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Castle Esplanade

The Castle Esplanade is a wide parade-ground (128m / 140 yards by 91m / 100 yards) suspended on the eastern edge of Castle Rock in Edinburgh at the entrance to Edinburgh Castle. This is the venue for the annual Edinburgh Military Tattoo, with vast grandstands temporarily erected on three sides in the summer months. During the remainder of the year, the esplanade gives fine views to the north and south across the city.

Although laid out in its current form c.1816, this area had been favoured as a place of execution for centuries. A plaque and fountain at the northeast corner was erected in 1894 as a memorial to the three hundred women burned here as witches between 1479 and 1722. Arranged along the northern side of the esplanade are various military memorials. These include a bronze statue of Frederick, Duke of York (1763 - 1827), dating from 1839, and a granite obelisk erected to honour the 72nd Duke of Albany's Own Highlanders in 1883. The grave of Ensign Charles Ewart, a sergeant in the Royal North British Dragoons (Scots Greys) who single-handedly captured the standard of the French 45th Infantry Regiment at Waterloo in 1815, lies beneath a simple monument in the form of an immense block of Swedish granite (by William Kininmonth, 1938). The standard he captured can be seen in the National War Museum of Scotland in the Castle, while a public house lying just to the east, on the Lawnmarket, is named in his honour. There are also Celtic crosses in honour of the 78th Highlanders (by Robert Rowand Anderson, 1861), the Scottish Horse (1905) and a particularly fine example to Colonel Kenneth Douglas Mackenzie (1811-73) by John Steell (1875). An equestrian statue of Field Marshal Earl Haig (1861 - 1928) was located here from 1923 until 2011. It can now be seen inside the Castle close to the National War Museum of Scotland.


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