7 Things You Might Not Know About Edinburgh Castle

The historic fortress at the heart of Edinburgh


The legacy at stake

Edinburgh is one of the most famous cities in the world, and the castle is the jewel in its crown. It is the heart of Scotland's heritage.

Long Shot of Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

1. The first settlers lived on Castle Rock

Edinburgh Castle overlooks the Old and New Towns from its perch on Castle Rock. This site may have been where the first inhabitants of the area settled.

Edinburgh Castle From a Distance (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

2. The castle sits on top of an extinct volcano

The castle itself comprises 27 buildings, over 2.8 hectares perched on top of an extinct volcano.

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

3. Two million people visit the Castle every year

Edinburgh Castle is a major tourist destination attracting over 2 million visitors every year. It hosts a number of well-known cultural events including the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Sunset over Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

4. The castle has been a site of conflict

During the Wars of Independence, the castle was the subject of multiple sieges with ownership of the castle changing hands several times. In 1314, the Scots regained control of the castle. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the castle was used as a military base and was a formidable stronghold used to hold prisoners of war. 

Edinburgh Castle touristsCyArk

5. The castle was home to many kings and queens

Edinburgh’s oldest building, St. Margaret’s Chapel, is named after Queen Margaret who died in the castle. King James IV was known to have hosted many banquets and state events in the Great Hall of the castle which was built for him.

Front of Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

6. King James VI was born in the Royal Palace

Mary, Queen of Scot’s initials, MAH, are engraved above the door of the Royal Palace where she gave birth to King James VI. 

Sunset on Edinburgh Castle (2019-04) by CyArkCyArk

7. The Ordnance Survey was developed in the castle

The castle is also where William Roy worked in the drawing office,  whose work led to the creation of the Ordnance Survey, the national mapping agency of the UK.  

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Credits: Story

Peter A Cox, ICOMOS, Managing Director, Carrig Conservation International Limited, and President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Energy, Sustainability and Climate Change

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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