Stirling Castle is a symbol of Scottish independence and a source of national pride. It was the center of art, culture and celebrity in the 16th Century. The Castle's turbulent history is associated with great figures from Scotland’s past such as William Wallace and Mary Queen of Scots.

View of Stirling Castle from the southeast. Mary Queen of Scots spent her childhood in the castle and Mary's coronation, when only an infant, took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543.

View of Stirling Castle from the southeast.  Mary Queen of Scots spent her childhood in the castle and Mary's coronation, when only an infant, took place in the Chapel Royal in 1543.

Stirling Castle Historic Marker.

Stirling Castle Historic Marker.

View from the castle with the William Wallace Monument on the far left. Born in 1270 he was executed in London in 1305. The movie Braveheart is based on his life.

View from the castle with the William Wallace Monument on the far left.  Born in 1270 he was executed in London in 1305.  The movie Braveheart is based on his life.

Closer view of the Monument. Sir William Wallace was a hero of Scottish independence who won several battles against his English foe King Edward.

Closer view of the Monument.  Sir William Wallace was a hero of Scottish independence who won several battles against his English foe King Edward.

In 1314 the Castle was in English hands & besieged by the Scots. Edward II's army marched from England to break the siege. Robert the Bruce & his men, despite being outnumbered, defeated the English.

In 1314 the Castle was in English hands & besieged by the Scots. Edward II's army marched from England to break the siege.  Robert the Bruce & his men, despite being outnumbered, defeated the English.

Marker detailing the Siege of 1651, when Cromwell's army took the castle after the Scottish coronation of Charles II. It was the last time that the Castle fell to an enemy.

Marker detailing the Siege of 1651, when Cromwell's army took the castle after the Scottish coronation of Charles II.  It was the last time that the Castle fell to an enemy.

The Church of the Holy Rude is the second oldest building in Stirling, Scotland, after Stirling Castle. Way off in the distance to the right of the church is the site of the Battle of Bannockburn.

The Church of the Holy Rude is the second oldest building in Stirling, Scotland, after Stirling Castle. Way off in the distance to the right of the church is the site of the Battle of Bannockburn.

Cannon at the French Spur, Stirling Castle. Probably built by French soldiers just before 1550, on the orders of Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Cannon at the French Spur, Stirling Castle. Probably built by French soldiers just before 1550, on the orders of Mary of Guise, mother of Mary Queen of Scots.

Forework Gatehouse Marker. James IV ordered the construction around 1500 to strengthen the defenses and declare himself a great European ruler.

Forework Gatehouse Marker.  James IV ordered the construction around 1500 to strengthen the defenses and declare himself a great European ruler.

The Forework Gatehouse, entry to the main part of Stirling Castle. Flowers in the Queen Anne Garden are visible to the lower left.

The Forework Gatehouse, entry to the main part of Stirling Castle. Flowers in the Queen Anne Garden are visible to the lower left.

Exterior of the Great Hall at Stirling Castle. It is the largest of its kind ever built in Scotland. The walls are rendered in Royal Gold harling, as they would have been in the 1500's.

Exterior of the Great Hall at Stirling Castle. It is the largest of its kind ever built in Scotland. The walls are rendered in Royal Gold harling, as they would have been in the 1500's.

"Bridge" from the Royal Palace to the Great Hall at Stirling Castle. On the left are some of the classical god and goddess statues that line the walls of the Palace.

"Bridge" from the Royal Palace to the Great Hall at Stirling Castle.  On the left are some of the classical god and goddess statues that line the walls of the Palace.

Exterior of the Royal Palace one of the finest & best-preserved Renaissance buildings in Great Britain. After major restoration it now is similar to how it may have looked when completed around 1545.

Exterior of the Royal Palace one of the finest & best-preserved Renaissance buildings in Great Britain. After major restoration it now is similar to how it may have looked when completed around 1545.

Exterior of the Great Hall at Stirling Castle from the other side.

Exterior of the Great Hall at Stirling Castle from the other side.

Interior of the Chapel Royal.

Interior of the Chapel Royal.

Great Hall interior facing north. The original roof was removed in the late 1700's. It has been replaced with a replica hammer beam roof modeled on the original one at Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall.

Great Hall interior facing north. The original roof was removed in the late 1700's. It has been replaced with a replica hammer beam roof modeled on the original one at Edinburgh Castle’s Great Hall.

Great Hall interior facing south. The dais end, it is where the king and queen were seated. The Hall was heated by five large fireplaces and included galleries for minstrels and trumpeters.

Great Hall interior facing south. The dais end, it is where the king and queen were seated.  The Hall was heated by five large fireplaces and included galleries for minstrels and trumpeters.

Decoration above a fireplace in the Palace. The Palace was designed to display James V’s wealth, learning and sophistication, as well as asserting his right to rule.

Decoration above a fireplace in the Palace.  The Palace was designed to display James V’s wealth, learning and sophistication, as well as asserting his right to rule.

King's Presence Chamber originally included an ornate ceiling of over 100 carved oak heads (the Stirling Heads). Many were lost or destroyed but some survived & were used to create replicas.

King's Presence Chamber originally included an ornate ceiling of over 100 carved oak heads (the Stirling Heads). Many were lost or destroyed but some survived & were used to create replicas.

Image above the restored fireplace in the King's Chamber of the Palace.

Image above the restored fireplace in the King's Chamber of the Palace.