Stirling (Gaelic: Sruighlea ) is a city and former ancient burgh in Scotland, and is at the heart of the wider Stirling council area. The city 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, indeed, it has been described as the brooch which clasps the Highlands and the Lowlands together. Its position as the nearest crossing of the Forth to the river mouth meant that many of its visitors were in fact invaders. The beast of Stirling is the wolf, which it shares with Rome. According to legend, when Stirling was under attack from Viking invaders, a wolf howled, alerting the townspeople in time to save the town.

Once the capital of Scotland, Stirling contains the Great Hall (restored 1999) and the Renaissance Palace (restoration completed 2011) 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. The Holy Rude still functions as living church with a service every Sunday.

Stirling is a centre for local government, higher education, retail, and light industry. Its population in 2008 was 33,710, for Stirling itself, the wider urban area including Bridge of Allan and Bannockburn has a population of 45,750. This makes it the smallest city in Scotland: indeed it is smaller than many of Scotland's larger towns.

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, when the county of Stirlingshire was absorbed into Central Region. In 2002, as part of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee, Stirling was granted city status.

Read more about StirlingHistory, Geography, Governance, Demography, Economy, Sports and Recreation, Education, Twinned Cities

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Famous quotes containing the word stirling:

    Oh, if thy pride did not our joys control,
    What world of loving wonders shouldst thou see!
    For if I saw thee once transformed in me,
    Then in thy bosom I would pour my soul;
    William Alexander, Earl O Stirling (1580?–1640)