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Edinburgh (Dun Eideann).
Edinburgh Castle.

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Audrey Delange

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Edinburgh Castle:

It is said that Edinburgh Castle is unequalled in the whole of the British Isles. When you first see the castle you will notice that it dominates the entire city of Edinburgh.

Once you see Edinburgh Castle, you will understand why over a million visitors a year visit Edinburgh Castle.

When you come to Scotland and visit Edinburgh Castle it is easy to see why the early inhabitants of the area we now call Edinburgh, made their first settlements here, in what is now the city of Edinburgh.

People have always sought a safe place for refuge, and the volcanic rock that forms the base of the Edinburgh Castle, affords the best safe and defensive position in all of the Edinburgh area.

Here is a brief history:

The Castle rock was formed about 70 million years ago. Archaeological excavations in Edinburgh Castle have uncovered evidence that Bronze - Age man was living upon the rock as long ago as in about 850 BC. Two thousand years ago, during the Iron Age, the rock did have a hill-fort settlement on its summit.

The surrounding city of Edinburgh grew outwards from the volcanic Castle rock which supports the castle and the first houses in Edinburgh were built upon the area in front of Edinburgh Castle, which is now known as the Lawnmarket, and then the house building continued down the High Street and The Cannongate towards the Royal Palace of Holyrood House. These streets now collectively form a single street known as The Royal Mile. The Royal Mile acquired its name over the ages as the various Scottish and English kings, queens and royalty in general, have travelled to and fro between the Palace of Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle - therefore the name, The Royal Mile.

In about AD 600, 300 men gathered with their King; Mynyddog, in his stronghold of Din Eidyn. This is the first mention of the place, which we now call Edinburgh. Mynyddog's war - band was preparing to attack the Angles, who were recent heathen invaders from Europe. His war - band pledged themselves to die for their King and almost all did surely die, on a raid into the territories held by the Angles, in Yorkshire. Later on, in AD 638, Din Eidyn was besieged and taken by the Angles and Din Eidyn seems then to have been given the English name, which it is known as today - Edinburgh.

Our next knowledge of Edinburgh concerns Queen Margaret, the wife of Malcolm III. She was seriously ill in Edinburgh Castle and in 1093AD; she was brought the news that her husband had been killed at Alnwick in Northumberland. She was so broken-hearted that she too died. Both husband and wife were buried side by side in the church at Dunfermline. Later on Queen Margaret was made a saint by Pope Innocent IV in 1250. A tiny chapel was built on the summit of the Castle rock in the early twelfth century. It is dedicated to her memory and it is the oldest building in Edinburgh Castle.

Next in 1296 AD, Edward I of England invaded Scotland. He besieged and captured Edinburgh Castle.

Later during the night of March 14, 1314 AD, Sir Thomas Randolph, the nephew of King Robert the Bruce, and his men climbed the north face of Edinburgh Castle rock. They took the English by surprise and took possession of Castle back. Robert the Bruce immediately ordered that Edinburgh castle be dismantled; "lest the English ever afterwards might lord it over the land by holding the castles". Then three months later, on June 24. 1314AD; near Stirling, the Scottish army defeateded the English during the Battle of Bannockburn.

In 1449 AD, James II married Mary of Gueldres in the Holyrood Abbey.

Then in 1449 AD, a great siege gun was made for the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Burgundy. In 1457 AD, the Mons Meg (as it is now called) was shipped to Scotland as a present to the King and Queen. Three years later the King was killed at the siege of Roxburgh Castle by one of his own guns (not the Mons Meg). The Mons Meg was kept with the rest of the royal guns in Edinburgh Castle and it was used against the English and against rebellious Scottish noblemen. Later in 1681, during a birthday salute for the Duke of Albany (later James VII and II, the last Stewart King) its barrel exploded and it was discarded beside the Foog's Gate in Edinburgh Castle. Today the restored Mons Meg can now be viewed now on the upper level of Edinburgh Castle.

During July 1565 AD, Mary Queen of Scots married her first cousin and second husband, Henry, Lord Darnley. About a year later, on 19 June 1566, she gave birth to their first child, Prince James, in Edinburgh Castle.

Then on 16 May 1568 AD, Mary, Queen of Scots, fled to England with her infant son James who later on became King of Scots. She left behind a divided nation with Sir William Kirkcaldy of Grange the keeper of Edinburgh Castle.

Later, in 1571 AD he decided to openly support the exiled Queen Mary. The King's supporters immediately laid siege to the castle for two years - hence its name - the "Lang (long) Siege". Sir William Kirkcaldy's defence Edinburgh Castle ended only after England sent a large force and heavy artillery to the castle, led by the Regent Morton.

Then in May 1573 AD, after an eleven - day bombardment, the east wall defences of the castle came crashing to the ground. Sir William Kirkcaldy surrendered and was executed. Almost immediately the Regent Morton began rebuilding the castle. Much of what you can see today dates from this date; including the mighty Half-Moon Battery, and the Portcullis Gate.

In 1688 AD, the Protestant, William of Orange, landed in England and the Catholic James VII of Scotland and II of England, the last Stewart King, fled into exile.

William and his wife Mary (James VII's elder daughter) were proclaimed joint sovereigns of England. The Scots did not agree.

The Duke of Gordon, a firm supporter of King James, was the governor of Edinburgh Castle and he prepared the castle for defence. A siege of the castle began in March 1689 and lasted for three months, during which time William and Mary were offered, and accepted the Scottish Crown.

On June 13, 1689 AD, Gordon surrendered Edinburgh Castle. It proved to be the last real military action the castle saw.

In the Jacobite Uprisings of 1715 AD and 1745 AD, Edinburgh Castle was only picketed by the supporters of the "Old Pretender" and "Bonnie Prince Charlie" but it was never seriously threatened.

On March 19, 1707 AD, the Act uniting Scotland and England was passed in the Scottish Parliament. The Crown, Sword and Sceptre were brought back to Edinburgh Castle and locked away.

People began to wonder whether the honours of Scotland, as they were known, really survived.

Then in February 1818, Sir Walter Scott, with permission from the Prince Regent, entered the room where the Honours had supposedly been locked away. There they were, lying at the bottom of a chest covered with linen cloths "exactly as they had been left".

They were put on display in the very room where they were discovered; beginning Edinburgh Castle's new role in life, as Scotland's premier visitor attraction.

The Edinburgh Airport (IATA: EDI, ICAO: EGPH) is located at Turnhouse in the City of Edinburgh, Scotland, and it is the busiest airport in Scotland. It is located 5 nautical miles (9.3 km; 5.8 miles west of the city center.

There are several hotels in the Edinburgh area.

There are several Guided Tour Agencies offering standard city, and historical tours of Edinburgh and the surrounding area.

After arranging your flight we would suggest getting your hotel and then letting them arrange tours of the area for you. If you call the hotels Concierge Services ahead of your arrival, all of this can be pre-arranged for you.

We do this all the time. It is safe and it works!!! We have never experienced a problem doing it this way!

We have links to Priceline.Com on our page so that you can arrange your flight and hotel in the Edinburgh area.

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