Heart of Scotland - Mark Iandolo

The setting sun delivers golden light all throughout Edinburgh, from the Dugold Stewart Monument in the foreground to the Balmoral Hotel and Edinburgh Castle in the background.

But despite all of the city’s wonders, like the monument standing in the foreground, my eyes kept focusing on one structure in particular. I couldn’t get over how incredible Edinburgh Castle was, dominating the city skyline. And what I loved about the castle, besides its photogenic nature, was that it offers a unique tale for all types of travelers.

History buffs will marvel at what the keep has been through since inception. Built on a rock inhabited for 3,000 years. Besieged 26 times. Housed the crown jewels. Fought over in wars of independence and Jacobite risings. The list goes on and on, and is endlessly fascinating – if you’re into that kind of thing.

Edinburgh Castle is also a scientist’s delight. The volcanic plug on which the fortress sits was formed 350 million years ago from the remains of a volcanic pipe cutting through sedimentary rock. Yes, I googled that, and no, I have no idea what it means. But it sure sounds epic.

For the romantics, Edinburgh Castle offers weddings at St. Margaret’s Chapel. Say your vows in a small, intimate setting inside the oldest building in the city.

Lovers of stories: clutch your loved one’s arm as you listen to tales of tortured souls from yesteryear who still haunt the grounds, or hear unexplained sounds and feel a mysterious tug on your clothes as you wander around. The castle is considered to be one of the most haunted places in Scotland.

Like four ventricles, the unique aspects of the castle combine to form the heart of a nation.

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