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Just scotish

Edinburgh is the second-largest city in Scotland and its capital city. It is situated on the east coast of Scotland's central lowlands on the south shore of the Firth of Forth and in the unitary local authority of City of Edinburgh. It has been the capital of Scotland since 1437 and is the seat of the country's devolved government. The city was one of the major centres of the enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh. The Old Town and New Town districts of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. In the census of 2001, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 448,624.

Historic centre

Edinburgh is well known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, the largest performing arts festival in the world, and for the Hogmanay street party. At the time of the art festivals the population of the city doubles. The city is one of the world'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 into 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 north lies Princes Street and the New Town. The gardens were begun in 1816 on marshland which had once been the Nor' Loch.To the immediate west of the castle lies the financial district, housing insurance and banking buildings. Probably the most eyecatching building is the huge 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, known as 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 Royal Festival Theatre, and the University of Edinburgh. The street layout, typical of the old quarters of many northern European cities, is made especially picturesque in Edinburgh, where the castle perches on top of a rocky crag, the remnants of a dormant volcano, and the main street runs down the crest of a ridge from it.

Famouse architecture

The topography for the city is known as "crag and tail" and was created during the ice age when receding glaciers scored across the land pushing soft soil aside but being split by harder crags of volcaninc rock. The hilltop crag was the earliest part of the city to develop, becoming fortified and eventually developing into the current Edinburgh Castle. The rest of the city grew slowly down the tail of land from the Castle Rock. This was an easily defended spot with marshland on the south and a loch, the Nor Loch, on the north. Access up the main road to the settlement therefore was restricted by means of various gates and a City Wall (now mostly gone). The New Town was an 18th century solution to the problem of an increasingly crowded Old Town. The city had remained incredibly compact, confined to the ridge running down from the castle. In 1766 a competition to design the New Town was won by James Craig, a 22-year old architect. The plan that was built created a rigid, ordered grid, which fitted well with enlightenment ideas of rationality. The principal street was to be George Street, which follows the natural ridge to the north of the Old Town. Either side of it are the other main streets of Princes Street and Queen Street. Princes Street has since become the main shopping street in Edinburgh, and few Georgian buildings survive on it. Linking these streets were a series of perpendicular streets. At the east and west ends are St. Andrew's Square and Charlotte Square respectively. The latter was designed by Robert Adam and is often considered one of the finest Georgian squares in Britain.

 

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