Edinburgh Castle Scotland Visit, Scottish Visit Advice, Travel Tips

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Edinburgh Castle

26 June, 2020

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Edinburgh Castle and Why You Should Visit

One of the most popular Scottish destinations is Edinburgh Castle, a fortress sitting atop Castle Rock and dominating the Edinburgh skyline.

Background

Historians and archeologists have determined that Castle Rock, a volcanic plug, has been occupied by humans since the 2nd century AD. The first royal castle was built on the site by King David I in the 12th century AD.

The use of the castle as a residency began declining in the 15th century, and it was eventually converted for military use. However, many recognized the importance of the castle to Scotland’s history, and there have been numerous restoration projects undertaken over the past 150 years to repair and preserve the castle.

If you’re visiting Edinburgh, this castle is a must-see. In this article, we will cover some of the reasons why Edinburgh Castle is so important to Scottish history, as well as some fascinating incidents that have occurred there over the centuries.

It is the face of Edinburgh and Scotland

Representations of the castle have been used in many official contexts. The castle appears on the City of Edinburgh’s coat of arms for example, as well as that of the University of Edinburgh. It has also been used as a logo by the Edinburgh Marathon, Edinburgh Rugby, and the Edinburgh Evening News.

It saw frequent military conflict over the years

Edinburgh Castle was the site of many military conflicts of the centuries, and 2014 research indicated that the castle saw no fewer than 26 documented sieges in its history. There may be more for which we have no record) As such, Edinburgh Castle could very well be one of the most besieged places in Great Britain, and the world.

The result of this is that few of the buildings that stand today are the original since many were destroyed over the year due to bombardment. However, there are exceptions, including:

  • Margaret’s Chapel, which was built during the early 12th century and considered to be the oldest building in Edinburgh
  • The Royal Palace
  • The Great Hall from the early 16th century

The Honors of Scotland were forgotten in the Castle for almost a century

The Honors of Scotland, or the Scottish Crown Jewels, include the gold and jewel-encrusted crown, the silver gilt scepter, and the sword of state. These items were ceremonial objects used in the coronation of Scottish monarchs.

In 1540 additional gemstones and gold were added to the crown. In total, 22 gemstones were added and over 1 kg of the precious yellow metal.

After the Union of 1707 united the countries of Scotland and England under the rule of one monarch, the Honors of Scotland were locked in a chest that was stored in Edinburgh Castle.

They were then forgotten for nearly a century, and in 1818, the chest was discovered by Sir Walter Scott. Since then, these items have been displayed continuously in the castle, with the exception of WWII, when they were temporarily hidden.

Conclusion

Edinburgh Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations, with over 1.4 million people visiting in a typical year.

With over 1,100 years of history occurring at this site, this remarkable castle is a can’t-miss for anyone visiting Edinburgh.

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