Edinburgh is the very historic capital city of Scotland, 413 miles from London. The city was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995.
One of its nicknames is "Auld Reekie", reflecting the impure quality of its air in the 18th and 19th centuries. A more complimentary one is "the Athens of the North". As with all the finest cities of the world, open country can be seen from its centre.
Edinburgh is built on the remains of a series of extinct volcanoes. The original town was founded on the mighty Castle Rock and was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria.
By the 13th century it was well established, and was made Scotland`s capital by Robert the Bruce in 1325. This title was, however, disputed until the 16th century.
The city is in two distinct parts, the Old Town and the New Town.
The Old Town is a mediaeval jumble, spreading from the iconic Edinburgh Castle along the Royal Mile to the Royal palace of Holyroodhouse in the shadow of Arthur`s Seat.
The New Town, dating from the 18th century, lies to the North, across the drained North Loch where the lovely Princes Street Gardens now lie.
Princes Street itself is one of the world`s most famous shopping streets, and the New Town is full of elegant Georgian streets and squares. Architects involved included Robert Adam and Charles Playfair.
Edinburgh Castle has been a stronghold since prehistoric times. The oldest part standing today is the 12th century St. Margaret`s Chapel, and the rest dates mostly from the 16th century.
Holyrood House is based on Holyrood Abbey, founded by David I in the 12th century. It has been a Royal residence since the time of James IV in about 1500.
St. Giles` Cathedral, with its beautiful crown spire, dates back to 1243 and was elevated to cathedral status in 1633.
St. Mary`s Cathedral is the Episcopalian cathedral, built in the 19th century with three spires.
John Knox`s House dates from the 15th century. Jutting out into the High Street, it was the home of the preacher John Knox until his death in 1572.
The Scott Monument is a gloriously spiky Gothic spire over a statue of Sir Walter Scott. It was designed by George Kemp and completed in 1844.
Calton Hill, a wonderful viewpoint, contains the Nelson Monument and the incomplete National Monument.
The Botanic Gardens are situated in the New Town.
The city now encompasses the port of Leith and the seaside resort of Portobello, both on the South bank of the Firth of Forth, while Edinburgh Zoo is on the edge of the city at Corstorphine.
The Edinburgh Festival, started in 1947, is one of the world`s best known arts festivals, and the Fringe Festival is now as well known as the original. The Military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle is a magnificent event.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica" was first published in Edinburgh in 1768 - 71.
Edinburgh Rock is a crumbly stick-shaped confection.
Prominent people born in Edinburgh include R. M. Ballantyne, author; Alexander Graham Bell, inventor; Adam Black, publisher; William Blackwood, publisher; Tony Blair, Prime Minister; Robert Boothby, politician; James Boswell, biographer; Rory Bremner, impressionist; Henry Brougham, politician; Ken Buchanan, boxer; Earl of Bute, Prime Minister; Nicky Campbell, TV presenter; Sean Connery, actor; Ronnie Corbett, actor; Thomas Coutts, banker; William Douglas-Home, playwright; Arthur Conan Doyle, author; William Russell Flint, artist; Brigit Forsyth, actress; Hannah Gordon, actress; Kenneth Grahame, author; Nigel Gresley, locomotive designer; Douglas Haig, military commander; John Scott Haldane, scientist; David Hume, philosopher; James VI of Scotland and I of England; Ludovic Kennedy, broadcaster; Harry Lauder, entertainer; William McGonagall, poet; Eduardo Paolozzi, sculptor; Ian Richardson, actor; Malcolm Rifkind, politician; Walter Scott, novelist; Norman Shaw, architect; Alastair Sim, actor; Graeme Souness, Scotland footballer; Muriel Spark, author; Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist; Marie Stopes, birth control pioneer; Irvine Welsh, novelist.
Edinburgh has great significance for Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby.
His father Jack Crosby was born in the city, and he and his wife Anne chose Edinburgh for their honeymoon.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around Edinburgh for groups.
Places in Edinburgh
Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Park Station, Edinburgh Waverley Station, Edinburgh Zoo, Georgian House, Gladstone`s Land, Haymarket Station, Heart of Midlothian, Lady Stair`s House, Liberton House, Nelson Monument, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Royal Botanic Garden, Royal Museum of Scotland, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, St. Giles` Cathedral, St. Mary`s Episcopal Cathedral, The Edinburgh Dungeon, The Real Mary King`s Close, Trinity House Maritime Museum