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Edinburgh castle

Edinburgh castle stands on Castle Rock overlooking the city of Edinburgh and is approached across the Esplanade, the site of the annual military tattoo and other ceremonies. Edinburgh castle has been sacked and rebuilt several times, one of its oldest surviving parts being the tiny St Margaret's chapel dating from the 12th cent. The focus of the layout is the Palace Yard, and on its south side lies the great hall (with its striking hammerbeam roof) built by James IV or James V in the early 16th cent. and subsequently altered in 1887–91 by Hippolyte J. Blanc. Neighbouring buildings in a variety of styles include the semi-circular Half-Moon Battery (1573–88) built by Regent Morton, the Scottish United Services Museum (1708), the Governor's House (1742), the New Barracks (1796), and the Scottish National War Memorial (1924–7) designed by Sir Robert Lorimer. Edinburgh castle houses the crown jewels (Honours) of Scotland, and occupies a special place in Scots history: in 1566 Mary, queen of Scots, gave birth there to Prince James, who became King James VI of Scotland in 1567 and James I of England in 1603.

Peter Willis

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