Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and has been since 1437. Nowadays the city is famous for the Edinburgh Festival held annually in August and the Hogmanay celebrations at new year. The city attracts roughly 13 million visitors every year making it the second most visited city in the UK after London.
There is evidence of settlement in and around Edinburgh stretching back for thousands of years. The volcanic rock on which Edinburgh Castle now stands used to house a Pictish hillfort and was known as Din Eidyn. In 638 Din Eidyn was sieged and taken by the Angles who renamed it Edinburgh.
During medieval times King Malcolm III decided to build his castle at Edinburgh, up until then Scottish rulers tended to reside further North across the Forth. His wife Saint Margaret built a chapel within the castle walls which is now the oldest building in the city (it dates back to the late 11th century). Their son David I built Holyrood Abbey a mile to the East, along what became known as the Royal Mile, and a town sprang up along this road soon connecting with the port in Leith.
Edinburgh increased dramatically in size from around the 16th century, the population doubled between 1550 and 1650 with a growth in merchant activity. At that time the trade was already diverse and included meat, grain, wool, coal and booze amongst other things.
By 1755 Edinburgh had a population of 57,000 people with a large service industry and a specialised economy. In 1767 there was a competition to design the New Town, North Bridge had been built over the Nor' Loch in 1763 but as part of the plan to construct the New Town, with grand Georgian houses and wide avenues, they drained the loch to make way for Princes Street gardens. The Old Town descended into a slum during Victorian times as the population continued to grow but the city itself continued to thrive as a centre of commerce and trade.
Edinburgh is famous not only because of its fascinating history and popular tourist attractions, like the Scottish Parliament and Edinburgh Castle, but also because of the world famous Edinburgh Festival which takes place each summer and the Hogmanay celebration every New Year. So, if you are coming to Edinburgh soon for your holidays, you have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of activities. If you want to know more about the history of this magical city, and what it has to offer, feel free to browse this page.