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Edinburgh Castle: The Symbol Of Scottish Pride

Updated on November 4, 2015

Edinburgh Castle, situated on the Castle Rock dominates the Scottish skyline with its neoclassical architecture. The basaltic rock on which it rests was formed due to a volcanic eruption about 350 million years ago and has a history of “The Castle of the Maidens” which existed in place of Edinburgh Castle initially. Being the military base and a royal residence for centuries, the Edinburgh Castle was constructed during the 12th century. Since then, royalties took the throne and died within its walls, battles and sieges took place and shaped the history of the nation, inspiring countless generations for years.

History

The Castle was constructed back in 1130 C.E however, due to the rivalries between the monarchies of Scotland and Britain, constant military tension existed. Since he who had control over the castle had the rule of the city, so the Edinburgh Castle remained under siege for most of the time.

Edinburgh was developed as a symbol of power and authority by King David, through his administrative reforms, today known as the Davidian Revolution. The castle was not only the seat of the King, but also an assembling point for the clergy and nobles. The defense of the castle was merely strong, although two stone building are said to have existed in the 12th century.

The successor of David, King Malcolm IV is reported to have stayed at Edinburgh more than anywhere else. However, in 1174 when King William was captured by Henry II’s forces in the Battle of Alnwick, he was forced to sign the Treaty of Falaise for his release in return for giving up the Edinburgh Castle along with others. The castle remained occupied by the English for approximately twelve years until in 1186 it was returned back to William as the dowry of his English bride, Ermengarde de Beaumont, chosen by King Henry, himself. The end of 12th century saw the establishment of the castle as the main storage of official state papers.

The castle was partly rebuilt in 1333 when the English captured it again. Meanwhile, King David II and King Robert II got the walls and towers constructed and in the early 1400s Henry IV besieged the castle but poor weather conditions and lack of proper supplies led to the withdrawal of forces. The castle was not used much as the royal residence by the end of 15th century. Nevertheless, James IV got a Great Hall with a remarkable hammerbeam roof built, sustained by imprinted stone corbels. After he died, James V stayed at the castle for his safety during the Battle of Flodden in 1513. He got the new royal apartments constructed where his widow, Mary of Lorraine lived after her daughter, Mary (Queen of Scots) got married to the Dauphin of France in 1558.

Facts

  • Since the Bronze Age, there have been people living on the Castle Rock. The royal castle on this site has been standing there since the 12th century.
  • Preserved today as a national monument, the Edinburgh Castle is the most significant castle in Scotland which has served as a royal residency, prison and an army garrison.
  • The buildings of the castle date back from the 12th century to the 18th century with St. Margaret’s chapel being the oldest in the castle and in Scotland. It was constructed in the memory of Queen Margaret who died after she got to know of her husband, King Malcolm III’s death in 1093.
  • There are a number of dark dungeons hidden in the castle some of which can be visited while on a tour. A very deep pit prison is located right under the floor of the birthplace of King James where prisoners were thrown.
  • People have made up a myth about a ghost dwelling in the castle, mainly the dungeons, and making noises. However, in recent years the myth has been busted over and over again.

The Edinburgh Castle is open all year round for tourists however, most of the visitors make their trip in the summer. In recent years, the government has done a lot more to promote the site as a viable tourist must-visit attraction. Tickets can be booked online and tours can be arranged based on special requirements as well. Executive taxi services and minicabs are available through London taxi companies for an easy access to the castle. Besides the gorgeous architecture, there are shops and restaurants to complete an exciting holiday. So plan your trip and make the most of the historical and magnificently constructed royal residence.

Comments

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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      I've always wanted to see a castle in person. Love your articles and hope I get out to see one for myself someday.

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