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Edinburgh is a City of Festivals and Celebrations

Aug 17, 2007
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland since 1437, is considered one of the most dramatic cities in Europe because of its location, layout, and stunning architecture. Located in southeast Scotland, it is the country's second largest city and a popular tourist destination.

The name Edinburgh is thought to have been derived from the Bythonic Din Eidyn, meaning Fort of Eidyn. This name came from the time period when the city was a Gododdin hillfort. Later, the English changed the name to Edin-burh.

In spite of its exceptional beauty, the city has a rather unique and humorous nickname Auld Reekie, which is Scots for "Old Smoky." The name was coined in a time when the city was a little, well, smellier than it is today. At one time only coal and wood were available as fuels, so the city was frequently blanketed with a layer of smoke spilling from its chimneys. At the same time, the standards for cleanliness weren't what they are today, so the city really did have an objectionable odor.

The historic center of Edinburgh contains two very notable areas of attraction. The first, Old Town, is an area that still follows the city plan of its medieval days and many of its Reformation-era buildings are still standing. At one end of Old Town sits a castle with the Royal Mile leading away from it down the spine of a large hill. Because the spine, or "tail," of Old Town is quite narrow, the area quickly became crowded.

To alleviate the overpopulation of Old Town, in 1766 a competition was held to design the second area of historic Edinburgh, New Town. James Craig, a 22-year-old architect, won the competition and New Town was built according to his grid design. The main street of New Town was George Street with Princes Street and Queen Street on either side. Princes Street is the major shopping street in Edinburgh today.

Edinburgh is well-known for its many festivals and celebrations, which draw huge crowds every year. The most popular of these is the annual Edinburgh Festival, a four-week festival taking place between the end of July and the beginning of September. This festival is actually comprised of many separate events.

Other festivals include the Edinburgh Fringe (a huge festival of over 1867 different acts), Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and T on the Fringe.

The most well known celebration held in Edinburgh is Hogmanay. This celebration began as a simple street party on Princes Street and the Royal Mile. However, it's grown into a huge event that requires ticketing to limit attendance to 100,000 people. The celebration takes place over four days and includes parades, concerts, and fireworks.

If you're planning to visit Edinburgh, you won't be disappointed by the city or the many beautiful places to stay there. Edinburgh has great vacation accommodations including both hotels and holiday apartments.
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