Sir Walter Scott’s land of brown heath and shaggy wood, land of mountain and the flood

Mainland of north England, a multitude of islands separated by the sea – this is Scotland. This country is open, uninhabited and one of the last wildernesses in Europe. Remarkable to be full of contrasts, dominated by its landscape and its weather Scotland is a good mix of old and new. After some three hundred […]

Mainland of north England, a multitude of islands separated by the sea – this is Scotland. This country is open, uninhabited and one of the last wildernesses in Europe. Remarkable to be full of contrasts, dominated by its landscape and its weather Scotland is a good mix of old and new. After some three hundred years of political union with England, the Scots voted to have their own parliament in 1997. The elected assembly is now sitting in Edinburgh. In times of political as well as cultural renaissance the Scots are faced with the challenge of redefining themselves. This important step brings hope and greater dynamics for the future to the country and its people. Scotland may remain part of Great Britain but it has always been a country apart. And indeed the land and the people are in some ways truly different. About 80 percent of the population live and work in Edinburgh, Glasgow and between those two big cities. In the older days South Scotland was the centre for the textile industry but in our days people are increasingly moving to the big cities for work. Edinburgh and Glasgow “the principal cities” couldn’t be more different: Edinburgh, with its incredible charm and stone facades everywhere and much more compact than Glasgow and, on the other hand, Glasgow, one of the greatest cities of the colonial empire turned into a modern metropolis. The Scotland in common travel guides with old castles and romance means little to the majority of Scots who live in modern urban areas. Much of the big shipping and fishing industries of Scotland ´s proud industrial past have, gone anyway.

A country is defined by its people.

Scots continue to enjoy a good reputation around the world. Many of the stereotypes about Scotland and the Scots contradict the modern reality. Compared to the English, Scottish people seem more relaxed and optimistic. They are also open and friendly to everyone. This is particularly evident in the countryside, where it is rude not to take time to chat to people coming across your way. When, staying in Scotland you are immediately impressed by the wealth of history that virtually comes out everywhere in the country’s different districts. Edinburgh, with its granite terraces and churches is only one example of this wealth. It feels like the city has a story to tell on every street corner, where you come across. This link to ancient times attracts visitors from all over the world. So history plays an important part in attracting visitors to Scotland. For many people the image of Scotland ‘s heritage, is packed in a big “tartan package “and can bought in any tourist shop along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. ”For anyone interested in Scotland and its people it is not easy to understand the culture and defining a national character is complicated. The Scots are mostly portrayed, as being open-hearted and generous, courageous, mean and dour, high-sprited and cynical – all at the same time. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact, that not all Scots can be seen as one unified „ type“. Scots come together to celebrate a national festival but are also divided by class and geography. Whether buying something in a shop or just asking for the way, it is easy to slip into a conversation with the locals. The image of the Scots not being best friends with the English Neighbours is an enduring one and that Scots are proud people is beyond, the doubt.

Traditions that are unique to Scotland have often survived the country’s past. The best known is Hogmanay. Originally an old Celtic festival to ward off evil spirits with huge bonfires, Hogmanay is now a massive party held in the New Year.
PO

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