Edinburgh

Short history

The Edinburgh area in Scotland has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, with evidence of human settlement dating back to around 8500 BC. In the 7th century, Edinburgh became a prominent stronghold known as Din Eidyn.

During the Middle Ages, Edinburgh Castle was constructed, becoming a symbol of the city’s power and influence. The city grew in importance as a center of trade and commerce, with the Royal Mile becoming the main thoroughfare.

In the 18th century, Edinburgh experienced a period of enlightenment, with advancements in science, literature, and philosophy. The city became known as the “Athens of the North” due to its intellectual and cultural contributions.

In more recent history, Edinburgh has evolved into a modern city, known for its festivals, universities, and architecture.

Geography

Edinburgh is located in the southeastern part of Scotland, on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. The city is built on a series of hills, with the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town being designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The climate in Edinburgh is classified as oceanic, with mild temperatures throughout the year. The city experiences cool summers and relatively mild winters, with frequent rainfall. Due to its northern location, Edinburgh enjoys long summer days with extended daylight hours.

Urban planning in Edinburgh is characterized by a mix of historic buildings and modern developments. The city center is compact and easily walkable. Edinburgh’s layout reflects its long history, with a combination of medieval, neoclassical, and contemporary architecture blending together.

Population

Edinburgh has a population of 524,930 people. The majority of the population in Edinburgh is White British, making up around 91% of the total population. Other ethnic groups include Asians, Blacks, and Mixed ethnicities.

In terms of religion, the population of Edinburgh is predominantly Christian, with various denominations represented including Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic, and other Christian denominations. There is also a growing Muslim community, as well as smaller populations of Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists.

English is the most commonly spoken language in Edinburgh, with Scottish Gaelic also being spoken by a small percentage of the population. 

Main sights

First of the sights to mention in Edinburgh is the Edinburgh Castle, a historic fortress that sits atop Castle Rock and offers stunning views of the city. The Royal Mile, a historic street that stretches from the castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, is lined with shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland, is another attraction.

For those interested in learning more about Scottish history, the National Museum of Scotland is a great place to visit. The museum houses a diverse collection of artifacts, ranging from ancient relics to modern art. The Scott Monument, a Victorian Gothic monument dedicated to Scottish author Sir Walter Scott, is also worth a visit. Finally, Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano located in Holyrood Park, offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding countryside.

Food

Edinburgh is known for its culinary scene, offering a variety of traditional Scottish dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. Haggis is a very popular dish: it’s a savory pudding made from sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs mixed with oatmeal, suet, and spices. Another classic Scottish dish, Scotch broth, is a hearty soup made with barley, root vegetables, and tender cuts of lamb. Edinburgh is also famous for its delectable shortbread cookies, made with butter, sugar, and flour for a crumbly texture that melts in your mouth.

In addition to traditional Scottish fare, Edinburgh also has a diverse range of international cuisine, from Italian pasta dishes to Indian curries. 

Souvenirs

Tartan is probably most famous Scottish symbol. It’s a traditional Scottish fabric that comes in various patterns and colors, often representing different clans. You can find tartan scarves, blankets, and even clothing items as souvenirs to take home with you.

Another iconic souvenir from Edinburgh is whisky. Scotland is known for its whisky production, and there are numerous distilleries in and around the city. You can purchase a bottle of single malt Scotch whisky as a special memento of your time in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is also known for its connection to famous writers such as Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Consider picking up a book by a Scottish author or a literary-themed souvenir to commemorate your visit to this literary city.

Fun facts

  • Edinburgh is home to the world’s oldest continually used public park, known as The Meadows.
  • The city has its own unique dialect known as “Edinburgh Scots” which is a mix of Scottish Gaelic and English.
  • Edinburgh is famous for its annual arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is the largest arts festival in the world.
  • The city is built on seven hills, similar to Rome, earning it the nickname “Athens of the North.”
  • Edinburgh Castle is built on an extinct volcano, Castle Rock, which offers stunning views of the city.