Our trip to Scotland was structured around whisky, but we did not completely neglect the country’s history and culture. Among our non-drinking stops was the majestic Stirling Castle.
The storied castle was a main royal center at various points in history, and nowadays offers plethora of educational exhibits on the history of the Kingdom of Scotland.
Here is the approach to the castle guarded by the statue of Robert Bruce, the king who regained Scottish independence from England in the early part of the 14th century.
Most of the present buildings inside the castle walls date to the 15th century, including the Great Hall.
It actually acquired its bright-yellow exterior color during restoration less than 20 years ago.
The restoration efforts are quite obvious in the interior spaces of the castle, to the point of somewhat reducing authenticity. I love bright colors, but here they make a lot of things look too shiny-new, as opposed to time-weathered.
It makes for vivid photography, though. Here are a couple of fireplaces…
… and a couple of rooms.
The presenters in the king’s bedroom at intervals gave lively explanations of the finer points of royal etiquette.
The castle chapel is a bright spartan space with lovely sgraffito around the perimeter under the ceiling.
Probably the most fascinating exhibition at the castle is Stirling Heads, a collection of 16th-century oak medallions carved with images of kings, queens, nobles, Roman emperors and characters from the Bible and Classical mythology. Each one a meter wide, they used to adorn the ceilings of the castle and nowadays are shown in a museum-like setting.
In recent times, color replicas of many of the original heads have been created.
In fact, the ceiling of the King’s Inner Hall is now decorated by 37 such replicas.
Cold rain accompanied our visit to Stirling Castle, so most of the photography was indoors. When we stepped outside to the high palace terrace, we were greeted with panoramic views over the town of Stirling and the surrounding countryside.
That is William Wallace monument in the distance, built in the 19th century.
On balance, an impressive stop!