A short Introduction to Edinburgh

Edinburgh (or Dùn Èideann, as it is called in Scottish Gaelic) is not only the capital of Scotland, but also one of the most impressive cities. Its population in 2010 was 486,120 and I’m sure in the festival month of August (The Fringe) there are at least  another 400,000 tourists (I’m sure it is much more, because in 2007 there were over 3 million visitors attending all the different kinds of festivals throughout the year which the city offered) enjoying all different kinds of theatre, comedy, music…

View to Old Town from North Bridge

Arriving at Edinburgh Central Station (Waverly Station) will ultimately make you feel like being in an old medieval town with buildings carved out of a giant rock in one piece. Leaving the station on the one side you will see the so-called Old Town, on the other side the New Town, both will be ready to be explored by you – and by many, many other tourists, believe me…

Old Town

Edinburgh's Old TownEdinburgh's Old Town (Source: OpenStreetMap)

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Old Town - View to the Grassmarket

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Not only can you see the famous Edinburgh Castle in the Old Town, but also – and in my opinion that is the REAL highlight of the Old Town – the first “high rise” residential buildings. It wasn’t that exceptional in Edinburgh to build dwellings with ten to eleven storeys – there is also one building with 15(!) storeys. Remember, we are talking about buildings erected in the 18th century. 

Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle
Edinburgh CastleEdinburgh Castle

New Town

Because of a rising population in the 18th century there were also the idea of building more houses to catch up with all the immigration. In 1766 there was a competition about erecting the so-called “New Town”. 22-year-old James Craig, who won the competition, handed in a grid-plan (those kind of symmetric plans they also use to develop many of the cities for instance in North and South America) which was so successful that they had to extend its area and build more dwellings.

Edinburgh's New Town (Source: OpenStreetMap)
Street in New TownStreet in New Town
Street in New TownStreet in New Town

Holyrood

The Scottish Parliament (or Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) is located in the Holyrood-area of Edinburgh, next to the Palace of Hoolyroodhouse (the official residence of the Queen). What you need to know is that on 1st July  in 1999, after being governed for over 292 years from London, Scotland had again its own parliament. In 2004 the new parliament building, designed by the Catalan architect  Enric Miralles, was opened.

Scottish ParliamentScottish Parliament
Scottish ParliamentScottish Parliament

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