Edinburgh Travel Blog› entry 2 of 12 › view all entries
July 6th, 2007 – by: mellemel8
Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and its second largest city. Edinburgh is 45 miles away from Glasgow, 15 from Livingston and 100 miles from Carlisle and Aberdeen
It is in the south-east of Scotland, on the east coast of Scotland's "Central Belt", on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, on the North Sea and, because of its rugged setting and vast collection of Medieval and Georgian architecture including numerous stone tenements, it is one of the most dramatic cities in Europe.
It forms the City of Edinburgh council area; the city council area includes urban Edinburgh and a 30sq mile rural area.
It has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 (replacing Scone) and is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, gaining the nickname Athens of the North. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city, the highest concentration in the world. In the census of 2001, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 448,624.
Edinburgh is well-known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, a collection of official and independent festivals held annually over about four weeks from early August. The number of visitors attracted to Edinburgh for the Festival, is roughly equal to the settled population of the city.
Other notable events include the Hogmanay street party (31 December), Burns Night (25 January), St. Andrew's Day (November 30), and the Beltane celebrations (30 April).
The city is one of Europe's major tourist destinations, attracting roughly 13 million visitors a year, and is the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.
The historic centre of Edinburgh is divided in two by the broad green swath of Princes Street Gardens. To the south the view is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, perched atop the extinct volcanic crag, and the long sweep of the Old Town trailing after it along the ridge.
To the immediate west of the castle lies the financial district, housing insurance and banking buildings. Probably the most noticeable building here is the circular sandstone building that is the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
The Old Town has preserved its medieval plan and many Reformation-era buildings. One end is closed by the castle and the main artery, the Royal Mile, leads away from it; minor streets (called closes or wynds) lead downhill on either side of the main spine in a herringbone pattern. Large squares mark the location of markets or surround major public buildings such as St Giles Cathedral and the Law Courts. Other notable places of interest nearby include the Royal Museum of Scotland, Surgeons' Hall, the University of Edinburgh, and numerous underground streets and vaults, relics of previous phases of construction.
Due to the space restrictions imposed by the narrowness of the "tail" the Old Town became home to some of the earliest "high rise" residential buildings. Multi-storey dwellings known as lands were the norm from the 1500s onwards with ten and eleven stories being typical and one even reaching fourteen stories.
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