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Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh, Scotland

On our last day during our trip to Edinburgh, we went to Edinburgh Castle. This castle sits at the end of the Royal Mile. It is quite an impressive fortress.

Edinburgh Castle definitely has a different "feel" to it compared to some of the other castles we have visited. It feels more "rugged" and worn in. That could be due to the fact it has been fought over, held, and recaptured time and time again. It is reportedly the most besieged place in Great Britain. The castle sits atop Castle Rock which is a volcanic plug in the middle of Edinburgh. The rock is estimated to have formed some 350 million years ago during the early Carboniferous period. Human occupation of the rock has been traced back to the Iron Age, or 2nd century AD. A royal castle has occupied the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until 1633. Oliver Cromwell seized the castle in in 1650. In its decline, the castle was used as a as military barracks and garrison in the 17th century and was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite rising of 1745. The One O'Clock Gun is fired every day at precisely 1:00pm, except Sunday, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Edinburgh Castle: https://www.edinburghcastle.scot

Edinburgh Castle
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Views from the castle esplanade. Hundreds of "witches" were burned at the stake on the esplanade back in the day.
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Views from the Argyle Battery, facing North
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There did not seem to be a very organized way of going through the castle, so we started in the Royal Palace. We were able to see the Honours of Scotland (similar to the Crown Jewels), which consisted of the Crown (first used in 1540), the Sceptre (given to James IV in 1494), the Sword of State (given to James IV by Pope Julius II in 1507), and also The Stone of Destiny (a large block of sandstone traditionally believed to have been part of a royal bench-throne that held sacred powers). Edward I of England removed the stone in 1296 during his Wars of Independence and sent it to Westminster Abbey. The Stone was used in coronation ceremonies of most monarchs of England, and beginning in 1714, all rulers of Great Britain. The Stone was returned to Scotland on the 700th anniversary of its removal and will only ever be removed when there is a coronation in Westminster Abbey. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed of these items.

David's Tower
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Where the Honors of Scotland were hidden during World War II
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Scottish flag
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Fireplace in Laich Hall. At the end of Laich Hall, was a little manned kiosk where you could find the history of European family names and the coat of arms. We did this and it was quite fun and I would totally recommend it. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos, I am imagining because they want you to buy the histories, which we ended up doing.
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When Mary, Queen of Scots, fled from Palace of Holyroodhouse, she came to Edinburgh Castle and gave birth to James VI and I in a tiny room known as the Birthchamber. James VI was the only known monarch to have been born at Edinburgh Castle.
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After exiting the Royal Palace, we entered Crown Square and came to The Great Hall.

The Great Hall. The Great Hall had an impressive display of military arms and armor, but unfortunately, I could not get a lot of decent pictures without a bunch of people in them.
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Stained glass windows in the Great Hall
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This iron-barred opening next to the fireplace in the Great Hall is called Laird's Lug, which served as a peephole for the king so he could spy or eavesdrop on his courtiers. Trust issues, anyone? Apparently the KGB was concerned about Laird's Lug and requested it be sealed prior to Mikhail Gorbachev's visit in 1984. Paranoid much?
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Following The Great Hall, we went into the Scottish National War Memorial. This memorial was excellent and reminded me of some of the memorials we saw in the cathedrals in London.
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We also went into the Military Prison, the Prisons of War, the Regimental Museums and the National War Museum. All four were very crowded and we couldn't really see much because the spaces were so small, with single entry and exit points.

View from a lookout near the prisons
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This castle somewhat disappointed me, mainly because of the crowds. We got there as soon as the castle opened to avoid the crowds, which clearly everyone else did. The crowds made me feel like I was at Disney World. There didn't seem to be as many rooms open as there have been in other castles and palaces and nearly all of the rooms all had single entry and exit points, which was annoying. I did enjoy the history of the castle, especially the royal connections. I definitely learned a lot about the kings and queens of Scotland, which I had no prior knowledge of.

Onto the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 09:34 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh queen castle mary crown jewels scottish scots

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