Edinburgh Castle dominates the city of Edinburgh like no other castle in Scotland, and Edinburgh Castle is unequalled in the whole of the British Isles. Over one thousand years of history sit on top of the famous Edinburgh rock, and when you see Edinburgh Castle you will understand why over a million visitors a year visit Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle Map
This six gun battery together with Mill’s MountBattery (to its west) and the low defenses below it were the main northern defense of the castle. It was rebuilt in the 1730s to its present condition and each turret houses a cast iron, muzzle-loading 18 pound guns made during the Napoleonic Wars about 1810.
This small chapel, built by King David 1st (1124-53), is the oldest structure still atanding in the castle today. It was built to commemorate Saint Margaret, King David’s mother, who died in the castle in 1093. It was used by the Royals as a private place of prayer up until the 16th century when it was used to store gunpowder. It was restored as a chapel in 1845. The chapel contains a gospel book peviously owned by St. Margaret. The beautiful stained glass windows, designed by Douglas Strachan and installed in 1922, depict St. Andrew, St. Columba, St Margaret and Sir William Wallace.
The Scottish National War Memorial occupies a converted barrack block on the north side of Crown Square. It stands on the site of the medieval St. Mary’s Church which was rebuilt in 1366, and was converted into an armoury in 1540. It was demolished in 1755, and the masonry reused to build a new North Barrack Block on the site. Proposals for a Scottish National War Memorial were put forward in 1917, during the First World War, and the architect Sir Robert Lorimer was appointed in 1919. Construction began in 1923, and the memorial was formally opened on 14 July 1927 by the Prince of Wales. The exterior is decorated with gargoyles and sculpture, while the interior contains monuments to individual regiments. The stained-glass windows are by Douglas Strachan.
This building was opened on 14th July 1927 as a memorial to the Scottish dead of the 1st World War 1914-18 by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII).
In the Middle Ages St. Mary’s Church stood on this site. In 1540 it was converted into a munition house then demolished in 1755 to make room for the North Barracks. The building was improved in 1863 by Robert Billings to give it a more picturesque appearance. The army vacated the building in 1923 and Sir Robert Lorimer adapted it as the National Shrine. The building also commemorates the men who fell in the Second World War 1939-45.
The Palace was the official royal residence of the later Stewart kings and queens. Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to the future King James VI (and 1st of England) on 19th June 1566 in a small chamber room known as Queen Mary’s Room. The Palace took a battering during the Lang Seige, but in 1617 it was remodelled inside and out to it’s present state for King James VI’s ‘hamecoming’ from London (his only visit back to Scotland). The Palace is home to the Honours or Regalia of Scotland, the Scottish Crown Jewels which are on display in the Crown Room along with the Stone of Destiny, Scotland’s coranation stone which was returned to Scotland in 1996. I got into the Palace, unfortunately photography is prohibited in the inside of a castle as a general rule.
Great Hall and Queen Anne Building, Crown SquareThe great hall was built before the death of King James IV in 1513.
It served as the main hall for state assembly in the castle. During Cromwell’s occupation in the 1650s the hall was converted into soldiers’ barracks and was altered in 1737 to accommodate 312 men. With the building of the New Barracks 1796-9, the Great Hall was converted into a hospital until 1887. It was then fancifully restored by the architect Hippolyte Blanc who is responsible for much of the way the Great Hall looks today.
Queen Anne Building
In the later Middle Ages, this location seems to have served as kitchens to the Great Hall as well as the Gunhouse. The design of the present building is thought to have been inspired by the French invasion scare of 1708 (being built this year) and provided the quarters for staff officers, accommodating the barrack master, master gunner, school master and chaplain. It was rebuilt in 1933 as the Naval and MilitaryMuseum to complement the Scottish National War Memorial.
I left the Edinburgh Castle at 1:00 and went to the royal mile.