BANNOCKBURN has been described as "the birthplace" of modern Scotland by the First Minister during a visit to a new visitor centre about the town's famous battle.

Alex Salmond was the first person to sign the guest book at the attraction, which opens tomorrow ahead of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn on June 23 and 24. The centre will feature digital characters from both Robert the Bruce and Edward II's armies, who will interact with visitors using gesture recognition technology.

They will discuss the weaponry and tactics involved in the battle,and help visitors learn about the people who took part .

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King Robert the Bruce and King Edward II will feature in 3D in the centre's Prepare for Battle room, where visitors are transported back to the night before the battle.

The First Minister was given a tour of the site with guests including Lord Elgin, a descendent of Robert the Bruce, and actor David Hayman who voices Sir James Douglas in the exhibition.

Mr Salmond said: "The highest compliment I can pay to this centre is that it rises to its setting.

"Through sensitive architecture, modern scholarship and stunning computer graphics, it will enable people from Scotland and around the world to understand why Bannockburn has resonated down these ages.

"It communicates the significance of this site as the birthplace of our modern nation.

"It helps us appreciate anew that the democracy and liberty that we enjoy today, we can in the greatest part credit to these struggles of seven centuries ago."

At the end of each visit there is a battle game where visitors will be allocated an army division which appears on a 3D map of the Stirling landscape.

Battlemasters will be on hand to provide historical details, tips and advice before declaring the successful side, summarising the results of the action with an overview of how the battle played out in 1314 and revealing the 21st-century version of the landscape and locations of conflict.

Mr Salmond added: "Here at Bannockburn are places where thousands of men lost their lives. Part of the remembrance of any battle, should be respect and honour for the fallen.

"However, the inspirational central myth of Bannockburn, lies in its preservation of Scottish freedom and independence."