Email

Touring the majestic Edinburgh Castle in Scotland

'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling is said to have used the castle as a model for Hogwarts.
Updated Feb 15, 2019 12:01pm

Edinburgh Castle sits on a volcanic plug called Castle Rock that towers over the Scottish capital.

It’s one of the most visited historical attractions in Scotland and it’s a sight that neither locals nor visitors can get enough of.

Cassandra Hamilton has lived in Edinburgh for the past six years. She often sketches the castle.

“You know no matter where you are in Edinburgh, you can see the castle between the streets and between the buildings. It almost sort of follows you around,” Cassandra tells us.

And the view from Castle Rock isn’t too bad either. Archaeologists have traced human occupation of the site back to the Iron Age. There has been a royal castle here since at least the 12th century. The complex has been besieged, destroyed and rebuilt many times over, and is now a collection of buildings from different eras, like the 400 year old Royal Palace.

Cassandra Harrison’s favourite place is St. Margaret’s chapel, the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh that dates back to the 12th Century. You can still get married there today.

“It definitely feels like you’re walking around the streets of a very old town. It’s fun to sort of imagine what it must’ve been like hundreds of years ago wandering around here and what it must’ve been like to live here” Cassandra says.

Edinburgh Castle has also been a British army garrison and houses the Scottish national war memorial. It also keeps alive a tradition that goes back to 1861 when ships depended on it to set their maritime clocks: the firing of the 1 o’clock gun.

To this day a canon shot is set off every day except Sundays.

Some 1.6 million tourists visit the castle annually. The great hall was completed in 1511 for James the Fourth of Scotland. But he didn’t have much time to enjoy it. He died in battle two years later after declaring war on England.

The esplanade is the most visited part of the castle, not least because it’s free.

Those who even want to see it when they’re back at home can treat themselves to a snow globe, or one of the many other souvenirs on sale in the many stores.

Edinburgh Castle has inspired many a photographer, painter and postcard writer. Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling famously wrote some of her books while sitting in a café with a view of the castle.

“Wherever you’re sitting, like in a park or a café, the face of the castle changes so a view from here is completely different than if I were to be sitting in a different part of town. From this vantage point it just looks like a giant, you know pushing its way up through the earth, looking down at everything,” Cassandra tells us.

Edinburgh Castle, a historical landmark with many facets.


This content has been published in partnership with Deutsche Welle (DW)