Actually, Stirling is not currently a city.

It is officially a town, although the much smaller Dunblane, a few miles away, is called a city simply because it happens to have a cathedral, whilst Stirling only has various churches.

On the other hand, Stirling recently made a bid to become a city at the start of the new millennium when the Queen made one UK town an 'honourary city'. Unfortunately, it was beaten by Inverness, although another Scottish town will be made a city next year, when the Queen celebrates the 25th year of her reign here in the UK.

As well as being near the site of the Battle of Bannockburn and the Bannockburn Herritige Centre, which is full of information on the battle led by Robert The Bruce, it is also the home of the Wallace Monument, errected in memory of William Wallace, who was another key figure in the Scottish Jackobite rebellion.

Obviously, Stirling Castle is also located here, which makes Stirling a popular destination for tourists from all around the world. Especially Americans who saw Braveheart and want to come and say they climbed the Wallace Monument.

Although in my opinion, as someone who can see the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle just by looking out of my window, they are both rather boring places to visit when you could go to some more exciting place such as Alton Towers in England, or the various theme parks in Florida, or the rest of the United States. But apparantly, some people are extremely excited about the idea of being in the place where (we think) a bunch of people were killed hundreds of years ago. Even though there are probably people getting killed in their own back yards at home.

Stirling is an important town in central Scotland, with a long history. Its position above the River Forth made it of strategic importance historically, and Stirling Castle offers views of the whole Forth valley, including Bannockburn and the Wallace Monument.

Stirling's history

David I made Stirling a burgh in 1125, and William Wallace was to defeat Edward I at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in 1297, a battle commemmorated in the film Braveheart. Scottish independence from England was assured when Robert the Bruce finally overwhelmed the English forces of Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

James I executed his cousin and rival Murdoch, duke of Albany, at Stirling Castle in 1425, and James II murdered William, earl of Douglas at the same spot in 1452.

The castle has also seen the coronations of Scottish kings: the infant James V was crowned here in 1513, following the death of James IV at Flodden. One of Scotland's most famous historical figures, Mary, Queen of Scots, also had her coronation here, in 1543. The Wallace Monument was completed at Abbey Craig in 1869.

Modern-day Stirling

Stirling today has a population of approximately 29,500 (2001 estimate). Tourism plays a major part in Stirling's economy. Apart from the castle, monument, and battlefield, the town jail and other historic buildings are open to the public.

Stirling University was founded in 1967. Stirling Albion FC is the town football club, and Local government is carried out by Stirling District Council.

Chronicle of Britain, Chronicle Communications Ltd, 1992

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