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Edinburgh (pronounced ED-in-burra (SAMPA: ["Ed@n%b@r@])), Dunedin in Scots Gaelic, is a major and historic city on the east coast of Scotland on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, and in the unitary council region of City of Edinburgh. It has been the capital of Scotland since 1492 and is the site of the Scottish Parliament, which was re-established in 1999. Edinburgh has a population of 447,500 (1996 est)

Edinburgh is well known for the Edinburgh Festival, a collection of several festivals, and for the Hogmanay celebrations which are becoming one of the largest in the world.

On December 7, 2002, a major fire in the Old Town of Edinburgh destroyed a venue for the Edinburgh Fringe and the Informatics department of the University of Edinburgh.

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The Centre

One of Edinburgh's most notable features is Edinburgh Castle which overlooks the city's Princes' Street, and is at the top of the Royal Mile leading to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Princes Street Gardens run between the extinct volcano peak that the castle is built on and Princes Street. The grounds that the Gardens now occupy used to be marshland that ran right around the base of Castle Rock up along the Grassmarket and Cowgate, and indeed the area to the north of the Castle was formerly a lake, the Nor'Loch.


Another of Edinburgh's notable features is Arthur's Seat, a collection of side vents of the main volcano that Edinburgh is built on. The volcano slipped and tipped sideways, leaving these vents the highest points for miles around. Arthur's Seat is now part of Holyrood Park[?], originally owned by the monarch and part of the grounds of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It contains Britain's largest concentration of geological SSSIs, as well as providing the people of Edinburgh with spectacular views of and from Arthur's Seat and somewhere to relax after a long day in the city.

Another viewpoint is provided by Calton Hill[?].

The Harbour

With the redevelopment of Leith -- Edinburgh's docks, once a town in its own right -- Edinburgh has gained the business of a number of cruise liner companies who now provide cruises to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands from Leith. Leith also boast the Royal Yacht Britannia, berthed behind the new Leith Ocean Terminal[?].

See also: Granton[?], Newhaven, Edinburgh

Old Town and New Town

Central Edinburgh is split into the Old Town and the New Town, both of great architectural interest. The Old Town is almost an archetype. It has a castle on high ground with a main street (the Royal Mile) leading away from it, that street having minor streets (called closes) leading off it in a herringbone like pattern. Large squares mark the location of markets, or surround major public buildings. This street plan recurs throughout the old quarters of northern European cities. In Edinburgh's case it is exaggerated by the castle being on top of a small mountain, and the main street down the crest of a ridge.

The old city is also home to some of the earliest "high rise" residential buildings. The population were for a long time reluctant to build outside the defensive wall, so as the need for housing grew the buildings became higher and higher. Unfortunately, some of the buildings central to the Old Town were damaged by a fire in December 2002.

Meanwhile, the new town, built in several phases, is also almost an archetype of the carefully planned, classically styled estates developed in the later 18th century.

See also: Areas of Edinburgh, Peatrig Hill, Forth Rail Bridge, Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh Botanic Garden[?], Dean Village, Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh International Airport, Edinburgh University, J. K. Rowling

The name Edinburgh has also been given to places elsewhere in the world, mainly by Scottish settlers:

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