Edinburgh’s Castle rock has been a stronghold for over 3000 years. It has dominated its surroundings with majesty for centuries. Today the castle continues to attract thousands of visitors to its rocky perch. With its ancient buildings and marvellous views, it continues to spellbound visitors from all over the world with its wonderful story.
In the Middle Ages Edinburgh became Scotland’s chief royal castle – which stands for the seat of royalty, headquarters of the sheriff of Edinburgh, military garrison and storehouse of the royal gun train, and repository of the nation’s crown jewels and state records.Impressive buildings were constructed, including the 12th-century St Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest building in Edinburgh, David’s Tower, built for David II, Robert the Bruce’s son, in the 1370s, and the monumental great hall of James IV, opened in 1511. But the long and bitter Wars of Independence with the ‘auld enemy’, England, took their toll, and the castle endured siege upon siege; Edward I, Edward III and Henry VIII all did their utmost to batter down the walls.In 1566 Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI in the royal palace within the castle. The tiny bed-closet still survives a room that has a special significance for Great Britain, for in 1603 James VI became also James I of England – the ‘Union of the Crowns’. The departure of the Scottish court for London saw much of the royal ‘glitter’ go from the castle. Thereafter the stronghold became little more than a garrison fortress and arsenal. The last sovereign to sleep there was Charles I in 1633, prior to his coronation as king of Scots.