Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. With a population of 495,360 in 2011 (up 1.9% from 2010), it is the largest settlement in Lothian and lies at the centre of a larger urban zone of approximately 850,000 people. While the town originally formed on the ridge descending from the castle rock, the modern city is often said to be built on seven hills.
Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear.
There has been a royal castle here 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 its principal role was as a military base with a large garrison. Its importance as a historic monument was recognised from the 19th century, and various restoration programmes have been carried out since. As one of the most important fortresses in the Kingdom of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle was involved in many historical conflicts, from the Wars of Scottish Independence in the 14th century, up to the Jacobite Rising of 1745, and has been besieged, both successfully and unsuccessfully, on several occasions.
The Scottish Highlands contain some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery, including National Parks and vast areas of unspoilt wilderness. From the vibrant city of Inverness and Loch Ness (Home of Nessie the Loch Ness monster) through the Caledonian Canal to Fort William the adventure capital of the UK, to the tranquil and peaceful Islands, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, and the Isle of Skye (great place for sunsets), its a place that has something for everyone.