What is Edinburgh Castle Famous For?

A striking medieval castle overlooking Edinburgh’s gorgeous city and is also liked and tagged by millions on social media. But what is Edinburgh Castle so famous for? 

What is Edinburgh Castle Famous For?
Image by Dave Bradford from Pixabay

Facts that Edinburgh Castle is well-known for:

  • Built on top of volcano rock called “Castle Rock.”
  • One of the oldest fortified buildings in Europe 
  • Have been Besieged 23 times 
  • St. Margaret’s Chapel within the courtyard is the oldest building in Scotland, 
  • A gun kept on the walls since 1861 that still fires every day.
  • The royal residence of many kings and queens of Scotland…

If in short…., but there are way more events that brought Edinburgh Castle worldwide popularity.

Edinburgh Castle, Scotland’s most famous castle

Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most famous stronghold, one of the U.K.’s most iconic medieval courts and one of the most fortified castles in all of Europe.

 It is also the U.K.’s second most visited paid tourist attraction. Part of the reason it’s so famous is that it sits on an igneous rock (Castle Rock), the rock itself has a history of thousands of years of volcanic activity.

Unlike other hilltop castles, the rock beneath Edinburgh castle is unique, as archaeologists have detected a presence of humans occupying it since the Iron age, around 850 BC.

But, when architects decided to build Edinburgh Castle, they built directly on top of the plug, the volcanoes vent.

Castle Rock is also iconic because the castle’s walls dissolve into the rock and the rock enhances the castle’s defence, allowing people to look out and protect Scotland’s capital.

Another reason behind Edinburgh Castle’s popularity is that it’s housed many royals in particular Scottish monarchs until 1633. After the 17th century, the scots used the castle as a military barracks and a large garrison.

Throughout its years of existence, Edinburgh Castle has remained at the centre of many battles, particularly wars to claim Scotland’s independence. 

Edinburgh Castle's main entrance view
Picture by duluoz cats on flickr.com

The researchers from 2014 indicate that the castle has had 23 sieges since its foundation, reason why its also called the strongest castle in the world.

Speaking of the military, the castle is a military station and is home to the Scottish War memorial. Most importantly, the castle houses the Crown Jewels (Honours of Scotland) and Destiny’s Stone.

Edinburgh Castle is filled with history and the home of Scotland’s entertainment. They convert the castle esplanade into a unique concert venue in the summertime.

This has been happening for the past 16 years and has had many famous people play. Such famous people have been The Script, Olly Murs, Rod Stewart, Paul Weller, Deacon Blue, The Proclaimers, Kylie Minogue and Westlife.

The castle is also home to many festivals, one of the most renowned ones is The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, occurring every August.

This is where the British armed forces, commonwealth, military bands and international artists perform. The Tattoo is international as its organizers spend a lot of time travelling the world looking for acts to play and perform.

However, tourists flood the castle nowadays, not just for the castle itself but also for almost 360 degrees views of the breathtaking surroundings.

We were imprest by its height when approaching the castle, as we later found out that it’s the tallest one in Scotland.

Many of you who have visited the city of Edinburgh won’t judge me harshly if I say this is the most beautiful and well-preserved city in the U.K.

When my wife and I went to Edinburgh for the first time, it felt like this we have been sent back a hundred years, ”if not consider the busses and a ton of tourists”.

Who was Edinburgh Castle built for?

Edinburgh Castle has been home to many English and Scottish monarchs. Since its beginnings, its habitants fought many battles to win occupancy of the castle. 

Initially, King David 1st, son of St Margaret of Scotland build Edinburg Castle for himself, a home and shelter from where he could rule the country.

Edinburgh Castle birds-eye view
Picture by Ben on flickr.com

At the time, this was just a structure known as Edinburgh castle. The structure was 443 feet- 135 metres above sea level. If you visit the castle today, you will still see some of this construction.

Who lives at Edinburgh Castle?

Today, you’ll find no one living in Edinburgh Castle. It is a tourist attraction owned by the Scottish Government and is also the home to the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s headquarters. Historic Scotland runs the castle, and you can visit it yourself.

In terms of visiting, this is a popular attraction, and it’s best to book tickets in advance. 

If you have children under 16, they have free entry, but the admission prices change regularly. To know further, it’s best to check Edinburgh Castle’s website.

How old is Edinburgh Castle?

Edinburgh Castle was built in 1103 and is over 918 years old. Just 27 years later in 1130, King David I officially established Edinburgh city as a Royal borough of Scotland. 

With Edinburgh Castle’s intention being a royal fortress, looking over the city’s residents.

Does the queen ever stay at Edinburgh Castle?

Queen Elizabeth II never stays at Edinburgh Castle. Even though there’s plenty of space and provisions (if required), she could. Nowadays the owners use Edinburgh Castle as a little garrison for ceremonies and barracks.

When Queen Elizabeth II stays in Scotland, she resides at her privately owned castle known as The Palace Holyrood House in Balmoral. She mainly stays here when she has to attend meetings and ceremonies in Scotland.

What was Edinburgh called before?

Edinburgh is a city name commonly used by Scottish and British people. However, there have been many rumours about what it was called prior. 

According to The Scotsman, it’s believed that Edinburgh was known as ‘Edwin’s Burgh’ which had some relation to the King of Northumbria in the 7th century, King Edwin.

Burgh is an old English word that also means fort. More evidence suggests that a 7th century tribe who officially gave England its name known as the Anglins attacked another tribe the Goddins and then invaded the fort (Edinburgh Castle).

It’s then believed that the Anglins got the name “Eiden” and joined it together with “Burgh” creating the word Edinburgh.

Who was born in Edinburgh Castle?

One of the most important and significant events of Scottish history is when Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son, King James VI of Scotland and England. 

It was so important that her son was born in Edinburgh Castle.

It’s unique because Mary chose to flee her former location Holyrood House to live in Edinburgh Castle, as it had been attacked by a large gang of nobles previously. 

When Mary lived there, she lived on the ground floor and had all of her furniture installed.

Is Edinburgh Castle worth going inside?

Those who have high expectations from a medieval castle might be disappointed as there is not a lot left inside from medieval times.

Castle still serves as a military garrison today, and you’ll find during your tour that many rooms have a modern decoration.

Inside Edinburgh castle's great hall
Picture by Ewan McIntosh on flickr.com

However, as we are all different, many tourists are more than satisfied with Edinburgh castle’s experience.

Even when there are covid restrictions, castle enthusiasts are queuing up to see St. Margaret’s Chapel, the interior of the castles and the gun that fires at 1 pm every day since 1681, except Sunday.

 Final Thoughts

Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s most popular tourist attraction and the second most popular in the U.K. It’s over 900 years old and has been the centre of Scottish independence’s many royal battles.

The castle itself is built on a dormant volcano where archaeologists have detected human remains since before the ice age. Alongside its history, it’s home to many concerts and one of Scotland’s most famous festivals, The Military Tattoo.

Finally, the castle’s admission prices vary, but you should book your tickets in advance. This is an attraction you don’t want to miss if you’re in the U.K.

Do Scottish castles inspire you? I believe you should know which one is the biggest and how many are actually in Scotland?

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