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Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

As the backdrop of the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the most visited, paid tourist attraction in the city, Edinburgh Castle has become the one of the most recognizable features in Scotland’s capital city. Even more amazing to me is that, while a Scottish fortress has been in this location since the 12th Century, actual human settlement of the area dates all the way back to the 9th Century BC.

Edinburgh Castle, hiding behind the Ross Fountain in the Princes Street Gardens.

One of the most interesting stories I heard on the tour was how this supposedly impenetrable fortress (it’s built on a volcano and a cliff!) was actually captured twice by enemy forces.  In the first case, the enemy climbed up the cliff and caught the defenders unawares.  That’s sneaky enough, but the second successful storming was even more cunning and clever.

In the second successful attack, a small group of soldiers dressed up as travelling merchants and pretended to pull a cart full of wares into the city through the open gate.  Before they passed through the opening though, the “merchants” stopped their cart in the middle of the entrance and called to their fellow army buddies who rushed out from behind the bushes.  The defenders could not close the gate, for the cart was stuck in the middle of the doors.  The attackers climbed over the cart and slaughtered the unsuspecting soldiers inside.  That story always reminds me of a “modern day” Trojan Horse type story.

A view from the castle, out over the New Town. The little green patch in front was actually used as a cemetery for the soldiers’ dogs.

These days though, I’m pretty sure the volcano is plugged and the castle is no longer of any military significance.  So even if there was a war you would be safe to check out Edinburgh Castle.  When you’re in Edinburgh, make sure you do – it’s worth it!

Dream Read:  If you didn’t get a chance to check out the hyperlink above, why not take a side trip over to Jo Woolf’s wonderful online magazine, The Hazel Tree, to get a look at some of the finer details about the castle I didn’t have room to include?

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8 comments on “Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland

  1. hariqhuang
    August 23, 2012

    Weren’t there so many mythical legends about the establishment of the castle? I once read that it used to be a sanctuary to the faeries. Some said that it was a grave of an old dragon. I am very fond of these kind of stories. They are like charms that make a tourist destination more mysterious and interesting. 😀

    • bucketdave
      August 23, 2012

      That’s a good point. I had totally forgotten about those. Thanks for reminding me! You’re absolutely right though. The legends surrounding the locations we visit give the place more “value.”

  2. rachelynne
    August 23, 2012

    I love your photos! Thanks for sharing a bit of the history too, we visited a couple of years ago and I didn’t know any of those things! We also didn’t see that lovely fountain. Next time… Thanks for sharing!

    • bucketdave
      August 24, 2012

      Thanks Rachel. That’s what I love about travel blogs – Everyone gets to learn from the experiences of others.

  3. philvb
    August 23, 2012

    Love that castle. I was an exchange student to Germany (West Germany at the time I went) 20+ years ago, and was able to see a number of castles during my travels. There’s something special about walking through them.

    • bucketdave
      August 24, 2012

      I agree! Everywhere I’ve gone, I’ve tried to stop in at the local castle (if possible).

  4. Jo Woolf
    September 11, 2012

    Thank you very much for the link, and for following The Hazel Tree! You have been to some amazing places, I love your blog.

    • bucketdave
      September 14, 2012

      You’re very welcome Jo. Thank you for the kind words.

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2012 by in Edinburgh, History, Scotland and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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