Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Edinburgh (pronounced /ˈɛdɪnb(ʌ)rə/ ( listen)ED-in-brə or ED-in-burr-əScots: Edinburgh ; Scottish Gaelic: Dùn Èideann) is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland after Glasgow and the seventh-most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council is one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a 30-square-mile (78 km2) rural area.
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. Owing to its spectacular, rugged setting and vast collection of Medieval and Georgian architecture, including numerous stonetenements, it is often considered one of the most picturesque cities in Europe.
Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Parliament. The city was one of the major centres ofthe 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 UNESCOWorld Heritage Site in 1995. There are over 4,500 listed buildings within the city.[1] 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.[2] In the 2009 mid year population estimates, Edinburgh had a total resident population of 477,660.[3] Edinburgh 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 (31 December), Burns Night (25 January) and the Beltane Fire Festival (30 April).
The city attracts 1 million overseas visitors a year, making it the second most visited tourist destination in the United Kingdom, after London.[4] In a 2009 YouGov poll, Edinburgh was voted the "most desirable city in which to live in the UK".[5] Edinburgh was also rated The Best Place to Live in Channel 4's 2007 4Homes survey.[6] It is ranked as agamma- world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network.


Humans have settled the Edinburgh area from at least the Bronze Age, leaving traces of primitive stone settlements at Holyrood, Craiglockhart Hill and the Pentland Hills for example.[8] Influenced through the Iron Age by Hallstatt and La Tene Celtic cultures from central Europe, by the time the Romans arrived in Lothian at the beginning of the 1st millennium AD, they discovered a Celtic, Brythonic tribe whose name they recorded asVotadini, likely to be a Latin version of the name they called themselves.
Some believe that the name of Edinburgh comes from the Brythonic language.[9] Some propose that the name was Din Eidyn (Fort of Eidyn) from the time when it was a Gododdinhillfort[10][11][12] although many believe that the name comes from the Bernician Angles,Edwinesburh or Edin-burh, which derives from the Anglo-Saxon for "Edwin's fort", possibly derived from the 7th century king Edwin of Northumbria, and that the name Din Eidyn in British writings is an anachronism.[13][14][15][16][17][18] The term Din Eidyn first appears in the Y Gododdin, a poem which appears after the fall of the British stronghold to the Angles. The oldest manuscript of the Y GododdinThe Book of Aneirin is from circa 1265.[19] Most scholars usually considered to be that of the 9th or 10th centuries, although some scholars consider that it could be from the 11th century.[20]
Regardless of the etymology of Edinburgh, there is no doubt that the Angles of Northumbria did have significant influence over south east Scotland, notably from AD 638 when it appears the Gododdin stronghold was besieged. Though far from exclusive (cf Picts and Scots), this influence continued over three centuries. It was not until c. AD 950 when, during the reign of Indulf, son of Constantine, the city, referred to at this time in the PictishChronicle as 'oppidum Eden',[9] fell to the Scots and finally remained under their jurisdiction.[21]
During this period of Germanic influence in south east Scotland, when the city's name gained its Germanic suffix, 'burgh', the seeds for the language we know today as Scots were sown.
By the 12th century Edinburgh was well established, founded upon the famous castle rock, the volcanic crag and tail geological feature shaped by 2 million years of glacial activity. Flourishing alongside it to the east, another community developed around the Abbey of Holyrood, known as Canongate. In the 13th century these both became Royal Burghs and through the late medieval period Edinburgh grew quickly.
Edinburgh Castle in Autumn
In 1492 King James IV of Scotland undertook to move the Royal Court from Stirling toHolyrood, making Edinburgh the national capital.
Edinburgh continued to flourish economically and culturally through the Renaissanceperiod and was at the centre of the 16th century Scottish Reformation and the Wars of the Covenant a hundred years later.
In 1603 King James VI of Scotland succeeded to the English and Irish thrones, uniting the Kingdoms in a personal union known as the Union of the Crowns. Scotland remained an independent state with the Parliament of Scotland in Edinburgh. King James VI progressed to London establishing his court there from which he reigned over his kingdoms. Despite promising to return every three years, he returned to Edinburgh only once, in 1617.
In 1639, disputes between the Presbyterian Covenanters and the Anglican Church led to the Bishops' Wars, the initial conflict of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. During the Third English Civil War Edinburgh was taken by the Commonwealth forces of Oliver Cromwell prior to Charles II's eventual defeat at the Battle of Worcester. In 17th century Edinburgh, a defensive wall, built in the 16th century, largely as protection against English invasion following James IV's defeat at Flodden (hence its moniker, the Flodden Wall) still defined the boundaries of the city. Due to the restricted land area available for development, the houses increased in height instead. Buildings of 11 stories were common and there are records of buildings as high as 14 or even 15 stories,[22] an early version of the modern-day skyscraper. Many of the stone-built structures can still be seen today in the Old Town.
In 1707 the Acts of Union were passed by the Parliaments of England and Scotland uniting the two Kingdoms into the Kingdom of Great Britain. As a consequence, the Parliament of Scotland merged with the Parliament of England to form the Parliament of Great Britain, which sat at Westminster in London. The union was opposed by many Scots at the time and this led to riots within the city.
Panorama of Edinburgh, seen from the Scott Monument
From early times, and certainly from the 14th century, Edinburgh (like other royal burghs of Scotland) used armorial devices in many ways, including on seals. In 1732, the 'achievement' or 'coat of arms' was formally granted by the Lord Lyon King of Arms. These arms were used by Edinburgh Town Council until the reorganisation of local government in Scotland in May 1975, when it was succeeded by the City of Edinburgh District Council and a new coat of arms, based on the earlier one, was granted. In 1996, further local government reorganisation resulted in the formation of the City of Edinburgh Council, and again the coat of arms was updated.[23]
During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Edinburgh was briefly occupied by Jacobite forces before their march into England.
An 1802 illustration of Edinburgh from the west.
Following their ultimate defeat at Culloden, there was a period of reprisals and pacification, largely directed at the Catholic Highlanders. In Edinburgh the Hanoverian monarch attempted to gain favour by supporting new developments to the north of the castle, naming streets in honour of the King and his family; George Street, Frederick Street, Hanover Street and Princes Street, named in honour of George III's two sons.
The city was at the heart of the Scottish Enlightenment and renowned throughout Europe at this time, as a hotbed of talent and ideas and a beacon for progress.[citation needed] Celebrities from across the continent would be seen in the city streets, among them famous Scots such as David HumeWalter ScottRobert AdamDavid WilkieRobert BurnsJames Hutton and Adam Smith. Edinburgh became a major cultural centre, earning it the nickname Athens of the North because of the Greco-Romanstyle of the New Town's architecture, as well as the rise of the Scottish intellectual elite who were increasingly leading both Scottish and European intellectual thought.[citation needed]
Edinburgh today
In the 19th century, Edinburgh, like many cities, industrialised, but did not grow as fast as Scotland's second city, Glasgow, which replaced it as the largest city in the country, benefiting greatly at the height of the British Empire.
The Scotland Act 1998 which came into force in 1999 established a devolved Scottish parliamentand Scottish Executive, both based in Edinburgh responsible for governing Scotland, with reserved matters such as defence, taxation and foreign affairs remaining the responsibility of Westminster.


The city is affectionately nicknamed Auld Reekie[24] (Middle Scots for Old Smoky), because when buildings were heated by coal and wood fires, chimneys would spew thick columns of smoke into the air. The colloquial pronunciation "Embra" or "Embro" has also been used[25] as in Robert Garioch's Embro to the Ploy.[26]
Some have called Edinburgh the Athens of the North. It is also known by several Latin names; Aneda or Edina. The adjectival form of the latter, Edinensis, can be seen inscribed on many educational buildings.[27][28][29][30][31]
Edinburgh has also been known as Dunedin, deriving from the Scottish GaelicDùn ÈideannDunedin, New Zealand, was originally called "New Edinburgh" and is still nicknamed the "Edinburgh of the South". The Scots poets Robert Burns and Robert Fergusson sometimes used the city's Latin name, EdinaBen Jonson described it as Britain's other eye,[32] and Sir Walter Scott referred to the city as yon Empress of the North.[33] Robert Louis Stevenson, also a son of the city, wrote, "Edinburgh is what Paris ought to be".
Panorama of the Old Town and Southside of Edinburgh from the Nelson monument. The term panorama was originally coined by the painter Robert Barker to describe his panoramic paintings of Edinburgh.

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