As we are approaching the 19th edition of Eurovision Young Musicians in Edinburgh, we point out some of the city's finest spots to visit.
Not only is Edinburgh a capital city, it is also the leading festival city in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the UNESCO website: "It has two distinct areas: the Old Town, dominated by a medieval fortress; and the neoclassical New Town, whose development from the 18th century onwards had a far-reaching influence on European urban planning. The harmonious juxtaposition of these two contrasting historic areas, each with many important buildings, is what gives the city its unique character."
Edinburgh is a unique city, so let's find out what's there to explore.
Edinburgh Castle is one of Scotland's most iconic buildings and is part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh's World Heritage Site. The oldest part, St Margaret's Chapel, dates from the 12th century; the Great Hall was erected by James IV around 1510; the Half Moon Battery by the Regent Morton in the late 16th century; and the Scottish National War Memorial got built after the First World War.
During the Wars of Independence, the castle changed hands many times. In 1314 it was retaken from the English in a daring night raid by Thomas Randolph, nephew of Robert the Bruce. The castle was also home to kings and queens: Queen Margaret (later St Margaret) died here in 1093, and Mary Queen of Scots, gave birth to James VI in the royal palace in 1566. From the 1600s onwards the castle was a military base with a large guard and later it held prisoners of war.
Walk down the Royal Mile
When you have finished your tour around Edinburgh Castle, you can walk the Royal Mile. It runs through the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, connecting the castle with the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which is the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh and the home of Scottish royal history. The Royal Mile starts at an extinct vulcano, where you can visit Edinburgh Castle, and when walking down you continue down a slope that was formed by the retreat of ice during an ice age over 325 million years ago.
It is also home to parliaments old and new, law courts, a cathedral and churches, and a vast range of visitor attractions; walking tours, shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Visit one of the Museums
Besides visiting one of the many castles Edinburgh has to offer, it is also worth to visit the museums in and around the city. Whether you are interested in nature, geology, transport, science, technology, arts, fashion, history or people, you will be able to find fascinating exhibits to ignite your curiosity. Think of the National War Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, Royal Scots Regimental Museum or the People's Story.
Walk up to the Nelson Monument
High up on Calton Hill in the east end of the city centre, you can find the Nelson Monument, erected to commemorate Admiral Lord Nelson's victory, and death, at the battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. The upturned telescope was designed by architect Robert Burn, and was built between 1807 and 1815.
A few years later, a time ball was introduced. At exactly one o'clock the ball dropped and gave a signal to sailors, so they could check and reset their chronometers. This was in the days before accurate timepieces were available. However, by dropping a ball, it meant that someone would have to be looking out for it and it often couldn't be seen in foggy weather. So, simultaneously to the time ball dropping, a gun was fired which could easily be heard by ships in Leith Harbour (about three kilometers away).
Although the gun is no longer required for its original purpose it has become a popular tourist attraction.
Inside the base of the monument are a series of museum displays, exploring different aspects of the monument’s history. Discover more about the Battle of Trafalgar, and the part that Scots played in it.
Edinburgh has much more to offer: from summer festivals to numerous castles and from beautiful nature to exquisite food. So get ready and start planning your trip to Scotland.