Edinburgh Castle is perhaps one of the most important Scottish castles - it's certainly one of the most famous!
It sits high on volcanic rock (known as Castle Rock), more than 250 ft. above the city of Edinburgh. In fact its' impressive rocky foundation is actually a 70 million year old extinct volcano!
Archaeologists have found evidence that there was a settlement on Castle Rock, as long ago as 850BC, and a basic hill fort during the Iron Age. It's history as the home to many of Scotlands' Kings and Queens may have begun as early as the 12th century AD.
Up until the 16th century, Edinburgh Castle was also often called the 'Castle of Maidens' or the 'Maidens Castle'.
In 1130AD, it's believed that King David I considerably altered and fortified the original 'Castle of Maidens', which included the addition of a small, stone chapel dedicated to his mother Margaret (who was later to become St. Margaret).
Today that chapel, St. Margarets' Chapel, is the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh.
Between the late 13th century and the middle of the 18th century, this Scotland castle was at the center of the familiar tug-o-war between the Scots and the English.
This constant conflict resulted in almost on-going repairs, renovations and additions to the castle including....
Whew, with all that constant work, it's not suprising that Edinburgh Castle is such an imposing structure and that it has played such an important role in the military and defensive history of Scotland.
Today it houses 'The Honours of Scotland' (the Scottish Crown Jewels), is an active military base and is the site of the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo which is centered around a stunning parade of the pipes and drums of the Scottish regiments - a spectacle that often attracts an audience of well over 200,000 people.
Not surprisingly perhaps, this Scottish castle is Edinburgh’s most popular attraction, seeing over 1.25 million visitors a year.
The castle is so well-known that it has now become a recognizable symbol of Edinburgh, (and of Scotland) appearing on on the coat of arms of the City of Edinburgh, certain Scottish bank notes, and even postage stamps.
Interesting historical facts about this castle.....
Parts of Edinburgh Castle and several exhibitions are open to the public.