Edinburgh Castle | The Scottish Capital’s Imposing Fortress

(Originally published on our sister site British-Castles.com)

Edinburgh Castle holds a long history and several years of battles. It is one of the most enthralling sites in Scotland.

With breath-taking views and stories, this Castle is open to the public after serving as a home to many monarchs and military bases.

Edinburgh Castle

Perched on Castle Rock in Edinburgh, the storied Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland’s oldest national treasures.

As an integral part of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site, this centuries-old castle nestles within what’s known as the Old Town of the capital city. From its location at the western edge of Old Town, the Royal Mile carves a scenic path to the top of the naturally fortifying volcanic rock.

The presence of this massive castle complex is all-defining, steeping the entire city in its past. While towering 430 feet above sea level, this icon of Scotland is visible from multiple sites within Edinburgh, including Princes Street Gardens, The Vennel, Castle Street, Grassmarket and Arthur’s Seat.


Where Is Edinburgh Castle?

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Situated in Western Europe, Edinburgh Castle is in the heart of Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most enthralling historical sites with a breath-taking view. It is an ancient royal residence and has been home to several kings, queens, and military troops.


When Was It Built And By Whom?

When was it built?

The Edinburgh Castle was built in the 11th century. The many owners of the Castle have transformed it right through to the 21st century.

How was it built?

Several hundred million years ago, a volcanic eruption led to the formation of the Castle rock on which the Edinburgh Castle stands.

The Castle was built in the year 1103. The Castle served as a royal residence and a military base for a long time.

Who built it?

The Son of Saint Margaret of Scotland (see below), King David 1st, built a tall structure standing at 443 feet (135 meters above sea level). This structure is now Edinburgh Castle.


What Is The History Of Edinburgh Castle?

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The Edinburgh Castle has served as a royal residence to several English and Scottish Monarchs.

Margaret Queen of Scots, also known as Saint Margaret of Scotland, took her dying breath there in 1093, just days after learning that her husband, King Malcolm III, and her beloved eldest son Edward had died in the Battle of Alnwick. It was widely rumoured that she died of a broken heart.

After Margaret’s death, a surviving son, who became King David I, built a chapel in her honour, which stands now as the oldest remaining building of the original castle complex.


Castle Battles

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Many battles have broken about the control of the Castle because the owner and controller of the Castle would serve as the ruler of Edinburgh. Thereby, the ruler of the capital city would rule the whole of Scotland.

Beginning of the battle

In the late 13th century, Edward 1st triggered the beginning of the battle by trying to take the throne of Edinburgh. The battle continued until the 16th century, when the English monarchy tried to capture Mary, Queen of Scots. They attempted to capture her in a siege, which lasted for two years.

English forces capture the Castle.

In the year 1650, Charles 1st was executed, and the English forces took over the Castle and the whole of the country.

Many Scottish rulers tried to recapture the Castle, and the attempts lasted till 1757. Later, from 1757 till the early 19th century, the Scottish forces used the Castle to imprison the English military prisoners.

Scottish National War Memorial

From the early 19th century, a military base used the Castle, and it also became a famous tourist attraction worldwide.

In 1975, certain chambers of the Castle became Scottish National War Memorial.


Edinburgh Castle Today

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The Crown of Scotland

Edinburgh Castle today is run by the Historic Environment Scotland, a government entity. While the Scottish Army retains a presence in the New Barracks block, Edinburgh Castle primarily thrives today as a tourist attraction.

It cradles one of the country’s most cherished possessions, the Honours of Scotland, which comprises the national crown jewels (including the Crown of Scotland, pictured).

Other poignant pieces of the past include the Mons Meg medieval cannon gifted to King James II and the Half Moon Battery, as well as the sacred Stone of Destiny, birth chamber of James V1, and massive Great Hall with its original wooden roof and carved stone symbols.


How To See The Castle?

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The Castle is open to the public. You can pay a visit to the Castle by booking a ticket online or onsite.

The opening times of the Castle differ in winter and summer. However, the Castle is open throughout the day.

If you visit during lunchtime, you will see the ‘One O’clock Gun’ firing.


Wrapping Up

Edinburgh Castle makes one of the most famous tourist sites worldwide. The Castle has scenic and marvellous architecture. The contrast shows in its brutal history.

Edinburgh Castle is open to the public. Hence, you can pay a visit to the magnificent Castle and learn more about it.


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