Inverness (ĭnˌvərnĕsˈ) [key], town (1991 pop. 39,736), Highland, N Scotland, on the Moray Firth at the mouth of the Ness River. "Capital of the Highlands," it is a seaport and transportation center due to its proximity to the river and the Caledonian Canal, completed in 1812. The town has diverse light industries, including printing, food processing, distilling, wool weaving, and shipbuilding, in addition to a herring fishery. Electrical and mechanical products and automobile parts are also manufactured. Inverness holds an annual cattle and wool market.
An ancient town, it is thought to have been a Pict stronghold. The castle, reputedly built under Malcolm III (late 11th cent.), was involved in many wars and was blown up by the Jacobites in 1746. A new castle was built in 1835. Frequent invasions have destroyed most of the town's old buildings. Cromwell's Fort was demolished at the Restoration by Charles II. Inverness, a thriving tourist center, has a museum of Highland relics and hosts an annual Highland Gathering.