Inverness stands at the northern end of the Great Glen, astride the outlet of Loch Ness, and has long been known as the capital of the Highlands. At the very hub of the Highland communications system, the town makes an ideal touring centre for much of the Highlands. The strategic importance of this site has been appreciated from earliest times as testified by the existence in the vicinity of a variety of ancient sites and monuments. St Calumba is said to have visited Brude, King of the Picts at his capital beside the Ness, although the exact site is unsure. By the 11 Century King Duncan made famous by Shakespeare, had his castle in the town.
The town's very strategic importance was its downfall in later times when it suffered variously at the hands of the English, Bruce himself. turbulent Highland clans, the Lord of the Isles, Mary Queen of Scots' supporters and Jacobites. The post' 15 Rising, law and order policy for the Highlands enacted by General Wade included the creation of a citadel, as one of several strategic strongholds in the Highland fringes. Such a troubled history means that Inverness has few historic buildings. The architecture of the town of today is largely that of the 19 century one of expansion due in large to Telford's construction of the Caledonian Canal (1803-22) and the arrival of the railway. Inverness remains the administrative centre for both the district and region.