Edinburgh, the rolling capital of Scotland, was founded around 7th century AD. It is the second-most populous city in Scotland, right behind Glasgow. In addition, Edinburgh is also one of the world’s top festival destinations. The city is robust with a vibrant art scene, lively nightlife and popular historical attractions. Out of these attractions, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most popular and one of the most interesting. Here are our favorite 5 facts about Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburg Castle

Edinburg Castle

IT WAS BUILT NEAR A VOLCANO.

The massive and gorgeous Edinburgh Castle is about 2 miles from a nearby volcano. However, visitors don’t need to be alarmed – the volcano has not erupted in over 350 million years. Aptly named “Arthur’s Seat,” it is the main peak among the seven hills in Edinburgh. Therefore, many visitors enjoy Arthur’s Seat for hiking and walking. Some areas of the mountain are a bit more challenging than others and require a permit to rock climb.

 

IN FACT, IT WAS BUILT ON A VOLCANIC PLUG.

While the castle itself is not directly above Arthur’s Seat, it does sit atop a volcanic plug named Castle Rock. A volcanic plug is a volcanic object created from hardened magma roughly 350 million years ago. This is when the nearby volcano Arthur’s Peak erupted last.  In addition, it is believe that the first people arrived on Castle Rock during the Iron Age. If this is true, Edinburgh Castle could potentially be the longest occupied site in Scotland.

 

THE CASTLE IS KNOWN AS “THE DEFENDER OF THE NATION.”

Edinburgh Castle has a record of 26 sieges throughout its entire history. This makes it the most besieged fortress in all of Great Britain as well as one of the most attacked places in the entire world. Therefore, it has been dubbed “the defender of the nation.”

 

IT CURRENTLY STANDS AS A MILITARY BASE.

In addition to its name “the defender of the nation,” Edinburgh Castle currently serves as an active military base. The castle is an important reminder of the nation’s history and is a highlight in the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo. The British Armed Forces put on this musical performance every August.

 

IT WAS THE BIRTHPLACE OF JAMES VI AND I.

James Charles Stuart was born in Edinburgh Castle in 1566. He was King of Scotland as James VI and King of England and Ireland as James I.  James acceded to all three thrones and reigned for 22 years until his death. After that, scholars referred to this time as the Jacobean era. He even sponsored the translation of the Bible into English, which is now known as the King James Version.

 

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