Standing on the basalt core of an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle is a remarkable assemblage of buildings dating from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries, reflecting its altering function as fortress, royal palace, army garrison, and state prison.
There’s proof of Bronze Age occupation of the location, which takes its name from Dun Eidin, a Celtic fortress captured by King Oswald of North umbria within the seventh century. The fortress was a favourite royal residence till the Union of the Crowns in 1603, after which the king resided in England. After the Union of Parliaments in 1707, the Scottish Crown Jewels have been walled up within the palace for more than one hundred years. The castle is now the zealous possessor of the Stone of Destiny, a relic of old Scottish kings that was seized by the English and returned in 1996.
THE FAMOUS STONE
The origins of Stone of Destiny are steeped in myth. It’s stated to have been Jacob’s pillow when he dreamed “”that the angels of God were descending to Earth from heaven“. Scottish kings sat on the stone during coronation. lt was stored in Scone, Perthshire, which is why it’s often referred to as The Stone of Scone. The stone was seized on Edward I’s invasion of Scotland in 1296 and brought to Westminster Abbey, where it was stored for seven hundred years. In 1996, the stone was finally transported to Edinburgh Castle, where it stays today.
Edinburgh Castle is set within the Midland valley of Scotland. The rocky volcanic outcrops of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags dominate Edinburgh’s skyline. Salisbury Crags are igneous rocks uncovered by the tilting of native rock and erosion by glaciers. Arthur’s Seat is the remnant of a Carboniferous volcano, partly eroded by glacial activity.
Since 1947, for three weeks over the summer, Edinburgh has hosted art festival, with each accessible venue overflowing with worldwide artists and performers. The festival is a thrilling fusion of movie, music, theater, dance, comedy, and literature. The main attraction is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, held each evening on the Esplanade. The best military bands perform, with bagpipers and drummers from Scottish regiments in full regalia.