Edinburgh (Scotland)

Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh, as it is commonly believed, stands on hills, the magic number of which – seven – implies that for this city the capital’s destiny was predestined.

Edinburgh’s history

Excavations and other studies have established that the first people on the site of present-day Edinburgh appeared in the Iron and Bronze Ages (1000 BC). In the annals of Scotland appears in the I century, when the lands of the Breton (Celtic) tribe Votadinov invaded the troops of Julius Caesar. However, here, unlike in England, the conquerors did not build large fortresses, only a few forts. As for the fortress of Din Eidin of the Kingdom of Gododin, which gave the name of the city, here the British historians disagree. The fact that the name of the fortress coincides with the name of the Northumbrian king Edwin, or Eydin (c. 585 – c. 633), who took possession of it later. In 960 Edinburgh was already owned by another Celtic tribe, the Scots, and 60 years later they annexed it to Scotland. Forever, as it turned out later. But only London didn’t think so. During the wars of Scottish independence between the English and the Scots (1296-1342), Edinburgh changed hands four times. It became the capital of Scotland in 1437. The kings were engaged in their important state affairs, and the townspeople in theirs – the development of crafts and trade. In the 1440s Edinburgh controlled 47% of the wool trade in Scotland. By 1523 there were already 14 guilds of craftsmen in the city. Builders of various specialties were not the last among them. And since the XV century. began to build ten and eleven-storey stone houses and majestic public buildings. They turned Holyrood Abbey into a royal palace, and the city was surrounded by a fortress wall.

In the 30-ies. XVI century. the city was shaken by religious unrest. The first Protestant preachers were burned at the stake. But then the scale swung the other way, inspired by the preacher John Knox people smashed Catholic churches. Knox’s supporters won. And then Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland (1542-1587), a Catholic, arrived in the country from France…. Her tragic fate is reflected in the play by F. Schiller. Mary quickly realized that in Scotland should be flexible policy: did not speak out against Protestantism, but at the same time and from his Catholicism did not give up. She was much less cautious with Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533-1603). The field of confrontation between the queens was not only political and dynastic differences, but also relations with men. Mary even decided to conspire against Elizabeth, for which she was beheaded. Her son James VI (1566-1625) became king of Scotland. And in 1603 he was proclaimed King of England and Scotland in Edinburgh.

Having gone through new armed conflicts with England, the so-called Bishops’ Wars (1639-1640), the great conflagration (1700), the union with England into the United Kingdom of England and Scotland (1707. ), Jacobite uprisings, who wanted to return the Stuarts to the throne (1715 and 1745), and other upheavals associated with the struggle for power over Scotland of the crowned persons, by the XVIII century Edinburgh was engaged in what is still famous today: the development of its humanitarian sphere.

In 1767 the construction of the New Town began. In the first half of the XIX century, the largest city, the most important industrial and commercial center of Scotland becomes Glasgow. But Edinburgh remains its administrative, scientific and cultural center. It is from this time it began to be called “Northern Athens”. The National Gallery of Scotland, the Academy of Arts, the Free Public Library, the Institute of Banking are opened. And so on. The city grew and got better year by year.

In the north Edinburgh faces the Firth of Forth Bay, in the south it is bordered by a 3.2 km wide Green Belt, created in 1957.

Edinburgh today

Edinburgh consists of two main districts: the Old Town and the New Town. Both areas are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city’s 160 buildings and structures are protected as valuable historical and architectural monuments.

Edinburgh has never been an industrial city, there are no factories, only breweries. But a lot of scientists, financiers, students live here.

The banking sector of the city is not only the most modern, but also the oldest compared to other British cities. The Bank of Scotland, established in 1695 by the Scottish Parliament, does not need any recommendations, as they say. And the Royal Bank of Scotland ranks fifth in the world in terms of the total market value of issued shares.

In total, about 100 thousand students study in educational institutions of the city. About 50 thousand people are employed in the tourism sector, which is thriving in the city. Firstly, there is a lot to see here, and secondly, Edinburgh people love and know how to have fun, despite all the rumors and anecdotes about the stinginess of the Scots composed by the English. And it is not stinginess at all, but a precise economic calculation – how much we invest, how much profit we will get from it. In August, Edinburgh’s population more than doubles. Visitors come here from all over the world for the Edinburgh Arts Festival Fringe (“On the Fringe”), which includes a film festival, festivals of jazz and blues, books, science, military bands, theater and circus. And all, mind you, with the prefix “international.”
Every year this August series of festivities on the esplanade in front of Edinburgh Castle brings about 100 million pounds sterling to the city. Two other festivities that distinguish Edinburgh are the Christmas and New Year celebrations, called Hogmanay, meaning “Good Morning” in Scottish Gaelic. It begins with a torchlight procession, moves to fireworks over the castle, and continues with general dancing and rock concerts. The most stalwart run to the mouth of the River Forth on the morning of the first of January and take a dip. Another favorite holiday in town is Robert Burns Night. Songs to the poems of the great Scottish poet, and especially his “Ode to Haggis” (this is the national dish), are heard everywhere. The creator of Harry Potter, JK Rowling, lives in Edinburgh and says of the city: “It inspires me”. To understand what is behind these words, it is best to explore the city on your own: walk along the Royal Mile, where St. Giles Cathedral stands, walk up to Holyrood Palace, where Mary Stuart lived, climb Calton Hill, from which you can see all the sights and neighborhoods of Edinburgh at once. Stroll along fashionable Princes Street, which leads to the National Gallery of Scotland, which houses one of Europe’s most interesting collections of paintings and sculpture, from Renaissance to Post-Impressionism.

General Information

  • The capital and second largest city of Scotland (after Glasgow), part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Administrative-territorial division: two districts – Old Town and New Town.
  • Monetary unit: English pound sterling.
  • Languages: English, Scottish (Scots), almost identical to English and Scottish Gaelic (Celtic).
  • Religion: Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Anglicanism. In the city there is also an Islamic center (a gift from the king of Saudi Arabia), Orthodox church (Constantinople patriarchate), Coptic Orthodox church, synagogue, in the suburbs – small Hindu and Buddhist communities.
  • Ethnic composition: Scots (Celts), Anglo-Saxons, immigrants from Eastern Europe and Baltic countries.
  • Major rivers: Leith, Forth.
  • Port: Leith.
  • Airport: Edinburgh international airport.
  • Area: 259 km2.
  • Population: 477,660 (2009).
  • Population density: 1844 people/km2.
  • Highest point: volcanic rock “King Arthur’s Throne” (251 m).


  • The economy of the city is based on the service sector.
  • Edinburgh is a typical “white-collar” city. 92% of jobs are provided by public institutions, banking sector, trade, educational and scientific centers (the latter are working on the development of high technology), tourist services 3.7% of the economically active population works in industry, 3.4% – in construction, mostly immigrants from Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Climate and weather

  • Moderate maritime.
  • Average winter temperature: +3.5°C.
  • Average summer temperature: +15°C.
  • Average rainfall: 668 mm, which is considerably less than in other cities on the west coast of Scotland.
  • The microclimate of the city is created by frequent strong winds and high hills in and around the city.


  • Edinburgh Castle.
  • Holyrood Palace.
  • St. Margaret’s Church, St. Gil’s Church.
  • Royal Mile street.
  • Princes Street.
  • Gland Stone Land – 17th century shopkeeper’s house.
  • The house-museum of the 16th century Protestant reformer John Knox.
  • Balmoral Hotel with a clock on the tower.
  • Rock “King Arthur’s Throne”.
  • Scottish Monument – monument to writer Walter Scott and his dog.
  • Scottish Parliament building.
  • Royal Museum, National Museum of Scotland, Museum of Scottish History, Museum of Modern History, Writers’ Museum, Museum of Childhood, National Picture Gallery of Scotland; National Portrait Gallery of Scotland, galleries: Fruitmarket, Talbot Rice, Scottish Gallery.
  • Whisky Heritage Center.
  • Edinburgh hosts an annual arts festival.

Fun Facts

  • Recently in Edinburgh came the denouement of a musical “detective”, which is almost three hundred years old. The score of Antonio Vivaldi’s (1678-1741) concerto for flute, viola, two violins and double bass, which disappeared without a trace, was discovered in the National Archives of Scotland. II Gran Mogol is one of Vivaldi’s four concertos that bear country names. La Spagna (“Spain”), La Francia (“France”) and L’lnghllterro (“England”) remain lost. The Great Mogul premiered in January 2011.
  • Scotch whisky has a lot in common … with that new type of fuel for internal combustion engines – biobutanol, which was recently proposed by scientists at Edinburgh’s J. Napier University. For two years the researchers experimented with by-products of whisky production – barley cake and bard, and here it turned out: biobutanol is 20% more efficient than ethanol as a fuel.
  • Scottish lop-eared cats (Scottish Folds), which are kept at home by many Edinburgh residents, according to felinologists (cat specialists), are completely non-aggressive. They just don’t have the gene.
  • In 2004, UNESCO awarded Edinburgh the title “City of Literature”. It was the first city in the world to acquire this title (in 2008 it was awarded to Melbourne and Iowa City, in 2010 – to Dublin). Sending the application to UNESCO, the city accompanied it with signatures of such famous writers living in the city as J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, Ian Rankin, who invented the popular in the country Inspector Rebus, and Alexander McCall Smith, the author of novels about the detective “First Ladies Agency”. The Scottish capital has been home to such classics of English literature as Walter Scott, Robert Burnet, Robert Lewis Stevenson and Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • The clock on the tower of the Balmoral Hotel, which is located next to the city station, is three minutes late, but no one thinks to correct its hands – so that late travelers have at least a little time to spare.
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