Stirling Castle – Popular Tourist Attraction
Stirling Castle is one of the grandest castles of Scotland and one of the most popular visitor attractions in the country. It towers majestically from its imposing location, 250 feet above the plains on an elevation that was an extinct volcano. Stirling Castle was of the greatest strategic importance militarily during the 13th and 14th century Wars of Independence.
It was besieged several times and its long and colorful history involves great names like William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Many important events in the history of Scotland past took place at Stirling Castle, including the violent murder of the eighth Earl of Douglas by James II in 1452. It was the favorite royal residence of many of the Stuart Monarchs. Stirling Castle had a significant part in the life of Mary Queen of Scots. She spent her childhood in the castle and Mary’s coronation took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543.
Most of Stirling Castle that we see today dates back to the 100 year period between 1496 and 1583. Stirling Castle is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of the architecture of that period in Europe. The immense Great Hall, which dates from the end of the Middle Ages, had been built by James IV in 1503. James IV also built the Kings Old building. The Great Hall was converted to a four storey military barracks in the 19th Century. The Great Hall and has now been painstakingly restored to its medieval glory with outstanding wood work on the ceiling. It was restored with a new oak hammerbeam roof, restored wall walks, leadlight windows and interior galleries.
Stirling Castle is also well known for the early Renaissance grandeur of the Palace with its carved heads which was built by James V. It was completed after his death. The Chapel Royal was also built by James VI for the baptism of Prince Henry in 1594.
Stirling Castle today houses excellent historical displays which includes a recreation of the 16th century kitchens. These are sensory and interactive exhibits. The Regimental Museum of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders details their eventful history from 1794 to the present.