County (pre 1975): Stirlingshire; Region/District (1975-1996): Central/Stirling; Unitary Authority: Stirling
Stirling is clustered around a large fortress and medieval old-town beside the River Forth. Historically it was strategically important as the "Gateway to the Highlands", with its position near the boundary between the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands, and its crossing of the Forth, the nearest to the river mouth.
Once the Capital of Scotland, Stirling contains the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (under restoration) within the Castle that rivalled any building in Europe at the time. Stirling also has its medieval parish church, The Church of the Holy Rude, where King James VI was crowned King of Scots on 29 July 1567.
One of the principal royal strongholds of the Kingdom of Scotland, Stirling was created a Royal burgh by King David I in 1130, which it remained until 1975. In 2002, as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.
Major battles during the Wars of Scottish Independence took place at the Stirling Bridge in 1297 and at the nearby village of Bannockburn in 1314 involving William Wallace and Robert the Bruce respectively. There were also several Sieges of Stirling Castle in the conflict, notably in 1304.