Scottish Saltire - St. Andrew's Cross Scotland from the Roadside... a journey round Scotland!

Southern Scotland
Edinburgh Castle
Lower Ward
Middle Ward
One O'Clock Gun
Upper Ward
St. Margaret's Chapel
Crown Square
Royal Palace
Great Hall
National War Memorial

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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle
(See the galleries for more photos of  Edinburgh Castle!)

Edinburgh Castle sits on top of Castle Rock, at the upper, western, end of the Royal Mile. The castle holds a very prominent position in the city of Edinburgh and can be seen for miles around.

The rock itself is an extinct volcano that was formed about 340 million years ago. The summit is 443ft above sea level, approximately 270ft above the valley to the north, where the Nor' Loch used to be.

There is evidence of a Bronze Age fort on the rock dating back to c.1000 BC. However, the first recorded fort, which was known as Din Eidyn, or Fort of Eidyn, dates from around 600 AD. The first mention of an actual castle on the hill was in 1093, when Queen Margaret died there – four days after the death of her husband, Malcolm III, and their oldest son. King Edgar, another of their sons, died there in 1107. The oldest building in the castle, and in Edinburgh itself, is St. Margaret’s Chapel, which was built c.1100 by David I.

The castle changed hands, between the Scots and the English, many times from the 12th to 14th centuries. In 1314 the castle was destroyed, apart from St. Margaret’s Chapel, on the orders of Robert the Bruce to stop it from being used by the English again. Much of the eastern side of the castle was destroyed during the Lang Siege of 1571-73.

Most of the present castle dates from the 15th to 18th centuries and is visited by over a million people each year. Entry to the castle is over the esplanade, which was created in 1753 and leads to the gatehouse. The castle itself consists of three levels, which are known as wards:

  • the Lower Ward runs from the gatehouse to the portcullis gate and includes the old guardhouse;
  • the Middle Ward was developed from the 15th century as a service area for the main castle complex;
  • the Upper Ward marks the summit of the castle rock and was the heart of the medieval castle and forts that preceded it.

Crown Square, which is also known as the citadel, sits at the highest point within the Upper Ward; this was created in the 15th century as the principal courtyard of the castle.

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Scotland from the Roadside 2002-10 - e-mail southernhighlands/glencoe.htm" with any comments!