Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NG, United Kingdom
GPS: 55.948638700326, -3.1998170956849
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s most visited site, is a former royal bastion built in the Middle Ages. The construction of the fortress is thought to have begun in the 12th century, on a place occupied by man since the Bronze Age (2nd century AD). A national jewel, Edinburgh Castle stands proudly on a vast rock (Castle Rock) overlooking the Scottish capital, on the very site of an ancient volcano. The architecture of its stone buildings is a reminder of the city’s history and how it has changed over the centuries.
It was King David I, on his accession to the throne of the Kingdom of Alba, who introduced feudalism to the country and undertook the construction of several lordships. Edinburgh Castle became a royal residence and place of coronation before being used as military barracks. In the 14th century, the castle was marked by many conflicts, including the Wars of Scottish Independence against English forces. Rebuilt after the signing of the Treaty of Berwick in 1357, Edinburgh Castle was attacked again two centuries later under the command of Olivier Cromwell in 1651 leading to the formation of the republican government of the Commonwealth of England (after the victorious conquest of Scotland and Ireland). From the beginning of the 17th century, the site was transformed into a prison and housed a large garrison of soldiers. Its singular blend of architectural styles perfectly reflects the complex and sometimes bloody history of the estate. According to specialists, Edinburgh Castle has suffered nearly thirty military sieges in its history, making it one of the most besieged fortified sites in the United Kingdom. One of these led to the incorporation of the Kingdom of Scotland into the new Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 under Queen Anne (Stuart Dynasty).
Edinburgh Castle is famous for housing the Scottish Crown Jewels (Honours of Scotland, the oldest in Europe) and the famous Stone of Destiny. This Scone stone has been used for the coronation ceremonies of Scottish and English monarchs for many centuries. The castle site has a dense system of fortifications dating from the late 16th century (Half Moon Battery) and includes a huge cannon (Mons Meg, built in the 15th century) with an impressive firing range of over 3 kilometres. While the city has seen a growing increase in tourist numbers in recent years thanks to the hit Harry Potter films, Edinburgh Castle has set a new record with over 2 million visitors in 2017.