Early castles in Scotland began to be built around the 12th century.
They were mostly commissioned by the rich members of the nobility who had risen to power and fortune through the local feudal system.
Initially, the castles were mostly built as effective fortifications with a place for the lord’s residence, in the motte-and-bailey style popularized by the Normans.
In time, more spacious, better defended and elaborately constructed castles came to be built.
Edinburgh Castle has remained one of the most recognized symbols of Scottish royal authority during the medieval period.
The castle was constructed at the behest of King David I in the 12th century and remained the seat of the royalty all the way until the 17th century.
Given its central political significance, the castle was frequently involved in the medieval conflicts and frequently switched hands. Most of the original structure of the castle is well-preserved today and the castle is open to visitors.
The Eilean Donan Castle is a Scottish castle which dates back to the 13th century. At the time, the castle was constructed at the behest of Alexander II and originally featured a sizable curtain-wall for defensive purposes.
Built on a small tidal island, the castle occupied an excellent positions in terms of defense during the medieval period and was seen as a vital bulwark against a possible Norsemen excursion into the region.
Given its strategic position, the castle underwent frequent attacks and was damaged a number of times during the medieval period. It was finally restored in the 20th century and remains one of the most popular tourist spots.
The Dunstaffnage Castle was built by the powerful MacDougall clan in the 13th century. Located on top of a huge piece of rock, the castle served both as a formidable military fortification as well as the residence of the local lords.
Its original structure featured a sizable curtain wall which made it very defensible against potential attackers.
The ownership of the castle shifted to nobles loyal to the crown in the 14th century although the MacDougall clan had recovered the castle within a few decades.
The Dunstaffnage Castle is one of those Scottish castles which have been occupied until the modern period, with the castle being in active use as late as the 18th century.
Today the castle stands well-preserved and is open to tourists.
The Caerlaverock Castle was built by the Maxwell family in southern Scotland. Located along the southern coast, the castle was constructed in the 13th century and was an excellently fortified structure.
The castle was surrounded by a triangular moat during the medieval period and was situated at a lofty position so that it commanded a view of several trade routes passing nearby.
Such position made the castle significant and the owner of the castle held significant power during the medieval period.
Since its construction in the 13th century, the castle has underwent many restorations and reconstructions. It remained in use until the 17th century and stands well-preserved today.