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Experience Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s uniquely intact medieval heritage makes it one of the world’s most fascinating cities. The mighty Edinburgh Castle sits proudly atop Castle Rock, a clifftop crag which has been occupied since the Bronze Age thanks to its strategic position overlooking the Firth of Forth. Below it the Royal Mile slopes through the Old Town to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home of monarchs since the 15th century. However, it was not until the reign of James IV (1488–1513) that the city of Edinburgh gained the status of Scotland’s capital in 1498.

Over the years, overcrowding made Edinburgh’s Old Town a dirty and difficult place to live, and sickness and disease was rife. In 1645, the city was ravaged by the bubonic plague, killing almost half of its population. A rather gruesome attempt to prevent further infection resulted in residents of vaults and closes being bricked into their homes and left to die, while new buildings were erected above this forgotten city. A Georgian New Town was constructed to the north in the late 1700s; its wide avenues and spacious private gardens gave the wealthy a welcome escape from the cramped conditions of the Old Town. With its elegant façades and broad streets, the area is still viewed today as a world-class example of Georgian urban architecture.

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