By Bethany Shepard 1:46 am PST
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1. Perth

The “Fair City” of Perth lies along the banks of the River Tay. Though its title only gained traction with Sir Walter Scott’s The Fair Maiden in 1828, this ancient city dates back to the 10th century. A Royal Borough by the 12th century, Perth was the first capital of Scotland up until 1452.

Throughout several centuries, Perth survived and witnessed the Scottish Wars of Independence, uprisings, and plagues. Few buildings, including St. John Kirks, stand to this day.

In the 20th century, various businesses set up shop here, making Perth a flourishing business and financial services center.

A cathedral in the landscape of Perth Scotland.(Image:© Mikael Males | Dreamstime.com)
A cathedral in the landscape of Perth Scotland.(Photo © Mikael Males | Dreamstime.com)

2. Dunure Castle

Early nineteenth century engraving showing bridges over the river Thames with vista of London from the Southwark side, London, England. Image obtained from a high resolution scan of an original print. (Photo: © Dreamstime.com)

Dunure Castle is the fortress of the once-powerful Earls of Cassili, supposedly given as a token of their support in the Battle of Largs.

In 1429, it was the neutral ground where King James I and Lord of the Isles’ representatives, James Campbell, and Mor MacDonald, respectively, met, which eventually turned to a violent clash that left MacDonald dead.

In 1569, Gilbert Kennedy brought abbey land administrator Alan Stewart here to torture him into signing off on his claim over disputed lands, resulting in a battle that badly damaged the castle.

By the mid-1700s, Dunure Castle had outlived its military usefulness and fell into decay.

Dunure Ruins Castle and Rugged. (Photo © Jim Mcdowall | Dreamstime.com

3. London

Early nineteenth century engraving showing bridges over the river Thames with vista of London from the Southwark side, London, England. Image obtained from a high resolution scan of an original print. (Photo © Dreamstime.com)

“Londominium” was founded by Romans in 43 AD and ended with the Anglo-Saxon invasions in the fifth century.

Viking attacks led Danish settlers to the town in the ninth century, growing trade and commerce and transforming it into England’s first urban center. King Alfred the Great captured the city in 886, while King William of Normandy established the city’s existing laws.

Without a capital city, authorities moved government institutions to Westminster.

London’s port became Europe’s central goods distribution hub. However, the Industrial Revolution ultimately led to the city’s expansion. By the end of the nineteenth century, London had already become prime finance and international trading capital.

A new Greater London Council was made in 1963, composed of the old town and the 32 metropolitan boroughs which are known today.

London, at the Palace of Westminster on the River Thames (Photo © Michal Bednarek | Dreamstime.com)

4. Edinburgh

Early nineteenth century engraving of the scene at historic Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, Scotland. Image obtained from a high resolution scan of a 19th century print. (Photo © Dreamstime.com)

Edinburgh’s origins start in the seventh century when Angles attacked Dun Eiden, a small fort built by the Goddodins, and joined “Eiden” and “Burh,” an old English term for a fort, to form Edinburgh.

Commerce grew as Edinburgh became known for its wool. Soon, it became Scotland’s royal capital, and its population started to grow. However, the town was constantly stricken by plagues and fires and the need for expansion, or a “New Town” came to light.

Early nineteenth century engraving of the scene at the historic Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh, Scotland. Image obtained from a high resolution scan of a 19th century print. (Photo© Grian12 | Dreamstime.com)

The “New Town’s” was completed by the start of the nineteenth century and soon attracted Irish immigrants, bringing the town’s population to 170,000 by 1850. Buildings of interest such as Calton Hill and the Scottish National Gallery were built and continued to be built over time.

The Scottish Parliament officially opened in July 1999.

Panoramic view of Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo © Shahid Khan | Dreamstime.com)

5-6. Argyll and Bute

Eighteenth century engraving of historic Inveraray castle and landscape, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Image obtained from a high resolution scan of an original 18th century print. (Photo © Dreamstime.com)

Argyll and Bute’s history can be traced back to Iona, founded by St. Columba in 563 AD. Until Queen Margaret adopted Roman Catholicism, this area was the center of the Celtic Church.

In the late 1100s, the Norse settlers came in. Around this time, Castle Sween, built by Suibhne, the Lord of Knapdal, and Rothsay Castle, were built. By the 12th century, more and more stone castles, strategically positioned, came to be built along the Argyll shores.

The nineteenth century saw the influx of trade, investment, and people into Argyll. Urban development continued to press on into the early 20th century, which the World Wars temporarily disrupted. To this day, Argyll & Bute continues to be a popular place for tourists.

Ruins of Kilchurn Castle, awe of the loch in Argyll and the Bute, Scotland. Kilchurn Castle was the home of the Campbell clan. (Photo © Philipmorch | Dreamstime.com)