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In the long, bitter struggle for independence, Scotland never capitulated, and when at last it became part of the United Kingdom in 1707 it was by treaty, even if many Scots regarded the Act of Union[6] as a piece of treachery. It is still a land apart, with a very separate culture. Scotland retained its separate legal and ecclesiastical systems, and until well into the 20th century its separate system of free education was the most advanced and generous in Britain. Nowadays, it has its own Parliament.

III. Scotlands beautiful capital.

1. Introduction

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. This distinction is partly an accident of Nature, for the city is built upon jumble of hills and valleys; however, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the natural geography was enhanced by the works of a succession of distinguished Georgian and Victorian architects.

Evidence that Stone Ages settlers lived in Edinburgh has been found on Calton Hill[7], Arthurs Seat[8] and Castlehill, and the towns early history centres around Castlehill. Some historians believe that this volcanic hill was a tribal stronghold as early as 600 BC.

One tribe who definitely made their mark were a group of Nothumbrians, whose 7th-century king Edwin[9], is thought to have given his name to the castle and town. Burgh is a Scottish word for borough (a small town).

2. Edinburghs Castle

The Royal Castle of Edinburgh is the most powerful symbol of Scotland. For centuries, this mighty fortress has dominated its surroundings with a majesty, which has deeply impressed many generations.

The volcanic castle rock in Edinburgh was born over 340 million years ago following a violent eruption deep in the earths crust. Its story as a place of human habitation stretches back a mere 3,000 years, to the late Bronze Age. It was evidently a thriving hill-top settlement when Roman soldiers marched by in the first century AD.

The place had become an important royal fortress by the time of Queen Margarets[10] death there in November 1093. Throughout the Middle Ages Edinburgh Castle ranked as one of the major castles of the kingdom and its story is very much the story of Scotland. But within the building of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in the early 16th century, the castle was used less and less as a royal residence, though it remained symbolically the heart of the kingdom.

Edinburgh Castle is the home of the Scottish Crown Jewels, the oldest Royal Regalia in Britain. The Honours of Scotland the Crown, Sword and Sceptre were shaped in Italy and Scotland during the reigns of King James IV and king James V and were first used together as coronation regalia in 1543.

After the 1707 Treaty of Union between Scotland and England, the Honours were locked away in the Crown Room and the doors were walled up. 111 years later, the Honours were rediscovered and immediately displayed to the public. Displayed with the Crown Jewels is the Stone of Destiny, returned to Scotland after 700 years in England.

Edinburgh Castle boasts having the giant siege gun Mons Meg in its military collection. Mons Meg (or simply Mons) was made at Mons (in present-day Belgium) in 1449. It was at the leading edge of artillery technology at the time: it weighs 6040 kilogrammes and its firing gunstones weigh 150 kilogrammes. It soon saw action against the English. But it great weigh made it ponderously slow to drag around it could only make 5 kilometres a day. By the middle of the 16th century it was retired from military service and restricted to firing salutes from the castle ramparts. It was returned to the castle in 1829.

3. The Military Tattoo

: 29/08/2008