Read about the city
Edinburgh is Scotland's old and charming capital, where chill and bagpipe music is seen and heard in the streets. Sandstone buildings, the cozy Old Town, The Royal Mile, breathtaking views from the hills in or near the center and stunningly beautiful surroundings are just some of the other things that come with a visit to the Scottish city.
Literally, Edinburgh Castle is the highlight of the city, with its dramatic location at the top of a cliff top right in the city center. The castle is the center of the city and also the center of the city's famous tattoo. From Edinburgh Castle, the famous Royal Mile extends east to the Holyroodhouse Castle, and there are countless sights along the mile. Old churches and typical Scottish houses are abundant here.
The 18th-century New Town district is a short walk from the Royal Mile. New Town is constructed according to a strict contemporary street layout. Here you can walk along the grand Princes Street, which serves as one of Edinburgh's main streets.
Everywhere in town, a Scottish atmosphere is buzzing with shops selling kilts and bagpipes, and Scottish food and drink should be tried as well; it can be haggis and a glass of whisky. Edinburgh is surrounded by beautiful scenery and it is never far to good opportunities for walks in the parks, by the sea and on some of the many hills that is around the city. A hike to Arthur's Seat is a suggestion.
- Holyrood Abbey: The Church of Holyrood Abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I. Several Scottish kings were buried in the church, Queen Marie Stuart was married here, and King Charles I was crowned here in 1633. Today, Holyrood Abbey is in ruins.
- Camera Obscura and World of Illusions: Camera Obscura is the name of one of Edinburgh's most spectacular sights. The whole of Edinburgh is reflected and thus shown as a living film through rotating mirrors from 1853.
- The Museum of Edinburgh: This is Edinburgh's city history museum, and through its fine collection you can learn about the history of the area and the city from prehistoric times to the present day.
- The Queen’s Gallery: This is an art museum adjacent to the regent's Holyroodhouse. You can visit and enjoy changing exhibitions of works from the Royal Art Collection.
- Greyfriars Kirk: This is a church from 1612, and it became especially famous in 1638. It was the place where the Scottish Reformation was signed that year. The fine church is today located as an oasis away from the city traffic.
- Victoria Street: Victoria Street is probably something many people will recognize from photographs from Edinburgh. The street connects the area of the Royal Mile with the Grassmarket, and there are beautifully painted shop facades along the curved course of the road.
- Balmoral Hotel: The Balmoral Hotel is Edinburgh's classic upscale hotel. It opened its doors in 1902 as a railway hotel called the North British Hotel. Many celebrities have stayed at the hotel over time.
- Scottish National Portrait Gallery: In this national gallery you can see a depiction of Scotland's history from the 16th century to the present day through paintings. Here are also other works by i.a. Dali and Picasso.
- Scott Monument: The Scott Monument is a 61 meter/200 foot high monument erected in memory of the Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. The monument was built 1841-1844 with a narrow spiral staircase to a nice view from the top.
- National Gallery of Scotland: Scotland's National Gallery houses a fine collection of European and Scottish paintings. Here you can see works by Raphael, Velázquez, van Gogh and Gauguin, among others.
- Royal Botanic Garden: Edinburgh's Botanical Garden is one of the largest in the world when it comes to the number of species, and there are many fine places to see here. It is a park with a Chinese garden, a tropical house, a palm house, an orchid house and a rock garden with waterfalls.
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The first settlers came to the Edinburgh area around 850 BC The place has obviously been attractive due to the 134 meter high cliff, Castle Rock, which has been able to act as a natural defense position and lookout post all the way to the water to the north.
In the 500s, the English moved north from England and colonized south-east Scotland. It was during this period that Edinburgh got its name - when King Edwin of Northumberland built his castle here. It originally came to Edwinsburgh.
The city takes shape
The castle in Edinburgh long seemed to be Scotland's southernmost border. It was not until 1018 during King Malcolm II that the boundary line was taken along River Tweed.
The fact that the city was no longer just a citizen on the border, but a centerpiece in a Scottish region, led to the rapid development of a large trade below Castle Rock in the 1000s.
In the 1100s, the first major permanent residences were built in the area below the castle, and Edinburgh was thus a reality as a city.
Edinburgh was granted commercial property rights in 1329 under Robert the Bruce, which contributed to the city's continued growth. Within the following century, the city became Scotland's leader and in 1437 it became the nation's capital. A few years later, in the mid-1400s, city walls were erected around the buildings and the market area.
Edinburgh is growing
The city's growth continued, and the area within the city walls quickly became extremely cramped, so Edinburgh was built on several floors (with time up to the currently impressive twelve floors), separating it from many other cities during the period. In addition to the city gaining more citizens, it underwent a cultural and scientific development.
During this period, educational institutions and companies were founded in Edinburgh, among others in the printing industry. The city was now the clear leader in the area.
The turning point of the 16th century
was to become a turning point in the development of the city. King James IV of Scotland fought with his 10,000 soldiers at the Battle of the River. He was killed and Edinburgh's development stopped for a time.
England's King Henry VIII wanted King James IV's sister Mary to marry his son, but Mary was sent to France by the Scots instead. Edinburgh was then attacked by England led by King Henry VIII.
It was also during these decades in the mid-1500s that religious strife emerged on the basis of the Reformation. The clashes between Catholics and supporters of the Reformation culminated in 1560, when the Scottish Parliament founded the Scottish Protestant Church, which was independent of the Vatican's Pope. The Pope's authority disappeared and Latin was assigned to the high fairs.
New rule from London
King James VII became King of England and Scotland, and he left his residence in London. The influence of Edinburgh diminished further and religious disagreements flared up again.
In 1633, King Charles I proposed the introduction of diocesan rule in Scotland, which only furthered the struggle of the Christian community. After a few years, the Presbyterian faith community had won this religious struggle. The event was instrumental in creating a new cultural and intellectual boom in Edinburgh.
The political influence of the city was reduced by the Union Agreement of 1707, which established a united parliament for England and Scotland, and thereby Scotland was ruled from London.
Growth from the 18th century
Population figures and economically, the latter half of the 18th and 19th centuries became a solid period of growth. The population quadrupled in the period to 400,000. The old town was redeveloped and new areas were built with many beautiful Georgian buildings.
The 20th Century to Today
The city that visitors can see today has emerged through centuries of exciting history and construction. It has been influenced by the 20th century redevelopment of some boroughs, while the establishment of modern Edinburgh.
After 1945, the city was developed into an international research and education center. In addition to this cultural development, Edinburgh's former political position as a city of government has been re-established. A new Scottish Parliament has been established, making Edinburgh once again the absolute political center of Scotland.
Edinburgh is today considered one of the best places to live in the UK, with a rich cultural offering, low crime rate and a highly educated population, and it is all something that also benefits tourists.
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