The Different Faces of Edinburgh

Scotland: the land of kilts, bag pipes, green grass and whisky. Edinburgh is the capital of this green land, where all these elements gather together to make up the beloved “Athens of the North”. But what lies behind the stereotypes, the kilts which hang haphazardly out of shops, or the bekilted bag pipe performers in […]

Scotland: the land of kilts, bag pipes, green grass and whisky. Edinburgh is the capital of this green land, where all these elements gather together to make up the beloved “Athens of the North”. But what lies behind the stereotypes, the kilts which hang haphazardly out of shops, or the bekilted bag pipe performers in the streets?
Edinburgh may not be the biggest capital in Europe, but this little treasure is actually the second largest city in Scotland (with Glasgow being the first). Approximately 450,000 people live here, with the city becoming even more crowded due to the influx of tourists. The capital becomes particularly packed during the summer season, in which artists gather from around the world to attend the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Edinburgh is considered to be the heart of Scotland. This is not only due to its geographical location, but also because the elements of tradition, history and culture co-exist together.
Edinburgh has not always been the beautiful city it currently is. If one was to take a time warp back to the 18th century, they would have to pay particular attention when strolling through the city streets. The hygienic conditions were poor, and with people living in such overcrowded narrow spaces (usually even with animals), diseases such as the plague were inevitable. The structure of the Old Town is reminiscent of this chaotic era; with its randomly-placed Closes, stairs and narrow streets.
Contrastingly, Edinburgh’s New Town is fresh, ordered and modern. It is the centre of shopping, business and transport, giving the impression that the town never sleeps. As in Stevenson’s novel “Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde” the two cities are as deeply different as they are similar.
One could not exist without the other and both contribute to the identity of Edinburgh. Both are part of the UNESCO world heritage, with the New Town having been rewarded for its well-structured and contemporary design of its streets. Edinburgh is a metropolis but its volcanic origin is still evident. This is shown by its hilly surroundings and majestic nature, such as Arthur’s Seat, Salisbury Crags, and Calton Hill.
The city also celebrates its literary successes, with Edinburgh inspiring famous authors such as Sir Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson and J.K. Rowling.
Visiting Edinburgh is a captivating experience – even when you arrive back home, the city will never leave you completely.
Edinburgh and its different faces…

Team CTR Edinburgh
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