When visiting Scotland, visitors can admire several world-renowned attractions. There is not only Loch Ness, where the mysterious Loch Ness Monster supposedly hides, but also Maeshowe, an outstanding Stone Age tomb built from giant blocks of sandstone 5,000 years old.
But back to Glasgow City, home to the exceptional Glasgow Cathedral. With its dark and bright interior, it definitely resembles one of the finest pieces of Gothic architecture in the world. But no list of attractions would be complete without the other castles that Scotland owns, in particular the amazing Edinburgh Castle. Its beauty is unmatched by any other castle in the British Isles.
And there are many more reasons why Edinburgh Castle is considered the most famous in Scotland.
Researchers have discovered that the legendary castle is located on the site of an extinct volcano 350 million years old. The volcanic plug is known as Castle Rock and is located in the very center of the city. Historical evidence suggests that on the site of Castle Rock already in the 2nd century there was a settlement “Aluana”, which means “place of the rock.” This is possibly the earliest known name for Castle Rock.
After archaeological excavations in the early 1990s, it was discovered that the site had been inhabited even earlier, either at the end of the Bronze Age or the beginning of the Iron Age. These claims potentially make Castle Rock the oldest permanently inhabited site in Scotland.
It is known that there has been a royal castle on the volcanic rock since the reign of David I, a 12th-century king who first served as Prince of Cumbria and then as King of Scotland between 1124 and 1153. This king spent most of his time in Scotland, although he was once exiled to England. His court is also known to have been influenced by Norman and Anglo-French culture.
Castle Rock remained a royal residence until 1633, but by this time began to fall into disrepair. In the 17th century, this place was mainly used as a military barracks, which housed a fairly large garrison.
Throughout its vast history, Edinburgh Castle has been attacked more than any other castle in the world. Involved in numerous conflicts and unrest in the region, he faithfully served as the last defensive position in Edinburgh, which is why he is called the “defender of the nation”.
Another complex aspect of the castle’s history is its name and official founding. Numerous sources and references in historical accounts may introduce some uncertainty into the origin of the royal castle. Historians suggest that the former name of Edinburgh Castle was “Maid’s Castle”. This name was used until the 16th century, and the designation “Maid’s Castle” can be seen in other documents, such as the charters of David I.
There are other sources that link the name of the castle with the legend of King Arthur and the “Cult of the Nine Maidens”. According to legend, this place once served as a shrine and belonged to one of the nine sisters, the powerful sorceress Morgana la Phi.
Another early medieval mention of Castle Rock can be found in an important literary artifact, the epic Welsh poem ‘And Gododdin’, where Castle Rock is referred to as ‘Eidin’s citadel’. Among all these different stories and references, Edinburgh Castle is indeed shrouded in many myths and legends.
By the end of the 12th century, the legendary castle was occupied by the British, but then returned to King William the Lion and became the main repository of official state papers in Scotland. In addition to the occupation, other turbulent events took place in the castle: the Wars of Scottish Independence, the construction of the Tower of David, the Siege of Lang and the Jacobite rising.
Currently, Edinburgh Castle maintains its status as “defender of the nation”, while continuing to serve as a military base. The annual highlight of the year is the Royal Edinburgh Military Band Parade, which takes place on the Castle Esplanade in August.
See also: famous castles in scotland
The importance of the castle as a national heritage in Scotland became increasingly evident in the 19th century, after which a number of restoration programs were carried out. Edinburgh Castle now makes up most of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old and New Towns of Edinburgh and houses some of the country’s most valuable national treasures, including the Crown Jewels of Scotland.
You might be forgiven for not visiting Loch Ness, Mayshowe, or Glasgow Cathedral on your trip to Scotland, but Edinburgh Castle is simply not to be missed.