Edinburgh is the capital and second largest city Scotland.
Situated in Scotland’s Central Belt, Edinburgh lies on the Firth of Forth’s southern shore. The city center is 4 kilometers (2 1⁄2 miles) southwest of the shoreline of Leith and 42 kilometers (26 miles) inland as the dove flies, from the east coast of Scotland and the North Sea at Dunbar.
As of June 2018, the population of Edinburgh is about 464,990 people.
The city of Edinburgh covers a total area of 264 square kilometers (102 square miles).
The area around modern-day Edinburgh has been inhabited for thousands of years.
Its origins as a settlement can be traced to the early Middle Ages when a hillfort was established in the area, most likely on the Castle Rock.
From the seventh to the tenth centuries it was part of the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria, becoming thereafter a royal residence of the Scottish kings.
The town that developed next to the stronghold was established by royal charter in the early 12th century, and by the middle of the 14th century was being described as the capital of Scotland.
Edinburgh’s Old Town and New Town together are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has been managed by Edinburgh World Heritage since 1999.
Edinburgh is a center of culture and the arts and is especially known for its festivals, from the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which welcomes more than 1,000 authors, to the sparkling Christmas Markets and the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest festival of the arts.
Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh from its position on the Castle Rock. The Castle Rock is estimated to have formed some 350 million years ago. It is the most important castle in Scotland and has been at the center of numerous wars, having been attacked and besieged many times.
The Old Town is the oldest part of Scotland’s capital city 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 an extinct volcano, and the main street runs down the crest of a ridge from it.
The New Town was built in stages between 1767 and around 1850, and retains much of the original neo-classical and Georgian period architecture. Its most famous street is Princes Street, facing Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town across the geographical depression of the former Nor Loch.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace, is the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II. Located at the bottom of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace has served as the principal residence of the Kings and Queens of Scots since the 16th century, and is a setting for state occasions and official entertaining.
Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills in Edinburgh, Scotland which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”. It is situated just to the east of the city centre, about 1.6 kilometer (1 mile) to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 250.5 meters (822 feet), provides excellent panoramic views of the city and beyond, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking.
St Giles’ Cathedral, also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh, is the principal place of worship of the Church of Scotland in Edinbrough. Its distinctive crown steeple is a prominent feature of the city skyline, at about a third of the way down the Royal Mile which runs from the Castle to Holyrood Palace. The church has been one of Edinburgh’s religious focal points for approximately 900 years. The present church dates from the late 14th century, though it was extensively restored in the 19th century, and is protected as a category A listed building.
The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland, was formed in 2006 with the merger of the new Museum of Scotland, with collections relating to Scottish antiquities, culture and history, and the adjacent Royal Museum (so renamed in 1995), with collections covering science and technology, natural history, and world cultures.
“Edin”, the root of the city’s name, is most likely of Brittonic Celtic origin, from the Cumbric language or a variation of it that would have been spoken by the earliest known people of the area, an Iron Age tribe known to the Romans as the Votadini, and latterly in sub-Roman history as the Gododdin. It appears to derive from the place name Eidyn mentioned in the Old Welsh epic poem Y Gododdin.
There are four universities in Edinburgh with students making up around one-fifth of the population.
Like most of Scotland, Edinburgh has a temperate, maritime climate which is relatively mild despite its northerly latitude.