Things you didn’t know about Edinburgh Castle
Steeped in history, Edinburgh Castle could tell you a few stories of what it's seen over the years. Here are just some of the interesting facts you might not know.
It’s one of Scotland’s most iconic treasures. Perched high upon an extinct volcano overlooking the Capital, this fortress as we know it today has seen the city change and grow since the 14th century. The extinct volcano is known as Castle Rock. It’s estimated to have risen 350 million years ago.
Edinburgh castle is one of Scotland’s most visited tourist attractions with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo attracting thousands of people. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable high heels or smart shoes on the cobbled streets! It’s believed the city’s name derives from Dun Eiden - fort on the hill. When it was captured, The Angles kept the Celtic for Eiden and added ‘burgh’ meaning fortress.
If you look back on the history of Scotland, you’ll find Edinburgh Castle mentioned many times throughout. It’s been many things in the past including; a palace; the residency of royalty; a prison and even a factory for making weapons!
Under constant siege, the castle was often fought over by Scotland and England; whoever ruled the fortress ruled the city and Scotland. With it witnessing many battles, naturally there are stories and sightings. The sound of drums have been heard, rumoured to be played by a headless drummer boy. Orbs are often photographed in the dungeons where prisoners where often tortured and killed. (Picture by Ronnie MacDonald)
The Crown Room
The Crown Room holds the Honours of Scotland – the crown jewels. They were used in the coronation of Mary Queen of Scots when she was only 9 months old. They’ve actually been buried three times for protection; once during the Second World War in case of invasion and twice from Oliver Cromwell, leader of invasion of Scotland.
The Stone of Destiny
The Stone of Destiny, also known as Stone of Scone, many look like an ordinary piece of sandstone, but it symbolises much more. For 700 years, it’s been fought over, hidden and stolen. Used in the coronation of the monarchs in Scotland, it was stolen by Edward I and kept enclosed under a King Edward’s chair where many English sovereigns have been crowned. Some believe it may not be the original; monks are believed to have hidden the real stone in the River Tay. It was returned to Scotland and Edinburgh Castle in 1996.
St. Margret’s chapel is the oldest building in the city. When the castle was captured in 1314, Robert the Bruce destroyed all of the buildings, except the chapel. At one point, it was used to store gunpowder! Holding only 20 people, it is still used for services.
1 o'clock fire
A tradition that dates back to 1861, the gun still fires to signal 1 o’clock. Its original purpose was to allow sailors to readjust their clocks. That means the sound of fire could be heard over 2 miles away where the port is located. Amazingly, it’s fired every day since then bar Sundays, Good Friday, Christmas Day and during the two World Wars. (Picture by Jcfrye)