In this ongoing series, I provide brief glimpses into the historical goldmine that is Scotland. My goal here is to share my country’s rich history and to provide insights into its people, customs and culture. Last month, I covered the life of William Wallace, one of Scotland’s most admired heroes. This month, I will discuss one of Scotland’s most beloved and important landmarks: Edinburgh Castle.
Scotland is well-known for its rocky cliffs, acres of green grass and the Loch Ness monster. But when you think of Scotland, you undoubtedly cannot shake the image of large, painstakingly detailed castles sitting high above the rocky shores of the country. Scotland is famous for having well over 2,000 castles in its storied history. But its most famous castle is undoubtedly Edinburgh Castle. Located in Edinburgh, the castle sits atop Castle Rock overlooking the grand capital city. And although the castle is absolutely stunning and emits an almost peaceful glow, it has been surrounded by constant conflict.
Because of the castle’s location in Edinburgh, it has been widely accepted that, whomever controls Edinburgh castle, controls Scotland. This was very tempting for neighbouring countries, particularly England. More specifically, during the 13th and 14th century, King Edward I of England would constantly attempt to take the Scottish throne; this resulted in two Scottish Wars for Independence. This political turmoil left the castle in disrepair.
Luckily, once the wars had been finished, David II watched over the reconstruction of the castle, which resulted in the construction of David’s Tower, a 30-metre-tall tower that was the height of luxury in Scotland, and would eventually house the Scotland’s Crown Jewels during World War II. The castle was then used as a war prison during the 18th and 19th century, and after a major prison break in 1814, the castle was declared a national monument.
Currently, the castle is a major tourist attraction, bringing in over one million visitors each year. If you ever get the chance to visit Scotland, make sure to visit Edinburgh castle and witness, first-hand, the sheer amount of history that the castle represents.