Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Edinburgh (2)


Arthur's Seat viewed across southern parts of Edinburgh from Blackford Hill.
The view from Arthur's Seat west over the Salisbury Crags and Edinburgh
Bounded by the Firth of Forth to the north and the Pentland Hills, which skirt the periphery of the city to the south, Edinburgh lies in the eastern portion of the Central Lowlands of Scotland.[34] The city sprawls over a landscape which is the product of early volcanic activity and later periods of intensive glaciation.[35] Igneous activity between 350 and 400 million years ago, coupled withfaulting led to the dispersion of tough basalt volcanic plugs, which predominate over much of the area.[35] One such example is Castle Rock which forced the advancing icepack to divide, sheltering the softer rock and forming a mile-long tail of material to the east, creating a distinctivecrag and tail formation.[35] Glacial erosion on the northern side of the crag gouged a large valley resulting in the now drained Nor Loch. This structure, along with a ravine to the south, formed an ideal natural fortress which Edinburgh Castle was built upon.[35] Similarly, Arthur's Seat is the remains of a volcano system dating from the Carboniferous period, which was eroded by a glaciermoving from west to east during the ice age.[35] Erosive action such as plucking and abrasionexposed the rocky crags to the west before leaving a tail of deposited glacial material swept to the east.[36] This process formed the distinctive Salisbury Crags, which formed a series of teschenitecliffs located between Arthur's Seat and the city centre.[37] The residential areas of Marchmontand Bruntsfield are built along a series of drumlin ridges located south of the city centre which were deposited as the glacier receded.[35]
Other viewpoints in the city such as Calton Hill and Corstorphine Hill are similar products of glacial erosion.[35] The Braid Hills and Blackford Hill are a series of small summits to the south west of the city commanding expansive views over the urban area of Edinburgh and northwards to the Forth.[35]
Edinburgh is drained by the Water of Leith, which finds its source at the Colzium Springs in the Pentland Hills and runs for 29 km (18 miles) through the south and west of the city, emptying into the Firth of Forth at Leith.[38] The nearest the river gets to the city centre is at Dean Village on the edge of the New Town, where a deep gorge is spanned by the Dean Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford and built in 1832 for the road to Queensferry.[38] The Water of Leith Walkway is a mixed use trail that follows the river for 19.6 km (12.2 miles) from Balerno to Leith.[39]
Designated in 1957, Edinburgh is ringed by a green belt stretching from Dalmeny in the west toPrestongrange in the east.[40] With an average width of 3.2 km (2 miles) the principal objective of the green belt was to contain the outward expansion of Edinburgh and to prevent the agglomeration of urban areas.[40] Expansion within the green belt is strictly controlled but developments such as Edinburgh Airport and the Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston are located within the zone.[40] Similarly, urban villages such as Juniper Green and Balerno sit on green belt land.[40] One feature of the green belt in Edinburgh is the inclusion of parcels of land within the city which are designated as green belt even though they do not adjoin the main peripheral ring. Examples of these independent wedges of green belt include Holyrood Park and Corstorphine Hill.[40]



Old and New Towns of Edinburgh*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

View of Edinburgh from Calton Hill. The Dugald Stewart memorial is visible in the foreground.
Criteriaii, iv
Region**Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription1995  (19th Session)
Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Areas of Edinburgh. Click to enlarge.
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is divided into areas that generally encompass a park (sometimes known as "links"), a main local street (i.e. street of local retail shops), a high street (the historic main street, not always the same as the main local street, such as in Corstorphine) and residential buildings. In Edinburgh many residences are tenements, although the more southern and western parts of the city have traditionally been more affluent and have a greater number of detached and semi-detachedvillas.
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 bogland 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 noticeable building here is the circular sandstone building that is the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

[edit]Old Town

Map of the city, showing New TownOld Town, and the West End.
Looking down The Royal Mile
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 (calledcloses or wynds) 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.
Due to space restrictions imposed by the narrowness of the "tail", the Old Town became home to some of the earliest "high rise" residential buildings. Multi-storey dwellings known as lands were the norm from the 16th century onwards with ten and eleven stories being typical and one even reaching fourteen stories. Additionally, numerous vaults below street level were inhabited to accommodate the influx of immigrants during the Industrial Revolution. These continue to fuel legends of anunderground city to this day. Today there are tours of Edinburgh which take you into the underground city,Edinburgh Vaults.[41]
Part of the Historic Centre of Edinburgh Old Town

[edit]New Town

View of the New Town
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 Georgianbuildings 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 was designed byRobert Adam and is often considered one of the finest Georgian squares in the world. Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, is on the north side of Charlotte Square. Sitting in the glen between the Old and New Towns was the Nor Loch, which had been both the city's water supply and place for dumping sewage. By the 1820s it was drained. Craig's original plans included the ornamental Princes Street Gardens and a canal[42] in place of the Nor Loch. Excess soil from the construction of the buildings was dumped into the loch, creating what is now The Mound and the canal idea was abandoned. In the mid-19th century the National Gallery of Scotland and Royal Scottish Academy Building were built on The Mound, and tunnels to Waverley Station driven through it. The New Town was so successful that it was extended greatly. The grid pattern was not maintained, but rather a more picturesque layout was created. Today the New Town is considered by many to be one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture and planning in the world.

[edit]South side

A popular residential part of the city is its south side, comprising a number of areas including St Leonards, MarchmontNewington,SciennesThe Grange, Edinburgh "South side" is broadly analogous to the area covered by the Burgh Muir, and grew in popularity as a residential area following the opening of the South Bridge. These areas are particularly popular with families (many well-regarded[citation needed] state and private schools are located here), students (the central University of Edinburgh campus is based around George Square just north of Marchmont and the Meadows, and Napier University has major campuses around Merchiston & Morningside), and with festival-goers. These areas are also the subject of fictional work: Ian Rankin's Inspector Rebus lives in Marchmont and worked in St Leonards; and Morningside is the home of Muriel Spark's Miss Jean Brodie. Today, the literary connection continues, with the area being home to the authors J. K. RowlingIan Rankin, and Alexander McCall Smith.


Leith is the port of Edinburgh. It still retains a separate identity from Edinburgh, and it was a matter of great resentment when, in 1920, theburgh of Leith was merged[43] into the county of Edinburgh. Even today the parliamentary seat is known as 'Edinburgh North and Leith'. With the redevelopment of Leith, Edinburgh has gained the business of a number of cruise liner companies which now provide cruises to Norway,SwedenDenmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Leith also has the Royal Yacht Britannia, berthed behind the Ocean Terminal and Easter Road, the home ground of Hibernian F.C.

[edit]Urban area

The urban area of Edinburgh is almost entirely contained within the City of Edinburgh Council boundary, merging with Musselburgh in East Lothian. Nearby towns close to the city borders include DunfermlineBonnyriggDalkeithDanderhallLivingston and Broxburn. The EUclassifies this area as a Larger Urban Zone with a population of nearly 800,000 people.


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm
source: Met Office
Like much of the rest of Scotland, Edinburgh has a temperatemaritime climate which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude.[44] Winters are especially mild, with daytime temperatures rarely falling below freezing, and compare favourably with places such as Moscow,Labrador and Newfoundland which lie in similar latitudes.[44] Summer temperatures are normally moderate, with daily upper maxima rarely exceeding 22 °C.[44] The highest temperature ever recorded in the city was 31.4 °C on 4 August 1975.[44] The proximity of the city to the sea mitigates any large variations in temperature or extremes of climate. Given Edinburgh's position between the coast and hills, it is renowned as a windy city, with the prevailing wind direction coming from the south-west which is associated with warm, unstable air from the North Atlantic Current that can give rise to rainfall - although considerably less than cities to the west, such asGlasgow.[44] Rainfall is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year.[44] Winds from an easterly direction are usually drier but colder. Vigorous Atlantic depressions, known as European windstorms, can affect the city between October and May.[44]


Edinburgh compared[45][46]
UK Census 2001EdinburghLothianScotland
Total population448,624778,3675,062,011
Population growth 1991–20017.1%7.2%1.3%
Under 16 years old16.3%18.6%19.2%
Over 65 years old15.4%14.8%16.0%
At the United Kingdom Census 2001, Edinburgh had a population of 448,624, a rise of 7.1% on 1991.[45] Estimates in 2009 placed the total resident population at 477,660 split between 230,986 males and 246,674 females.[47] This makes Edinburgh the second largest city in Scotland after Glasgow.[45]According to the European Statistical agency, Eurostat, Edinburgh sits at the heart of aLarger Urban Zone covering 665 square miles (1,724 km2) with a population of 778,000.[48]
The cramped tenements of the Royal Milewere once home to most of Edinburgh's population.
Edinburgh has a higher proportion of those aged between 16 and 24 than the Scottish average, but has a lower proportion of those classified as elderly or pre-school.[47] Over 95% of Edinburgh respondents classed their ethnicity as White in 2001, with those identifying as being Indian and Chinese at 1.6% and 0.8% of the population respectively.[49] In 2001, 22% of the population were born outside Scotland with the largest group of people within this category being born in Englandat 12.1%.[49] Since the 2004 enlargement of the European Union, a large number of migrants from the accession states such as PolandLithuania and Latvia have settled in the city, with many working in the service industry.[50]
There is evidence of human habitation on Castle Rock from as early as 3,000 years ago.[51] A census conducted by the Edinburgh presbytery in 1592 estimated a population of 8,000 scattered equally north and south of the High Street which runs down the spine of the ridge leading from the Castle.[52] In the 18th and 19th Centuries, the population began to expand rapidly, rising from 49,000 in 1751 to 136,000 in 1831 primarily due to rural out-migration.[53] As the population swelled, overcrowding problems in the Old Town, particularly in the cramped tenements that lined the present day Royal Mile and Cowgate, were exacerbated.[53] Sanitary problems and disease were rife.[53] The construction of James Craig's masterplanned New Town from 1766 onwards witnessed the migration of the professional classes from the Old Town to the lower density, higher quality surroundings taking shape on land to the north.[54] Expansion southwards from the Royal Mile/Cowgate axis of the Old Town saw more tenements being built in the 19th century, giving rise to present day areas such as MarchmontNewington and Bruntsfield.[55]
Early 20th century population growth coincided with lower density suburban development in areas such as GilmertonLiberton and South Gyle. As the city expanded to the south and west, detached and semi detached villas with large gardens replaced tenements as the predominant building style. Nonetheless, the 2001 census revealed that over 55% of Edinburgh's population live in tenements or blocks of flats compared to the Scottish average of 33.5%.[56]
Throughout the early to mid 20th century many new estates were built in areas such as CraigmillarNiddriePiltonMuirhousePiershill andSighthill, linked to slum clearances in the Old Town.

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