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The Most Beautiful Sights in the Scottish City of Perth

The Scottish city of Perth is situated on the banks of the River Tay in central Scotland. It is the administrative center of the Perth and Kincross borough, and it is considered the historic county town of Perthshire.

The city became known as “The Fair City” following the 1828 publication of The Fair Maid of Perth by Scottish writer Walter Scott. While known for its lively nightlife of bars and nightclubs, the Scottish city of Perth also hosts regular events throughout the year including the Perth Festival of the Arts.

Of course, there are some interesting sights to discover in such a historic city. There are plenty of sight-seeing possibilities in Perth and in its surrounding areas that we would like to introduce you to now.

Perth Museum and Art Gallery

The Perth Museum and Art Gallery is the most important museum in the city. It’s located in the Marshall Monument, a building reminiscent of the Pantheon in Rome. The Marshall Monument was named after Thomas Hay Marshall, a former provost of Perth.

David Morison designed the monument and construction began in 1822. Two years later, it was officially opened to house the collections of the Literary and Antiquarian Society of Perth.

Today, the museum remains one of the oldest purpose-built museums in the UK. The collections there include a fragment of the Strathmore meteorite and the mummy of a woman called Ta-kr-hb.

In 1915, the Literary and Antiquarian Society donated the building to the City of Perth on the condition that the building would only ever be used as a library or museum.

Over time, the museum has received significant donations – both financial and otherwise. The number of donated paintings resulted in a need for more space. To this end, an architectural competition was held in 1930 to design an extension to the museum. Smart Stewart Mitchell won the competition, and the extension was completed in 1935.

This new annex now hosts many of the donated paintings. The museum also houses the fascinating natural history collection from the Perthshire Society of Natural Science.

Balhousie Castle

Documents indicate that the origins of this castle could go as far back as the 12th century. However, Balhousie Castle as it stands today dates back to the 17th century.

Originally serving as the seat of the Earls of Kinnoull, the castle stood within a walled enclosure, surrounded by outbuildings and orchards on a terrace that overlooked the North Inch. After experiencing major neglect, it had to be rebuilt basically from scratch in the 19th century. Architect David Smart did the remodel in the Scottish Baronial style between 1862 and 1864. No original features remained afterwards except for parts of the original stone walls on the east side of the castle.

The Regimental Trustees of the Black Watch have owned the castle since January 2009. Since then, it has served as both the regiment’s headquarters and a museum where you can learn about the regiment’s history. It also houses Frank Feller’s famous painting No Surrender, which depicts the aftermath of the Battle of Magersfontein during the Second Boer War.

Scone Abbey

Dating back to 1114, Scone Abbey was the home of the Augustinian canons of Scone. It was first founded as a priory by six canons from Nostell Priory in West Yorkshire. Only a copy of the foundation charter exists today, as the original was unfortunately lost in a fire in 1163.

In 1163, the priory was promoted to the status of an abbey under the reign of King Máel Coluim IV. Following this, Scone Abbey had important royal functions and was situated right next to the coronation site of Scottish kings. The abbey also housed the so-called “Stone of Destiny” until it was stolen by King Edward I of England.

After the Reformation in 1559, almost all of the Scottish abbeys disappeared. The abbey in Scone was the only one to continue to function well into the 17th century. Its ownership was then passed on to the Murrays of Scone.

The abbey ultimately ended up neglected as history took its course, and its location was even entirely forgotten. It wasn’t until 2007 that archaeologists rediscovered the site with the help of magnetic resonance imaging technology. In 2008, the discovery of three graves with complete human skeletons once again stoked archaeological intrigue of the abbey grounds.

Perth Bridge

Perth Bridge spans the River Tay. This connects the Scottish city of Perth, which is on the western side, with Bridgend in the east. Built in 1771 by engineer John Smeaton, the bridge is now a listed building.

Just three years after its completion, the strength of the bridge was put to the test; a large chunk of ice became wedged under the arches of the bridge, forming a natural dam. Large parts of Perth were flooded as a result, but the bridge stood strong against the barrage of water and ice. It has survived many more floods since.

The bridge was widened in 1869 due to increased levels of traffic crossing it. Among other things, the stone parapet was removed, and the footpath was placed over iron girders. Today, this bridge is still one of the most impressive photo motifs in Scotland.

Huntingtower Castle

History and construction

Huntingtower Castle is located near the village of Huntingtower, about five kilometers northwest of the Scottish city of Perth. It was built in stages from the 15th century onwards. Owned by the Clan Ruthven, the castle had originally been known as the Ruthven Castle. However, this family was arrested in 1600 for the Gowrie Conspiracy, leading to the name Ruthven being suppressed. The castle is therefore now named after the village of Huntingtower.

The original ‘Huntingtower,’ now known as Eastern Tower, was a free-standing building constructed primarily as a gatehouse. It consists of three floors and an attic under the roof. Towards the end of the 15th century, a second tower was erected next to the ‘Huntingtower,’ with a gap of about three meters between the two. This second tower, now known as the Western Tower, had an L-shaped ground plan and was connected to the ‘Huntingtower’ by a wooden bridge below the battlement level.

It is assumed that this construction was used for defense. If one tower was attacked and taken, the inhabitants could then flee to the other and pull up the bridge between the two towers.

The space between the two towers was expanded in the late 17th century, helping to form the castle’s current shape. In this same period, the number and size of the windows were also increased, especially in the West Tower.

A large hall was built on the north side of the West Tower in the 16th century, though none of its remains are left above ground, except for a section that shows the position of the roof on the tower.  The defensive walls that originally enclosed the castle were also removed.

Notable characteristics

Among the interesting features of Huntingtower Castle are the early 16th century murals that can be admired on the first floor of the East Tower. They include depictions of flowers, animals, and biblical scenes, as well as intricate patterns painted on the wooden ceiling.

There are grotesque animals painted on the main beams and Renaissance-style knot patterns on the planks above. This painted ceiling is believed to be the earliest of its kind to survive in Scotland. Small fragments of murals have also survived in the West Tower.

As it is true for many places in Scotland, the castle has some pretty interesting legends surrounding it. One such legend is the haunting of Huntingtower by a ghost called “Lady Greensleeves.” She appears as a ghostly young woman in a silky green dress. She is said to appear most commonly at dusk, but some witnesses also report sightings during the day. According to the tale, her appearance is supposed to be an evil omen, warning of impending misfortune.

A second legend concerns St. Conval’s Well, which is located next to the road below the castle. The water from this well is said to have healing powers, but those who fetch it must do so silently ­– any word spoken on the way there or back renders the powers useless.

Today the castle is open to the public. It is a popular venue for weddings. We highly recommend a visit to this castle, but keep in mind that there is an entrance fee.

Conclusion

The Scottish city of Perth is a fascinating city that offers a quintessentially Scottish experience. There are many sights to discover in the city, including the Perth Museum and Art Gallery, Balhousie Castle, and Perth Bridge. However, there are also many interesting sights to be found outside the city. The Scottish city of Perth is definitely a destination you don’t want to miss.

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