Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock. Archaeologists have established human occupation of the rock since at least the Iron Age (2nd century AD), although the nature of the early settlement is unclear. There has been a royal castle on the rock since at least the reign of David I in the 12th century, and the site continued to be a royal residence until the Union of the Crowns in 1603. From the 15th century the castle's residential role declined, and by the 17th century it was principally used as military barracks with a large garrison. Its importance as a part of Scotland's national heritage was recognised increasingly from the early 19th century onwards, and various restoration programmes have been carried out over the past century and a half. As one of the most important strongholds in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century to the Jacobite Rising of 1745. Research undertaken in 2014 identified 26 sieges in its 1100-year-old history, giving it a claim to having been 'the most besieged place in Great Britain and one of the most attacked in the world'.

Few of the present buildings pre-date the Lang Siege of the 16th century, when the medieval defences were largely destroyed by artillery bombardment. The most notable exceptions are St Margaret's Chapel from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh, the Royal Palace and the early-16th-century Great Hall, although the interiors have been much altered from the mid-Victorian period onwards. The castle also houses the Scottish regalia, known as the Honours of Scotland and is the site of the Scottish National War Memorial and the National War Museum of Scotland. The British Army is still responsible for some parts of the castle, although its presence is now largely ceremonial and administrative. Some of the castle buildings house regimental museums which contribute to its presentation as a tourist attraction.

The castle, in the care of Historic Scotland, is Scotland's most-visited paid tourist attraction, with over 1.4 million visitors in 2013. As the backdrop to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo during the annual Edinburgh International Festival the castle has become a recognisable symbol of Edinburgh and of Scotland and indeed, it is Edinburgh's most frequently visited visitor attraction.

Edinburgh Castle is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site of The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh, inscribed by in 1995.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

James Kenny (7 months ago)
I had a fantastic day exploring the castle I got there just before the one o'clock gun my God what a bang that goes with. The scenery from up here is absolutely amazing and you can see for miles and miles all around the castle. The castle is heaped in so much history from Mons Meg to st Margaret's chapel to even visiting the national war museum. I would highly recommend visiting here if your in the area
Andy Smith (7 months ago)
The castle is magnificent but due to covid, there were no audio guides to use. We were just left to wander around. Staff weren't particularly helpful although there were plenty of them. Felt very let down. We went to Stirling castle after this and the staff there were brilliant, explained all about the castle and the contents. Sorry I went to Edinburgh castle now. It could have been so much better. The price was reduced slightly to reflect this but even so...... Edinburgh castle has a lot to offer. Do research and get guides before you go and it will be good again. Quick edit, the 3 stars are because I felt let down by the staff. The castle is still worth a visit. So much of it to see as well.
W. K. (7 months ago)
Breathtaking view from the castle over the city. I particularly enjoyed the War Museum. I am not a massive fan of museums but this one is worth taking the time to see the expositions. The gift shops are also good with great selection of various items. Not just the usual cheap souvenirs but some truly interesting items. What I didn't enjoy during my visit was the café and in particular the food. I paid £8,50 for two small slices of pizza. That's just insane. Furthermore, wasn't good at all. I would give one star for the food. I also had coffee for which I can give 3 stars and was reasonable priced. Better get food and beverages elsewhere before your visit.
Vik Arc (8 months ago)
Must visit in Scotland for History lovers. You cannot take your eyes of it as the castle is located right in the centre of the Edinburgh city. So much historical facts and spots to see inside the castle. Also they have great collection of souvenirs. The Highland Single Malt Scotch whisky (Aged 10 years) was just delicious and you get it only inside the castle. It's specially bottled for the visitors.
Krupasindu Sahoo (8 months ago)
Edinburgh Castle is one of the oldest fortified places in Europe. With a long rich history as a royal residence, military garrison, prison and fortress, it is alive with many exciting tales. When you climb Castle Hill, you will walk in the footsteps of soldiers, kings and queens – and even the odd pirate or two. Though parts of it remain in military use, the castle is now a world-famous visitor attraction. It’s also an iconic part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site.
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Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.

Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.

The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.

Late Antiquity and Byzantine periods

In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.

The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.

The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.