Buildings Etc, Edinburgh
Castle Rock is where Edinburgh began. Much damaged and often changing hands in the long and punishing wars of independence against England, Edinburgh Castle began to assume its present appearance in 1356.
In the fifteenth century King James III began using the Castle as an ordnance factory - which must have dramatically reduced its desirability as a residence! It was sacked for the last time in 1573, falling to the English after Mary Queen of Scots was brought down. (Her son, King James IV, was born in Edinburgh Castle. He later reunited the crowns of Scotland and England as James VI of Scotland and I of England.
Repaired and strengthened, the Castle became an even more formidable fortress, resisting all major assaults until 1745.
In 1753 began the construction of the esplanade, the ceremonial parade ground in front of the Castle where the Tattoo now takes place. Sixty years later the esplanade was broadened and prettified with walls and railings, the Castle's function as a fortress had ended.
The Castle remains the headquarters of the 52nd Infantry Brigade and houses several regimental headquarters. It is home to a number of military museums and contains the Scottish National War Memorial.
Members of the Royal Artillery fire the famous one O'Clock gun at Edinburgh Castle. It is Britain's second most popular tourist attraction and rises magnificently each year to the occasion of the Tattoo. All its atmosphere, power and majesty affirm that this was the proudest and mightiest fortress in the land, a residence and stronghold of kings.
In the year 1825 the New Town of Edinburgh was already well developed and the south side of Carlton Hill was the only land left which was suitable for the buiilding of this school. The Royal High School was designed by Thomas Hamilton and it was constructed between 1825 - 1829. The building is graced by Greek Doric columns a nice idea taken from the Temple of Theseus over looking Athens. The Royal High School has moved on to more modern premises, but since it's school days it was considered as a site for the new Scottish Parliament in 1999. I do so regret this decision - the ultra modern Scottish Parliament looks so out of place in Edinburgh far less Athens!
Queensberry House was built in 1651and was first owned by Lord Queensberry. The house has a dark secret in Edinburgh's grizzly past - a servant boy was supposedly roasted on a spit by a Dukes son while the Duke tried to placate the rioting crowds outside. Down through history the house changed is residents becoming various hospitals and was bought by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries - maybe too much beer was drunk to create the morbid story.
Today, on Historic Scotland's insistance, Queensberry House has been restored and become an intergral part of the Scottish Parliament. In my opinion the only nice part of the complex.
This photo was taken in the old town on the Royal Mile. This area was mostly made up of tenement type housing like this one but apparently the buildings were very much mixed class. It just worked that the poorest people tended to live on the lower floors and the richest on the top floors!
You have to go to the Castle at least once. Having Scottish roots, I was very interested in learning as much history as I could and the Castle has plenty to share. Scottish history gives you some insight into the current culture. The Scotts seem to have a tremendous sense of pride about their heritage. Of course, people are people wherever you go and, to some, Edinburgh is just a place they happen to live in now. Pitty.