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Edinburgh Castle
Castle Rock, Edinburgh, Scotland
associated engineer
Not known
date  1356 onwards
era  Medieval  |  category  Castle  |  reference  NT250735
Edinburgh Castle is situated on Castle Rock, a steep-sided volcanic outcrop in the centre of the city. People have lived on this rock since the Bronze Age. The building became Scotland's main royal castle in the Middle Ages, when King David I built here. The oldest building in the castle complex (and in the city of Edinburgh), St Margaret's Chapel, is dedicated to his mother and was constructed in around 1130.
The castle came under siege during the Wars of Independence between Scotland and England in the 13th and 14th centuries. In 1314 it was dismantled on the orders of Robert the Bruce, lest it fall into English hands.
The present complex took shape over several centuries and it includes various additional buildings. King David II, son of Robert the Bruce, instigated the reconstruction of the castle proper in 1356. David's Tower — named after him — was built some time before his death in 1371. The tower was destroyed in the Lang Siege of 1571-73, which damaged the eastern part of the castle. The Great Hall of King James IV opened in 1511. It is 29m long and 12.5m wide.
In 1566, King James VI was born in the castle to Mary Queen of Scots. He became king of England as well as Scotland in 1603. The last royal sleepover was by King Charles I in 1633. More rebuilding work in 1574-78 added the Half-Moon Battery and Portcullis Gate. The castle was renovated again in 1615-17 and 1887-91.
Oliver Cromwell captured the Edinburgh Castle in 1650, and it came under siege again during the Jacobite rebellions of the 17th and 18th centuries. Between 1757 and 1814, it was used to hold prisoners of war. In 1831, the now famous one o’clock gun was fired for the first time, and it is still fired at that time every day except Sundays.
The complex has been used as an army base since 1745. It houses two Scottish regiments and the Scottish National War Memorial, which opened in 1927. The castle is a popular tourist attraction and has been the venue for the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo since 1950.
In 1995, the old and new town areas of Edinburgh, includng the castle, were designated a World Heritage Site. In 1996, the Stone of Destiny (coronation stone) was returned here from Westminster in London, after 800 years.
In October 2009, rock stabilisation work was carried out to the basalt rock underlying the castle.
Architect (1887-91): Hippolyte Blanc
Rock stabilisation (2009): Trac Engineering
Research: ECPK

Edinburgh Castle