Edinburgh the City of Past and Present

  • Added:
    Feb 10, 2013
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Coastal Edinburgh
Coastal Edinburgh
Photo by kyz

Edinburgh is said, by all who have been there, to be one of the loveliest cities in Europe. Everywhere in Edinburgh the old contrasts with the new. It makes you feel as if you were walking through the past into the present.

Princess Street, the main street, is very unusual. There are shops on one side only. The other side runs along the edge of a deep valley in which are broad lawns and gardens. Above them rises a huge rock on which the castle is built. On the opposite side of the valley are the picturesque houses of Old Edinburgh. New Edinburgh is a very handsome, modern city with wide streets where traffic gets heavier from day to day.

Sometimes, walking along pavements you can notice Scotsmen wearing colourful tartan ties or socks and some dressed in kilts. When you get tired of the busy modern town you can go for a change to the Old Town, where the streets are narrow and quiet. The old houses are built of grey stone. Scottish history is all around you here.

The most popular event at the three-week Edinburgh summer festival takes place every evening in front of an old castle that stands on a hill above the city. Thousands of visitors watch as bands march to the sound of bagpipes and drums. In attractive kilts – each in the pattern, or tartan, of a clan – the marchers make a very colourful picture.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland. It is an old city, but not the biggest (Glasgow is twice as big). From the top of the hill the castle looks down on the Old Town with its lovely houses 10 to 14 stories high. As people here like to say, “Edinburgh had skyscrapers three centuries ago when New York was still a village”. Further on is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home of Mary, Queen of Scots, whose son James VI of Scotland also became James I of England (1603).

In another part of the city were the homes of famous people like inventor Alexander Graham Bell, writers Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott. Edinburgh has long been a university town – since the 16th century, although this is not the oldest university in Scotland (St. Andrews, 1411).

A land of mountains, Scotland has only a very small part – between Glasgow and Edinburgh – which is good for farming, and most people live and work here, since it was also the centre of industry. Now many people are finding jobs in electronics, a new industry here. Off the coast of Scotland there are many islands. Probably the best known are the Shetland Islands because of the small ponies that are favourites with children who are learning to ride. As in many countries, football is very popular, but did you know that, besides whisky, the game of golf also originally came from Scotland? Edinburgh has twelve golf courses!      






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