[Sunday - 10/23/94] Perched high on an extinct volcanic outcrop, Edinburgh Castle dominates the capital's skyline with stunning views across the World Heritage listed Old and New Towns, and out to the Firth of Forth.
Men may first have stood on the castle rock some 8000 years ago when Stone-Age hunters and gatherers appeared in the densely-wooded and boggy landscape. Since then the rock and its castle have witnessed Scotland's rich tapestry of history from the Romans besieging Angles, from the birth of James VI, the king who would unite nations, to Oliver Cromwell's Roundheads and the Jacobite Risings.
As a Royal Castle it has been a residence of Scotland's Kings and Queens. Every occupant modified or added to the original structure, so that today it is a rich architectural mixture of palace, fortress, barracks, chapel and war memorial.
With many sights to see, from the giant medieval siege gun Mons Meg to the room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI and I, Edinburgh Castle offers an absorbing mixture of entertainment and education.
Edinburgh Castle houses a number of military museums including the Scottish United Services Museum and is home to the Scottish National War Memorial and the world-famous "One O'Clock" gun. This property is managed by Historic Scotland.
Edinburgh Castle has an international reputation, with considerable historic interest and panoramic views of the City of Edinburgh. This remarkable fortress and former royal residence is visited annually by approximately one million people. Managed by Historic Scotland on behalf of the government, Edinburgh Castle retains a military garrison.
The site of the castle was probably first occupied in the Iron Age, although the first documented record comes from the 6th century. St. Margaret, the wife of Malcolm III, died in the castle in 1093. The tiny norman St. Margaret's Chapel, built in her memory and the oldest building in the castle precinct, was spared on the several occasions the castle was razed. Successive occupations of the Castle by the English and the Scots were a feature between the 12th and 17th centuries.
The castle we see today was begun in 1367 and includes several important buildings such as the Great Hall, which now houses a collection of weapons and armour.
The Honours of Scotland - the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State - together with the Stone of Destiny, are on view in the Crown Room. Nearby is the Scottish National War Memorial, designed by Robert Lorimer shortly after the First World War, contains the names of Scots who have died in 20th century wars in a Hall of Honour. Other buildings include the National War Museum of Scotland, dungeons, which held French prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars, and a more recent military prison.
Edinburgh Castle is also the site of the One O'clock Gun, which has been fired each day, except Sunday, at precisely 1.00pm since 1861, to provide an accurate time signal.
The Castle Esplanade is the venue of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which takes place annually in August and comprises a programme of music, marching and historical re-enactments.
Last modified on Wednesday, November 26, 2008|
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