Edinburgh – Books, beer and cookies

Thursday, 5 May 2011 - 03:40 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, Sustainability, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Hopetoun House © George Gastin

Hopetoun House © George Gastin

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland and the seventh-most populous in the United Kingdom. Located in the south-east of Scotland, Edinburgh lies on the east coast of the Central Belt, along the Firth of Forth, near the North Sea.

Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres of the Enlightenment, led by the University of Edinburgh, earning it 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. In May 2010, it had a total of 40 conservation areas covering 23% of the building stock and 23% of the population, the highest such ratios of any major city in the UK. In the 2009 mid year population estimates, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 477,660.

The city 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. The most famous of these events are the Edinburgh Fringe (the largest performing arts festival in the world), the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Other events include the Hogmanay street party, Burns Night and the Beltane Fire Festival. Edinburgh attracts 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.

University of Edinburgh © Maccoinnich St Giles Cathedral © Kilnburn National Gallery Scotland © Finlay McWalter Museum of Scotland © Maccoinnich Heart of Midlothian © Sean McClean Forth Bridge © George Gastin Festival Theatre © Globaltraveller Department store Jenners © Christian Bickel Edinburgh seen from Scott Monument © Oliver Bonjoch Scottish Parliament © Klaus with K New Town, seen from Edinburgh Castle © Nicolai Schäfer Edinburgh from Calton Hill © Christian Bickel Financial District © Richard Webb Edinburgh Festival 2009 © Nicolai Schäfer City Chambers © Ronnie Leask Edinburgh Castle © Tilmandralle BT Edinburgh Park © Maccoinnich Beehive Inn - Grassmarket © geograph.org.uk Bank of Scotland © geograph.org.uk Arthur's Seat © Tilmandralle Hopetoun House © George Gastin
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New Town, seen from Edinburgh Castle © Nicolai Schäfer
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 lead downhill on either side of the main spine in a herringbone pattern. Large squares mark the location of markets or surround public buildings such as St. Giles’ Cathedral and the Law Courts. Other notable places nearby include the Royal Museum of Scotland, Surgeons’ Hall and McEwan Hall. The street layout is typical of the old quarters of many northern European cities, and where the castle perches on top of a rocky crag (the remnants of an extinct volcano) the Royal Mile runs down the crest of a ridge from it.

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 Square and Charlotte Square respectively. The latter, designed by Robert Adam, influenced Edinburgh street architecture into the early 19th century.

Edinburgh is the most competitive large city in the UK according to the Centre for International Competitiveness. Edinburgh also has the highest Gross value added per employee figure of any city in the UK outside London, measuring £50,256 in 2007. A combination of these factors saw Edinburgh named the Best Small City of the future by fDi Magazine for 2010/11. Education and health, finance and business services, retailing and tourism are the largest employers. The economy of Edinburgh is largely based on the services sector — centered around banking, financial services, higher education, and tourism. As of March 2010 unemployment in Edinburgh is comparatively low at 3.6%, and remains consistently below the Scottish average of 4.5%. Banking has been a part of the economic life of Edinburgh for over 300 years, with the establishment of the Bank of Scotland – now part of the Lloyds Banking Group – by an act of the original Parliament of Scotland in 1695.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on City of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Tourism, VisitScotland.com – Edinburgh, LonelyPlanet.com – Edinburgh, VisitBritain.com – Edinburgh, Wikitravel Edinburgh, Wikivoyage Edinburgh and Wikipedia Edinburgh. Learn more about the use of photos.




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