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Friday, June 20, 2008


Scotland - Mountain and loch, sheer rocks, and a sky create a drama that scarcely can be beaten. Edinburgh born writer Robert Louis Stephen son could not understand why this abundance of eccentrics was not a theatrical scene but an everyday view of his city. Scotland has been a constituent part of Great Britain since the Act of Union was passed by the legislatures of England and Scotland in 1707. However, the union of these two ancient lands has not always been an easy one, and even after 1707 wars and rebellions by Scots determined to maintain their full independence were not uncommon. Many of these conflicts have been celebrated in popular culture and some have even been given the Hollywood treatment. One of the most notable examples was “Braveheart”, a 1995 film produced, directed and starring Australian actor Mel Gibson. While not completely accurate, the film told the story of William Wallace and his struggle to keep Scotland fully independent in the face of attacks and invasions from England’s King Edward I in the early 14th century Edinburgh, world cultural heritage, and festival city masterfully sets the scene and surprises not only the poet with its sense of the theatrical. The castle alone in its imposing position on black basalt rocks with its St. Margaret's Chapel built in 1090 seems shrouded in mystery and today houses the Scottish Crown Jewels, that includes a crown made with gold mined in Scotland. In a tiny room in the castle the Scottish Queen Mary Stuart bore her son James VI who ruled Scotland and following the death of Queen Elizabeth also over England. With his move to London he also sealed the fate of the Scottish monarchy.