Edinburgh Castle is one of the most familiar monuments in Scotland. From modern shortbread tins and tea towels to historic paintings, prints and maps, its image has long been on prominent public display. The scenic quality of the castle has been a consistent aspect of the monument throughout its eventful history, whether as a multi-towered medieval citadel dominating the city, an ornate royal palace, a military fortress bristling with cannon, a dramatic backdrop to the eighteenth and nineteenth century New Town or, ultimately, a hugely popular tourist attraction. Yet for all its familiarity as an iconic symbol of Scottish history, the detail of that history and the story of those within its walls - whether princes or prisoners - are far less well appreciated.
Over some 30 years, archaeological, architectural and historical research has been commissioned by Historic Scotland, and carried out alongside a steady programme of repair, restoration and maintenance. This has enabled the often fragmentary traces of the castle's evolution and community to be threaded together as a complete narrative. This is the detailed history of a great castle - a reflection of its colourful and complex story, through its buildings and the lives of its occupants.