What to see at Edinburgh
After the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle is the next
most visited ancient monument in Britain. From the battlements of the
castle you get a panoramic view over the city of Edinburgh, laid out before
you. Inside the walls is a remarkable fortress and former Royal residence,
packed with history. Remember also that though the castle is a historic
monument, it is also a working military establishment. The Scottish Division
is headquartered here and is a military guard on the main gate.
- the Great Hall, with its ornate wooden ceiling,
has a collection of armour and weapons
- the Crown Room with the Crown,
Sceptre and Sword of State of Scotland
- the Royal apartments with an exhibition depicting Scottish
- a small room in the Royal apartments where Mary Queen
of Scots gave birth to her son, later James VI of Scotland and I of
- the One O'clock gun fired daily (except Sunday) at
the exact hour, to provide a time check for the city
- the Castle Esplanade, where the Military Tattoo is
held in August every year
- St. Margaret's Chapel, a tiny Norman building, which
has survived the various sieges of the castle
- a small iron wall-fountain; known as the Witches' Well,
where women found guilty of witchcraft were put to death.
- Mons Meg, a massive fifteenth-century cannon, first
used by James II to attack Threave Castle
History of Edinburgh Castle
The great volcanic rock on which the castle stands, rears
high above the modern city. There is evidence of a Bronze Age settlement
about 1000BC. The Roman army came here later.
- It was natural that a fort should be built on such
a commanding and defendable site. We know that the fort was made of
stone during the reign of Malcolm III (1058 to 1093).
- Edward I of England, in his efforts to conquer Scotland,
took Edinburgh Castle in 1296, but in 1314 the Earl of Moray took the
castle back for Scotland in a daring commando raid with only 30 men
- The English took it back in 1335, but in 1341 Sir William
Douglas again removed the invaders. He tricked the garrison into thinking
his band of men were merchants, they seized the castle and decapitated
most of the English garrison
- The castle would now remain in Scottish hands until
the Union of the Crowns in 1603. Attempts to take it were unsuccessful.
In 1400 Henry V of England besieged the castle but had to withdraw to
deal with a rebellion in Wales by Owen Glendower
- 1440 Edinburgh Castle was the site of the infamous
"Black Bull's Dinner" where 16 year old sixth Earl of Douglas
and his 14 year old brother David were murdered in front of their 10
year old King (James II). The death of Douglas was carried out
by the ambitious Chancellor Crichton and was intended to break
the Douglas power.
- The castle was further strengthened in 1573 and held
out against an attack by the Covenanters in 1640, by Cromwell in 1650
and by the army of William and Mary in 1689.
- It continued to be strengthened and during Jacobite
rising in 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie's lack lustre efforts to take
the castle were the last time that the castle came under attack