Thursday, October 1, 2015
The Edinburgh Castle
Text and Photographs
Barnali is a post graduate in Bengali Literature from University of Kalyani. Though she basically hails from Kolkata, presently she is operating from Edinburgh , Scotland , as her husband is posted there. She will be sharing her experience from there, at least in near future.Being a student of literature Barnali has interest in multifarious genre of literature, in addition to this she is keen in music , especially in Rabindrasangeet , the most adorable branch of Bengali music. Here she tells the story of The Edinburgh Castle.
Edinburgh Castle, located in a stunning location, part of the World Heritage Site, the Scottish capital is among the most beautiful cities in Europe. It is one of my favorite weekend destination since I first visited this royal palace. I’ve experienced the ambiance, the architectural wonders of the castle in different moods in different times during different occasions. Strolling about the beautiful Princess Garden just outside the castle, watching the activities of the people from different countries gathered there and as well as looking into the natural beauties of the surrounding areas is an excellent time pass for me.
History, heritage and current state of the Edinburgh Castle:
Edinburgh Castle is situated on Castle Rock in the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Castle Rock was formed after a volcano erupted over 40 million years ago. The first castle that existed on the rock was known as “The Castle of the Maidens”. According to legend, the castle had been a shrine to the “Nine Maidens”, one of whom was Morgan le Fay.
Castle Rock had been a military base and royal residence for centuries. However, the edifice that is known as Edinburgh Castle was built during the 12th century by David I, son of Saint Margaret of Scotland.
The tensions between the English and Scottish monarchies almost always centred on Edinburgh Castle. He who built the castle, ruled over the city of Edinburgh and, therefore, all over Scotland. Consequently, the castle was almost constantly under the siege.
The first major battle the castle witnessed was during the late 13th century when Edward I of England attempted to seize the then vacant Scottish throne. From 1296 to 1341, the castle bounced from English to Scottish hands several times during the First and Second Wars of Scottish Independence.
After the Wars of Independence, the castle was in great need of repairs. Most of the construction was overseen by David II. In his honour, David’s Tower was erected.
In 1571, English forces laid siege to the city of Edinburgh in an attempt to capture Mary, Queen of Scots. The siege, which lasted for two years, became known as the “long” or “Lang” siege. By February of 1573, all of Mary’s supporters had surrendered to the English. During the Lang Siege, David’s Tower was destroyed.
The castle, again, witnessed strife when, in 1650, Oliver Cromwell executed Charles I and led an invasion of Scotland. In August of that year, Edinburgh Castle fell into English hands.
During the Jacobian Risings (1688-1746), the Scots attempted, several times to recapture their castle. Unfortunately, they were never able to overpower the English. The final attempt was in 1745 when the Jacobian army was led by Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie). Although the Scots were able to capture the city, they were never able to siege to the castle. In November of that year, the Jacobians were forced to retreat.
From the late 18th century to the early 19th, Edinburgh Castle was used to hold military prisoners from England’s many wars. The castle became a national monument in 1814 after a mass prison break proved that the castle could not hold prisoners. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the castle was slowly restored. Military ceremonies began to be held there and, in 1927, part of the castle was turned into the Scottish National War Memorial.
Edinburgh Castle is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Scotland. The more than one million people who visit the castle each year witness military ceremonies, historical re-enactments, and can visit sites such as St. Margaret’s Chapel and the Great Hall of King James IV.
The Castle is the jewel in Edinburgh's crown.The Royal Palace contains rooms that were used by the royal family for many centuries.
Some special occasion in the Castle arena :
Watching the Edinburgh Tattoo Show (One of the worlds must watch show IMO) from the gallery created just outside the castle during Edinburgh festival was a lifetime experience. Various cultural and military teams from diverse countries (including India) performed there separately representing their cultures and finally all together ended with pops and grandeur. It was really an awesome and overwhelming experience. The entire castle was used as a reflector to show the projections and pictures of the national flags, flowers, military armies etc.
The last day of the festival ended with the fireworks show. It was one hour long fireworks with the beats of music from the castle. The castle was picturised differently with the different colours, sparks and lights of the crackers.
How to Reach:
Edinburgh Castle, Castlehill, Edinburgh
EH1 2NG, UK
Tel: +44 (0)131 225 9846
The nearest airport is BAA Edinburgh.
Waverley Station is the main railway station in the Scottish capital. The station is located on the east end of Princes Street and is serviced by most major rail transport providers. The Castle is visible and accessible from its exits.
There is an express bus service from the airport - Airlink 100 - to Edinburgh city centre.
£16.50 (online available)/child – £9.90
Free Ticket – St. Andrew’s Day
· 9:30 AM – 6 PM (1st Apr – 30th Sept) Summer
· 9:30 AM – 5 PM (1st Oct – 31st Mar) Winter
Closing Day- Christmas Day and Boxing Day