Edinburgh is pronounced “ed en burr oh”. The city is built on an extinct volcano overlooking northeast Scotland in all four directions. More than 1,000 years ago a castle was built on this volcanic rock. There is now a road leading from the low ground called the “Royal Mile”. You can imagine over the centuries how the village just kept expanding and moving further away from the castle hill. Today Edinburgh is divided between Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. There is so much history in this one location.
Above are two pictures showing the massive volcanic rock on which the castle was built over 1,000 years ago.
The first reference to Din Eidyn – fortress on the rock – is about 600 AD. The Celts first came to Scotland from England and integrated with the barbarians of the northern territory. Although the Romans annexed what is today England for the Roman Empire they stopped just short of Scotland as it never part of the empire. At that time, Europe was still dominated by tribes. The Angles were a Germanic tribe that raided Scotland and changed Din Eidyn to Edinburgh.
The oldest building on the fortress is Queen Margaret’s chapel (shown above) built by her son King David who was responsible for building the castle as you know see it in the 11th century. It was the royal residence from 1063 to 1603 – the year that King James VI of Scotland was crowned King James I of England uniting the two kingdoms for the first time (the King James that commissioned the King James Bible). King James I moved his residence to England ending the 5+ centuries the castle served as the royal residence for Scottish royalty.
The Royal Mile is full of interesting churches, shops, hotels, banks and other historical sites. You can see Bill and I standing in front of what in 1645 was Deacon Brodie’s workshop, now a restaurant. Deacon Brodie was an upright citizen by day and a burglar by night. He inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekylls and Mr. Hyde (no that isn’t a typo – it is Dr. Jekylls). Right below that is our colleague Louis who posed next to a man who walked out of his store in his kilt. Rather proud of it, isn’t he?
At the bottom of the Royal Mile/Castlehill Road is a shop that makes bag pipes by hand. I asked the man to play it for me but he refused. He might have well said, “Stupid American”.
The castle has been the scene of many historical conflicts including the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century and the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and has been besieged both successfully and unsuccessfully over the years. There is so much history here and I have so many pictures but it is hard for me to chose the words of pics. Edinburgh is definitely a spot you need to visit someday.