dutch, German and Italian prisoners of war.
The focus of the castle began to change however due to the
re-emergence of interest in Scottish Heritage in the nineteenth century.
The author Sir Walter Scott applied for and obtained permission from
the Prince Regent to search for the missing Scottish Honours, the sixteenth century Crown
Jewels, which had been hidden away following the Treaty of Union in 1707.
He found them safely kept in the castle, just as they had been left
111 years before and they were put on display to the public for the admission price of one
Further rooms were opened and restoration of the Great Hall, now a
magnificent Victorian interior, was carried out. The momentum continued and the main garrison
finally left the castle in 1923.
Visit Edinburgh Castle
The Scottish National War Memorial was built in 1923
and is still a moving reminder of the nation's history of conflict and national pride and
Each day except Sunday a Second World War 25-pounder gun is fired from
the Mills Mount Battery at 1pm, a time check for the citizens below and a tourist attraction
for the castle's visitors from all over the world.
Each Summer the Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place
on the Esplanade in front of the castle, providing an impressive setting and continuing the
In 1996, on St. Andrew's Day, the Stone of Scone, or Destiny, was
returned from its seven hundred year exile in Westminster Abbey in London to Edinburgh
Castle, to be on display with the Honours and thus reinforcing the royal connection of
Edinburgh Castle Map&Location
Edinburgh Castle Address: Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH1, UK. Get
help with directions using the map provided bellow:
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