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TICKETS FOR THE 59th EDINBURGH MILITARY TATTOO

Dates: 7th-29th August 2009

Edinburgh Military Tattoo Scotland Tickets for this event are usually sold out by early year (around February-March 2009) so it is strongly advisable to book as early as possible to obtain as best price and availability!

CLICK TO BUY DISCOUNTED TATTOO TICKETS

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is an integral part of the Edinburgh Festival, the worlds biggest yearly Arts & Festival Event held in August each year on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle. The Tattoo originates from 1950, and has developed from a small program of half a dozen or so pieces to the spectacular and show stopping event of today. The audience consists of approximately a third English Visitors, a third Scottish and a third from other Countries.

With over 1000 performers and around 220,000 visitors approximately 73,000 visitors from each area. Against common expectations, although the highlight is the (mostly) Scottish Regiment Pipe and Drums Bands their also are International Drummers from various Organistions around the world taking part (originally starting in 1952 with the Royal Netherlands Grenadiers). Last years (2007) participants included the Band of the Moscow Military Conservatoire and the Taipei First Girls\' Senior High School Honour Guard & Drum Corps from Taiwan, so the line up can be very varied.

The 2008 lineup includes:

 

  • The Massed Bands of Her Majesty\'s Royal Marines
  • The Norwegian His Majesty\'s Pipes&Drums and band of the Kings Guards.
  • Royal Regiment of Scotland Massed Pipes & Drums
  • Acts from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as the rest of the world
  • Massed Highland Dancers
  • The classic Lone Piper



Situated atop of the Castle Rock, Edinburgh castle dominates Edinburgh and is one of Scotlands most popular tourist attractions. Mostly dating back to the 16th century it is Scotlands second oldest building after the 12th century St. Margarets Chapel.

The castle rock is interesting geologically as arguably it resembles the core of basalt plugging up a Volcanic vent.

The castle can be entered by the Drawbridge over the dry moat via the Esplanade (on Castle Hill leading to the Lawnmarket) dating from the eighteenth century and enclosed later by large ornamental walls. On either sid eof the gateway stand bronze statues of Bruce and Wallace, the national heroes of Scottish independence (unveiled in 1929 by the Duke and Duchess of York, later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth).

Tickets for Entrance to the Castle cost £9.80. UK.

In High season every 15 minutes, and at other times ever 25 minutes their is a free guided tour, although you can also buy an audio guide for £3.00. UK

Opening hours Daily: April - October 9.30am-6.00pm. November-March, 9.30am - 5.00pm
The castle sits proudly on a hill known as Castle Rock, and this is the place where Edinburgh\'s structure and civilisation began. This fact has long been recognised worldwide, but the castle is also connected with strange stories and secrets, which have remained a mystery for many years. The castle has stood proudly defiant throughout its long history, yet for Scots, it has always had a homely and human appeal despite its imposing majesty. The castle gave birth to the city of Edinburgh on top of this huge rock, which was fortified with the magnificent castle wall to protect Edinburgh\'s citizens through the ages. The city has evolved (and indeed continues to evolve) in the shadow of the castle, giving Edinburgh its unique personality.

The site of Edinburgh Castle was inhabited in prehistoric times, probably for many years, and it is possible that Edinburgh was inhabited from as early as the 9th century BC. In later years, King Malcolm III lived in the castle with his queen, Margaret, who died in 1093. Their son, King David I, built a small chapel in her memory, which remains in the castle grounds to this day. This beautiful structure is incredibly charming, and is quite probably the oldest structure on the Castle Rock. Today we can see some structures pre-dating the 16th century but St Margaret\'s Chapel is the oldest standing structure, dating from the 12th century. The story of Queen Margaret in a nutshell is that she was ill in 1093, and when she heard that her husband, King Malcolm III, had been killed in Northumberland in battle, she died too. Both Queen Margaret and her husband are buried in the church at Dunfermline.

From the date that Edinburgh Castle was built, its defence has been strengthened. It was the centre of many different military activities in Scotland. Edinburgh Castle is one of the few castles that have a military garrison for ceremonies. It is also the official headquarters of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and the 52nd Infantry Brigade, and the home of the regimental museum of the Royal Scots and Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Edinburgh Castle has continued to have a very strong connection with the army, providing defence and protecting Scotland.

St Margaret\'s Chapel is one of the best examples of Norman architecture, and it dates from 1124. However, the small and irregular stonework resembles Scottish and Irish Celtic artistry. The chapel\'s structure is rectangular and is 3m wide inside, with a thick outer wall 61cm wide. There is a large entrance door at one end, with a round Norman arch with chevron mouldings finishing the arch, and five Norman-style round windows at the other end. This leads into the apsed sanctuary. St Margaret has been worshipped in this little chapel for years. The building has been very well restored and the interior preserved to look as it did originally. There was a setback for Edinburgh Castle, when Randolph, Earl of Moray, captured the castle in 1314. This event destroyed all the castle\'s buildings apart from the chapel. The chapel was used as a gunpowder store in the 16th century but in 1853, Sir Daniel Wilson started the restoration of the chapel under the supervision and support of Queen Victoria. In 1929, more work was carried out to restore the chapel to its original use.

Edinburgh\'s history is connected to prehistoric times; the top of the rock, where Edinburgh Castle sits, is where the city of Edinburgh began. The rock dates from seventy million years ago, and a variety of research provides real evidence that Bronze Age man survived on this rock from as long ago as 850 BC. In historical times, there were three hundred men in this area, who were ruled by King Mynyddog in this area, which was called Din Eidyn, or Dunedin. In AD 638 Din Eidyn was occupied by Angles, and the name was soon changed to Edinburgh

Din Eidyn was really two large hill forts created by a huge volcanic core. One of these hill forts is in middle of Holyrood Park; the Salisbury Crags, which were originally surrounded by small farms. The second hill fort lay to the west where Edinburgh Castle now sits.

King Edward I\'s invasion of Scotland began in 1296, and he managed to capture many places in Scotland including Edinburgh Castle. The battles for Scottish independence took place mainly in the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In 1314, Scotland won the battle at Edinburgh Castle, which was led by Sir Thomas Randolph who is better-known as the nephew of King Robert the Bruce. This is one of the famous night battles, when the Scots manage to climb from one of the secret routes back into the castle to recapture it. Three months later this success was repeated in Stirlingshire. The Scottish army occupied the land proudly and celebrated their freedom. This battle was an important battle for Scotland, and is known as the famous Battle of Bannockburn.

James II was king of Scotland from 1437 to 1460. He was married in Holyrood Abbey, which was one of the main institutions of the kingdom of Scotland. Scottish historical research reveals that the first king of Scots, MacAlpine, founded this Scottish landmark in 843. James II’s son, James III, was nicknamed ‘Fiery Face’ because he had a prominent birthmark on his face. James had six sisters who he eventually sent to Europe to marry various royals there.

In 1449 a large gun was made for the Duke of Burgundy and tested at Mons. This was gifted to the king and queen of Scotland in 1457. The king was killed three years later at Roxburgh Castle but the gun, named ‘Mons Meg’, was kept in Edinburgh Castle. Mons Meg was used later in battles against the English and during various rebellions but it eventually became obsolete due its enormous weight. Mons Meg was restored and you can now see it when you visit the upper level of Edinburgh Castle. There are conflicting ideas about its origins but the main theory is that the Duke of Burgundy invented it and sent it along with other artillery to James II of Scotland as a present. The calibre of the gun is 56 centimetres and it was capable of firing a 180 kilogram ball around eight to ten times a day.

Mary Stuart, who became known as Queen of Scots, was beautiful and good hearted, and was one of the most fascinating queens of the 16th century. However, she was known for her lack of political experience and could not rule Scotland successfully. In 1565, Mary married for the second time, this time to Henry, Lord Darnley. They had their first child in Edinburgh Castle (Prince James) but the marriage soon turned sour, and ended in murder and scandal. The queen fled with her son to England in 1568 to get help from her cousin, Elizabeth, but she never saw her cousin and remained imprisoned for nine years.

At the age of forty four she was executed in 1587 by the English government. Mary’s son, James VI of Scotland, became the king of England after Elizabeth’s death. In 1571, Sir William Kirkcaldy was in Edinburgh Castle, where he spoke publicly in support of the exiled queen. But England sent a very large army, with plenty of artillery, led by Regent Morton, and after eleven days of bombardment and fighting, Edinburgh Castle’s rule collapsed. Kirkcaldy surrendered and was then executed. The castle was almost demolished with this heavy fighting but it was later rebuilt by Regent Morton.

William and his wife Mary, who was James VII’s eldest daughter gave their support to England. The Duke of Gordon who was a governor of Edinburgh Castle was a supporter of King James but in 1689, after a three month-long battle, Gordon finally surrendered Edinburgh Castle and the Scottish Crown was offered to William and Mary.

For many years from 1707 the Crown and Sword were hidden away and people thought that they had been lost or even destroyed. However, Sir Walter Scott obtained permission from the Prince Regent to gain access the Scottish regalia in the castle. He eventually discovered it in a small, crown room, in an old oak chest, which was locked and hidden under linen cloths which had stayed intact for so many years. Since February the 4th 1818, they have been displayed in Edinburgh Castle and have been viewed by thousands of people who have travelled from all over the world just to see them.

Oliver Cromwell executed the King of England and Scotland, Charles I; the English crown had already been destroyed by Cromwell and he was desperate to get hold of the Scottish Crown Jewels and then destroy them. The king ordered the Earl Marischall to hide the Honours of Scotland at Dunnottar Castle which is the Scottish seat of the Marischall family.

The history of the Crown dates from earlier than 1540 and it was worn at the coronation of Charles II in 1651. The sword with long blade (one metre) was presented by Pope Julius II to James IV in 1507. The Stone of Destiny (the symbol of Scotland’s nationhood, which was used as a coronation stone for all Scottish kings) was eventually returned to Scotland after 700 years, after Edward I took it to England in 1296. Now it sits with the Crown Jewels on display in Edinburgh Castle.

In 1660 the Honours were given to King Charles II so that he could place them in Edinburgh Castle. The regalia were also occasionally placed in the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh when the sovereign was not present in order to signify the passing of various acts and laws. In 1707 the Scottish Parliament was dissolved and the Crown was locked away in the crown room in Edinburgh Castle for a very long time. The emblems were hidden for 111 years, until 1818.

Then Dunnottar was under siege, and after eight months fighting a fearsome foe, the castle finally fell. During that time the crown, sceptre and the sword were taken to the seaward side of the castle and delivered to church at Kinneff, a village several miles to the south. They were kept hidden under the minister’s bed until he buried them securely in the church. The jewels were wrapped in linen cloths and were buried at night under the clay floor of the church by the minister, Rev. James, and his wife. The jewels were taken out every three months to air and also to make sure that no damage had been done by the damp; they remained hidden for nine years and certainly did not fall in to English army hands.

Scotland was formed by many wonderful men and women, with many kings, heroes, poets and writers advancing Scotland’s cause. Sir Walter Scott (15 August 1771 to 21st September 1832) is one of the most important figures in Scottish history, and his vivid imagination has helped to popularise and promote Scotland as a top tourist destination. He was a novelist and poet, and was very popular all over the world; he had many readers in Europe, Australia and North America, and his novels and poetry are still very popular to this day. His most famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley and The Heart of Midlothian. Sir Scott was generous and modest, and was very proud of his Scottish identity. He was famous on a grand scale, which helped him to purchase his retreat in Abbotsford, where tourists are welcome to visit.

The Scots have always battled for their identity and their country, but they eventually lost Scotland as a federal state. However, they did manage to retain control of some systems, such as the legal system, the church, education and also the privilege of retaining the Scottish royal burghs. In parliament, the debate was long and heated, but in January 1707 the union passed the Treaty of Westminster with a vote of 110 to 67 (it was possible that some Members of Parliament had been bribed). This resulted in the end of the Scottish Parliament, in March 1707. The Union of the Parliaments provided Scotland with 45 MPs and 16 representative peers in Westminster, London. England and Wales had 513 MPs and 190 peers. In 1999 the first Scottish Parliament was held after nearly 300 years, in Edinburgh. Scotland is extremely proud that it has managed to regain some power and a degree of independence, although it still has formal connections to Westminster.

Edinburgh Castle is arguably the most spectacular castle in Scotland, particularly in terms of location, history and appearance. The castle dominates the city and has uninterrupted spectacular views all round Edinburgh. The castle’s origins date from over a thousand years. The Castle Rock is one of Edinburgh’s highest hills, and it now consists of many unique ancient buildings and narrow cobbled streets which wind down its length. The Crown of Scotland, in the crown room, makes the castle one of the best and most unique places to visit in Scotland. Certainly the beauty of the volcanic rock, the sea and the coast made this unassailable hill the perfect place for the Scots to build their main castle, somewhere they could feel safe and protected due to the great wall and loch defences around the castle. For many years, Edinburgh consisted only of the castle; it was not until much later that the first town houses were built in the Lawnmarket, just in front of the castle. Over the years, more and more beautiful tall tenements were built along the Royal Mile, progressing ever downwards towards Holyrood Palace. These tenements formed what is known as the Old Town. The Royal Mile is a straight, cobbled road from the castle to the palace. It is around a mile long and connects the two royal buildings at the top and bottom of the hill, hence the name. Over the years, the Canongate and the other houses around the Royal Mile were included as part of the Old Town of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Castle has a long history of being built, destroyed and re-built over centuries of battles between Scotland and England. The Crown was preserved due to a few lucky escapes, and the Scots worked hard to regain and rebuild their castle, restoring it to its original status and ensuring that its history is protected forever.

Edinburgh Castle is a complex building, including an impressive 15th century stone enclosure, the 12th century chapel and the old state rooms where James VI was born. King James III strengthened the north side of the castle’s defences by flooding the north valley in order to create a big loch. Over the years the loch was filled with dirt, waste and sewage until it was finally drained in 1760, to create Princes Street Gardens. The formation of Edinburgh’s New Town began when people realised that the Old Town was hugely overcrowded; most of Edinburgh’s finest residents upped sticks to the New Town, leaving the congested tenements and dirty streets of the Old Town to the poor people of Edinburgh.

Amongst the most famous buildings in Edinburgh Castle are the Crown Square, Queen Ann Building, the Palace, the Scottish National War Memorial, the Great Hall, the French Prisons, the Services Museum, the New Barracks, the hospital, the gatehouse, St. Margaret’s Chapel, Foog’s Gate, the Vaults, and the Governor’s House. You can also see Mons Meg, the famous gun that fires the one o’clock salute every day, and many other interesting things.

Crown Square is the main courtyard of Edinburgh Castle, which was built on the south face of the Castle Rock and dates from the 15th century. Its original name was the Palace Yard, but it was renamed when the Crown Jewels of Scotland were discovered here in 1818.

The Queen Ann Building, whose French-type look was inspired by the French invasion in 1708, provided the headquarters for officers, and was also used as accommodation for the schoolmaster and the chaplain. This building was occasionally used during its history as a kitchen to serve the Great Hall and the Gunhouse. It was rebuilt in 1933 as a naval and military museum.

The Royal Palace is the official seat of Scotland’s kings and queens. On June 1566, Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to King James VI in a small chamber room here. The palace was destroyed during the Lang Seige but in 1617 it was refurbished and remodelled inside and out, giving it the appearance you see today. The Palace was the home of the Regalia of Scotland for many centuries and these can be viewed with the Stone of Destiny, which was returned from England to Edinburgh Castle in 1996.

The Scottish National War Memorial was used in 1540 as an ammunition house. It was demolished in 1755 to make room for the North Barracks, and then some improvements were made in 1863 by Robert Billings, giving the building a very picturesque appearance. After the army left the building in 1923, it was adapted as a National Shrine. It was opened by the Prince of Wales in July 1927 as a Scottish memorial for those who died in the World War I and it also commemorates the dead of World War II.

The Great Hall was built in 1513, just before the death of King James IV, and was used for the state assembly in Edinburgh Castle. Cromwell converted the Great Hall into soldiers’ barracks in 1650, altering it to accommodate 312 men in 1737. It was then converted into a hospital in 1799, and it remained as such until 1887, when the Great Hall was restored to original glory by architect Hippolyte Blanc.

The Vaults are the old buildings at the south side of Edinburgh Castle, built during the 15th century with the same layout as Crown Square; they were also used for many purposes, including stores, an arsenal, barracks for soldiers, a bake house and a civil military prison.

No visit to Scotland is complete with out a trip to Edinburgh Castle, where you can see gorgeous views of the city in every direction and beyond. There is a lovely coffee shop in the castle, where you can relax and enjoy the history and the views. Edinburgh Castle will give you the opportunity to observe the ancient buildings and understand the history of Scotland, a nation fiercely proud of its land and people. The Scots managed to build a spectacular castle, the likes of which cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. From the north of Edinburgh Castle you can see the famous Princes Street Gardens, Princes Street, George Street, the West End, the Georgian town houses of the New Town, over to the sea and beyond, to the Kingdom of Fife.

The French Prisons were so-named because a number of French staff were brought to Edinburgh Castle’s Vaults in April 1757. Many other French soldiers were captured later on during the Seven Years War and the number of prisoners held under the Great Hall rose to over five hundred. During the Napoleonic War, Edinburgh Castle was used as a war prison. There were various nationalities amongst Edinburgh Castle’s prisoners, including men from Holland, Germany, America, Spain, Italy and France. The castle prison was vastly overcrowded.

The new barracks, opposite the regimental museum of the Royal Scots in Edinburgh Castle, was built as a replacement the Great Hall which was being used as a barracks. The new barracks were built in 1796 and provided accommodation for six hundred infantrymen. It is still used for military purposes and is not open to visitors.

The Scottish United Services Museum building is an old structure near the Crown Square which was refurbished in Spring 2000. It has collections and stories of many different aspects of Scottish military history over the centuries.

The Ordnance Store and Hospital is located at the west side of the Edinburgh Castle. It consists of two store rooms and a courtyard which was used for military arms and was the main gunpowder magazine. It was designed by William Skinner in 1753. The building was demolished in 1897 and then redesigned as a hospital for the army, which was in Great Hall before this hospital was opened.

The Reservoirs were big tanks full of water which were used by the people living in Edinburgh Castle. These tanks were very important during fights and sieges like the Lang Siege in 1571. The tanks collapsed during bombardment, which cut the water supply during the war, when Sir William Kirkcaldy eventually surrendered to Regent Morton after three years’ resistance.

St. Margaret’s Chapel dates from 1124 and is the oldest building now standing in Edinburgh Castle’s grounds. It is in excellent condition and was built to commemorate Queen Margaret, who was the mother of King David and who died in the castle in 1093. The chapel was regularly used for prayer by the royals up until the 16th century, when it was used to store gunpowder during the wars. It was totally restored to its former glory in 1845, and the stained glass windows you see today were designed in 1922 by Douglas Strachan.

Mons Meg was a huge gun used during the reign of King James II in 1457. The name comes from Belgium, which was called Mons in days of old. It is six tons, with a muzzle-loading cannon which fires stone balls of 150kg, with a range of two miles. Its weight makes it impractical to move around in battle, so by 1650 it was replaced and stored in Edinburgh Castle. It was fired during Mary, Queen of Scots marriage celebration. Mons Meg was last fired on October 1681 to celebrate the birthday of the Duke of Albany and York, and later King James VII. In 1754 it was taken to the Tower of London but in 1829 was returned to Edinburgh Castle and placed near St. Margaret’s Chapel.

The one o’clock gun is fired every day at one o’clock (except Sunday) from Edinburgh Castle. The original idea of the gun was to help the sailing ships in the Forth to check their clocks and reset their chronometers. In 1861 Captain Wauchope invented the time ball which can be seen on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, which works alongside the gun. At one o’clock, the ball drops which gives another signal to the sailors. The 18 pound muzzle-loading cannon was replaced with a 25 pound Howitzer in 1953 and is fired from the north face of the Edinburgh Castle. The gun is still in action and it is a very popular tourist attraction.

Edinburgh Castle is an enormous building. The current structure dates from medieval times but the location was inhabited from many years BC. It stands high above the city of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle was a military base, the scene of many battles for Scottish identity and independence. For many centuries, the castle was a seat of kings and queens, and many Scottish army divisions have made their headquarters in the castle, all of which makes its history so rich and varied. It is worth spending a day in the castle to get a real feel for its history and also to enjoy the amazing views of Edinburgh. Archaeologists suggest that the first inhabitant of the Castle Rock was Bronze Age man, around 1000BC. This confirms the importance of the location of Edinburgh Castle and the fact that it was a strategic place from which leaders could command and defend their people. History proves this again, as in the Middle Ages this area became the place where this incredible castle was created. This huge fortification included royal accommodation, and it became the permanent residence of many Scottish kings and queens. Over many centuries Edinburgh Castle was often under siege; it almost collapsed and was re-built many times during battles between the English and Scottish armies. The variety of architecture and the age of each building serve to tell the story of the constant battles and struggles over the centuries.

Another important part of the castle’s history is the construction of the esplanade in front of the castle in 1753. It was created for ceremonial parades, and, sixty years later, the grounds of the esplanade were broadened and walls and rails were added, to make it a place for castle functions and to mark the end of fortification. The castle has not had a garrison since 1914 and is still heavily guarded by Scottish soldiers, as it is home to the Honours of Scotland. The Edinburgh Tattoo is a full ceremonial military occasion, which is performed every year during August on the castle esplanade. Thousands of people from all over the world come to see the show and enjoy the historical Tattoo in this stunning medieval setting. The show is known worldwide and it is something to behold, performed in the open air on the esplanade, come rain or shine. It is a truly memorable occasion and only helps to drive home the point that Scotland really is the best.

Edinburgh Castle waits in the glowering evening for the nightfall, when the esplanade is transformed by lights for this historical show. The esplanade provides a dazzling stage for the most spectacular performances in front of the Castle and Lawnmarket. The Capital of Scotland is lit up on these summer nights, and the beautiful sound of the Scottish bagpipes, accompanied by the stunning backdrop of the mighty medieval castle, will make you feel that there is nowhere else like this on Earth. Throughout the show you will begin to understand why the Scots are so proud of their country; the crowd of thousands will clap, smile and marvel at how great it feels to be part of Scotland’s best show.

Edinburgh Castle’s gun is also a big part of its incredible history. On St. Andrew’s Day, the 30th of November, Edinburgh’s residents will hear the gun fire at exactly one o’clock. The 105millimeter gun was fired for years by the most famous staff member, Thomas McKay, affectionately known as ‘Tam the Gun’, and then by Commander Hughie Monro. The army replaced the 25 pounder gun for a 105 millimetre light gun, which came into service in 1974. This gun is one of the best British army guns, who use it for defence, and it has been sold to thirteen countries worldwide. This gun is now in action in Edinburgh Castle, and residents and tourists alike enjoy hearing it every day at one o’clock. There is a ceremonial gun exhibition under Mills Mount, which will reveal more about the story of the big gun.

 

A (VERY) SHORT HISTORY OF SCOTLAND

SCOTLAND in many ways is very like England. Both countries are contained, for the most part, in the same island. They use, for the most part, the same speech. Historically they are far more akin in race than is usually recognized, for although the Anglo-Saxon stock predominates from England, both countries share in common a Norse strain, a “Celtic” strain, and a well-marked strain which was here before any Celtic speakers came. Today, Scotland is a thriving multi-cultural society, with strong ethnic communities sharing a strong sense of Scottish identity.

However, despite their differences, Scotland and England are two quite distinct countries. Alongside the many similarities, differences can be noted, and these differences, operating down the ages, have meant that the collective experience of the people “North of the Border” has been different from those “down South”. Scottish Nationality and Identity is not to be underestimated.


Being to the far north, Roman imperialism, Anglo-Saxon invasion, feudalism often exhausted much of its power before reaching Scotland, and with increasing resistance from the natural elements and with successors puring into England, the waves of invasion often faded away never reaching the north of Scotland at all.


In days of olde, alliances were often formed the accident of Dynastys. This produced the Union of Crowns in 1603 and a Scottish King ascended the English throne moving inevitably towards the parliamentary Union of 1707.


Scotland, has to her merit, as the lesser of the nations, preserved her Nationality throughout the ages, and only recently has a Scottish Party become the predominant force in Scottish Politics, as well as a Scottish Prime Minister.

 

TO BE UPDATED

 

This is in the process of being updated by one of our Editors. Please come back shortly.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 September 2008 )

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PRINCES STREET EDINBURGH

Princes Street. Nearly a mile in length and bordered on one side by, gardens, the street might more appropriately be known as \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'Princes Terrace\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' but Princes Street owes a great debt to the Castle Hill which, as elsewhere in the city, lifts the view to a very high standard of beauty. Here are many of the chief shops of Edinburgh, with hotels and restaurants, and at the east end the Waverley Station fills the valley. The Street itself has at each end two squares, St. Andrews (East End) the cities primary financial district and the most influential outside of the City of London and Charlotte Square (West End) where the City Bus Station resides.

In the foreground the graceful Scott Monument(1844 designed by George Meikle Kemp) rises from the gardens, an open Gothic tower 200 feet high with a statue of Sir Walter by Sir John Steell R.S.A and figures of characters in Scott\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s works.

Just west of the monument an embankment known as The Mound crosses the valley and supports two imposing public buildings designed in classical style by W.H Playfair and housing the Royal Scottish Academy and the National Gallery. In the former (adjoining Princes Street) periodical exhibitions of the works of living artists are held, and there is a permanent Diploma Collection of Academicians

The National Gallery contains a small European collection of very high quality, including pictures by Rubens, Velasquez, El Greco, Rembrandt, Watteau, Gainsborough, Constable, etc. There is an outstanding room of French Impressionism, including pictures by Degas, Gauguin, Cezanne, van Gogh, and a fairly full representation of Scottish painting up to 1900 (one room is devoted to Raeburn).

In the Gardens, across the railway, at the foot of the Castle Rock, are the ruins of the Well-house Tower, built in the reign of David Il to protect what is thought to have been the only water supply the garrison then had, and enlarged in the reign of James II.

At the west end of Princes Street is St. John\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s Episcopal Church, a fine Later Gothic structure, some of the details of which are copied from Westminster Abbey and St. Georges Chapel, Windsor. At the rear is a Celtic cross in memory of Dean Ramsay (1793-1872 ; author of Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character, a classic of humorous literature), who was for many years incumbent here. Scott’s mother and Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), the portrait painter, are buried in vaults below the Church. Also at the west of Princes Street is the West Kirk, or St. Cuthbert’s Church, the history of which goes further back than that of any other religious institution in Edinburgh. As early as the eighth century the site was occupied by a church dedicated to Cuthbert, Bishop of Durham. who died in 687.

There have been seven buildings on this same site, the present church having been built in 1892-3. The tower, built in 1787-90, is the only remaining part of an eighteenth-century edifice. In the burial ground are interred Napier, the inventor of logarithms and De Quincey, of Opium Eater Fame. At the foot of Lothian Road is the Caledonian Hotel. Halfway up Lothian Road is the Usher Hall, the City’s main hall.

At the eastern end of Princes Street are the Waverley Steps, one of the windiest spots in Britain. The steps lead down to the Waverley Station and opposite that across Princes Street, the old Register House, a very pleasing Adam building, in which are preserved the public records of Scotland, both legal and historical. Among the historical documents permanently exhibited are the Treaty of Northampton (1328), an example of the National Covenant (1638), and the original Articles of the of the Treaty of Union (1707). Eastward, Princes Street is continued by Waterloo Place past the base of Calton Hill, where the chief feature is St. Andrew\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s House, home since 1939 of Scottish Government Departments on the, on the site of old Colton Goal, its fresh stones looking particularly fresh in Auld Reekie.

Here, too, is the Royal high School, a thirteenth century foundation. Sir Walter Scott was among its many brilliant pupils. Opposite is the Burns Monument, and high above it the National Monument, modeled on the Parthenon in 1822 to commemorate gallant achievements during the Peninsular War. It was never finished, owing to lack of funds, but is probably no less picturesque on that account. Nearer the road is the Nelson Monument, shaped something like a telescope and with a small museum of relics . The time ball at the top falls daily exactly at 1 p.m., Greenwich time.

Westward of the side of the National Monument is the Observatory of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh and founded in 1770. On the south side of Waterloo Place are the Old Calton Burying Ground, in which are, besides the graves of many historic figures, a tall Obelisk in memory of live \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Chartist Martyrs\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" sentenced (1793-4) to transportation ; the circular, temple-like Tomb of Hume. the philosopher and a monument, with a statue of President Lincoln, which forms a memorial of the Scots-American soldiers who fell in the American Civil War.

Beyond the Royal High School Regent Road leads down towards Portobello north of Princes Street and parallel with it is George Street the pride and starting point of Georgian Edinburgh extending from St. Andrew Square to Charlotte Square. From St. Andrew Square (off whose northeast corner is the bus station of Scottish Omnibuses, Ltd.) the New Town spread (1770-1825) northwards and westwards in graceful stone terraces, squares and crescents, rich in literary and other interest to Queen Street, Heriot Row. Moray Place (Edinburgh\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s finest circus) and Randolph Crescent, among others.

At the east end of Queen Street are the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland.

 

Located in Edinburgh the building which has been many times called \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"a coronach in stone\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" and designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, A.R.A., RSA. (1864-1930) and inaugurated by the former Prince of Wales on July 14 1927, it stands at the northern end of Crown Square, on the site of barrack buildings which in turn succeeded the Chapel of St. Mary, founded by David I, rebuilt by David II in the fourteenth century, and finally demolished to make room for the barracks.

The Memorial consists of a Gallery of Honour with projecting bays and entered by a noble porch, on each side of which wreaths are laid and over which is a figure representing the Survival of the Spirit. Within, opposite to the porch is a most impressive Shrine. A remarkable feature of the building is that, with the exception of the Shrine, it is less of a new structure than a remodelling of old ugly barracks.

The slightly severe aspect of the exterior, with its walls of ashlar, gives no hint of the rare beauty of the interior, and , the visitor can hardly fail to experience a feeling of awed surprise on entering. Straight in front is the archway of the Shrine, guarded by exquisitely designed gates

To right and left stretches the nobly proportioned Hall of Honour, its walls occupied by regimental and other memorials, while the frieze bears the names of battle honours. Each Scottish regiment, whether raised in the Home Country or in the Overseas Dominions, has its own memorial and display of historic battle colours, and visitors can read, on the walls and in the Rolls of Honour, the numbers and names of those who served and fell in the war of 1914-18.

The Shrine, in the words of the late Sir Lawrence Weaver, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" bears much the same relation to the Hall of Honors as the sanctuary of a church to its nave. The Hall is for record and remembrance ; the Shrine for those deep emotions that transcend individual sorrows and swell into a Sursum corda for those who see what the sacrifice: has won for mankind.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"

To this end stained - glass windows and other decorations were designed, in every case by Scottish craftsmen. On Either side is a fine bronze frieze in which are depicted Scots man and women in all their varied wartime uniforms , and in the centre, below the hovering figure of St. Michael, is the beautiful Casket, given by their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary and containing the hundred thousand names of the fallen. Through the floor of the Shrine the rugged rock of the hill has been allowed to project, as if to prove on what sure foundation is based this symbol of a nations grief and gratitude.

The Memorial is extraordinarily comprehensive even Man’s humble yet helpful animal friends that played a role in this first World War are not forgotten.

\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'The Palace Yard, or Crown Square, overlooked by the memorial, contains nearly all the historic apartments of the castle. Queen Mary’s Bedroom, at the southeast corner, was the: birthplace, on June 19, 1566, of James the Sixth of Scotland and First England. The discovery (1830) of some bones, fragments of cloth and pieces of wood in the wall of the Royal Apartments gave rise to a \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Coffin in the Wall\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" legend, according to which the bones were those of Queen Mary’s child and James VI.

Another picturesque but unhistorical episode, oft retailed, is of the lowering of the infant prince in a basket from the window of the Queen\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s bedroom to escape the hands of her enemies. The vaulted Crown Room adjoins the Royal apartments Here, secured in a strong iron cage, are to be seen the Scottish \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" Regalia, or the \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\"Honours of Scotland,\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" a crown, scepter sword of state, and other jewels. With them are exhibited the golden collar of the Garter, conferred by Queen Elizabeth on James VI, with the George and Dragon, the badge of the Order bequeathed by Cardinal York, the brother of Prince Charles Edward, to George IV, and sent to Edinburgh Castle in 1830.

Here, too, is the oak chest in which the regalia were deposited at the Union, and in which they lay concealed for over a century until they were \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" officially \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" discovered in 1817 by a Commission, among the members of which was Sir Walter Scott. They had been \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" lost \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\" previously at the time of the Commonwealth, having first been hidden under the pulpit oft he Church of Kin Neff in Kincardineshire after being secretly conveyed out of Dunnottar Castle by Mrs. Granger, the wife of the parish minister, at the instance of the Governor, Sir George Ogilvie.


The Lawnmarket

That section of High Street termed the Lawnmarket is said to derive its name from the fact that the lawn or cloth sellers of the city had their booths in it.

The opening opposite the Assembly Hall is all that remains of the old West Bow, in old days one of the principal approaches to the city. At the head of it stand Free St. Columba Church (formerly free St. John1s), famous for the ministry of Dr. Guthrie. It is now used as the Free Church Assembly Hall. The shop at the head of the Bow occupies the place of the little shop, with an open wooden gallery in front of the ground floor, where the founder of the publishing house of Nelson began business as a bookseller.

Immediately opposite is Milne’s Court, erected in 1690 by the king’s Master Mason for Scotland, Robert Mylne, who enjoyed the distinction of being the seventh (and last) of his race who in succession had held that honour. One of the line erected the more modern parts of the Palace of Holyroodhouse and another was responsible for old Blackfriars Bridge, London. Just beyond Milne’s Court is James’s Court, which has been greatly altered by the extension of the Church offices, but we can still note the house in the eastern corner where David Hume lived. When he left it to go to the New Town the flat was purchased by Boswell, the biographer of Johnson, and here” Bozzy” had the honour to receive the Ursa Major of eighteenth-century literature in August, 1773.

Adjoining the lower end of the James’s Court is a tall house. Called Gladstone’s Land. Its front, of polished ashlar, with an arcade (brought to light when the house was restored) distinguishes it from the others. The original owner was Sir Robert Bannatyne, but in 1631 it was acquired by Thomas Gledstane, of the same family as William Ewart Gladstone, the great statesman. It is now the property of the Scottish National Trust and the home of the Saltire Society.

Lady Stair’s Close takes its name from Elizabeth, Countess Dowager of Stairs, in her day a leader of fashion. While she was Viscountess Primrose she was the victim of the remarkable incident (1714) recorded in Scott’s story of My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror. The house was originally built by Sir William Gray of Pittendrum, who married the daughter and heiress of Sir John Smith of Groathill, whence it came about that the Queen Mary Jewels in the possession of this family (and afterwards of the Clerks of Penicuik and the property of the nation) were long kept in this dwelling. The house was purchased and restored by the Earl of Rosebery, himself a Primrose, and in 1907 was presented to the Town Council for use as a Museum containing many antiquities worthy of notice, as are the collections of prints and autographs in the Burns, Scott, Edinburgh, and William Miller (the engraver) rooms.

Over the Lawnmarket entrance to Lady Stair’s Close is a tablet stating: “In a house on the east side of this close Robert Burns lived during his first visit to Edinburgh, 1786.\\\\\\\"

Crossing the street, and retracing our steps a little, we come to Riddle’s Close, of which only half remains. In it is another of the houses which David Hume occupied. Here his History of England was begun and his Essays were written. In the inner part of the close is Bailie Macmorran’s House.

This civic father lives in history because he was shot by one of the High School boys. The boys had become very turbulent, and when in September, 1595, a week’s holiday was refused, they barricaded the doors and declined to admit their masters. They had pistols, swords, and a plentiful supply of provision. The Town Council, the patrons of the institution, sent Bailie Macmorran’s house, being one of the finest in the city, was greatly used for banquets.

Lower down the street from Riddle’s Close we come to Fisher’s Close, in which stood the town mansion of the Buccleuch family, while in Brodie’s Close lived Deacon William Brodie, who was a member of the Incorporated Trades.

Brodie had a good business as a cabinet-maker left him by his father, and had increased by his own popularity. But in an evil hour he gave way to gambling and dissipated habits, and finally became the secret leader and director of a gang of housebreakers. He robbed many places of business in Edinburgh, but after long escaping detection was arrested and hanged in 1788. the turnpike stair on the right conducts us to the house (with fine ceilings of 1645 and 1646); the door with its massive lock- both still in the position at the entrance to his flat-is said to have been made by the Deacon’s own hands. The story is the foundation of the play by R. L. Stevenson and W.E. Henley.

Melbourne Place, at the junction of the Lawnmarket and George IV Bridge, comprises the site of the town mansion and chapel belonging to the Abbots of Cambuskenneth. After the Reformation the stones were used in the erection of a residence for Robert Gourlay, one of the officials at Holyrood. Here, too, stood until 1806 the Bank of Scotland.

At the head of the High Street, on the left-hand side between Bank Street and St. Giles Street, stands the new Sheriff Court building (completed 1937), accommodation for which was obtained by the clearing away of all the older buildings occupying this island site.

Opposite, on the right, is a quadrangular space bounded by the Midlothian Country Buildings, the Signet Library, and St. Giles Cathedral. In the space stands a Statue to Francis Walter, fifth Duke of Buccleuch (1806-84), the founder of Granton. The statue, by Boehm, has bas-reliefs illustrating incidents in Border warfare associated with the “bauld Buccleuch.”

A few steps farther in the direction of the Cathedral a Heart will be seen outlined on the causeway in partly coloured stones. This marks the spot where stood the portal of the Old Tolbooth, in which the opening incidents of Scott’s great novel, The Heart of Midlothian, took place. The superstitious still sometimes express their feeling for this prison by spitting on the “heart.” The Tolbooth - whose site as a whole is likewise indicated by special paving - blocks (some of them bearing dates denoting important reconstructions of the building) – was finally demolished in 1817, the entrance gate being presented to Sir Walter Scott and by him taken to Abbotsford. Along with it have disappeared its scarcely less famous neighbours, the Luckenbooths (“locked booths”), squeezed in between the Cathedral and the northern side of High Street, which at one time housed Allan Ramsay’s wigmaker’s shop and library; and sixteenth-century times and later, to Privy Council, College of Justice, Parliament, and Municipality.

 

A notable building in Bank Street- by which and the Mound Princess Street may be regained- is the former head office of the Bank of Scotland, founded by Act of Scottish Parliament in July, 1695. A little father down, on the left, are the New College and the Assembly Hall.

Edinburgh Fringe Office

Fringe 2009, Tattoo start 7th - End 29th August.

What is known as the Edinburgh festival is in fact an umbrella term as this encompasses many different festivals of many varieties which take place around the city of Edinburgh as the same time. Primarily, we have the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Festival and also the Blues, Television, Jazz and Book Festivals. This is in addition to the Edinburgh Tattoo and the Mela Asian Festival.

Simply, the largest Art gathering in the World by a wide margin, with over 16000 performances from over 800 companies and around 12000 participants. With around 1500 shows every day in over 200 venues, 24/7, it simply cannot be beaten on sheer numbers, leaving any other contender miles off. Started in 1947, the first fringe programme appeared in 1951 with just a single sheet. In fact for the first thirty years or so since its inception, the fringe was really dominated by Oxbridge Students and talent Scouts (Scouting the Oxbridge acts) and it was really only since the mid 1970\\\'s that the fringe festival really broadened its appeal and grown dramatically over the last quarter of the century.

COMEDY

The big success story of the fringe is Comedy, producing probably the majority of theUK\\\'s“serious” comedians (too numerous to mention, in fact it probably would be easier to mention those who have not performed at the fringe).

THEATRE

The majority of the Fringe is surprisingly not Comedy as you may expect, but theatre. Otherthan the numerous Student productions, there is a wide variety of theatre from classical Shakespeare to more modern (and often innovative) productions.

MUSIC

Many recitals and Concerts. Professionally its hard to beat the “Rehearsal Orchestra”performing during a two week season of classics, it has run since the Mid 1950\\\'s making it theoldest fringe music event. More eclectically minded people can find many World, folk, and evenBlues and Jazz (even though it has its own separate festival) performances. With “T on theFringe” often attracting popular rock and pop acts.

More popular performance are usually booked by the Assembly Rooms or Gilded Balloon, and often the Stand.


Ticket prices vary by performance and start at £5 pounds, although the average is around £10 to £15 pounds. This is usually for (on average) an hours performance.

HOW TO FIND OUT MORE:


Daily the Fringe produces “The Guide” giving performances for that day, but the Scotsman, Guardian and Edinburgh Evening News are all excellent sources of information during the fringe period. The List also covers the Festival in depth , and is pretty indispensable. Buy it whilst in Edinburgh.



The Festival fringe office can be contacted on +44 (0)131 226 0000 (www.edfringe.com).

 


 

 

 

 

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