It is a city of contrasts, and ancient. It is full of beautiful architecture, dark secrets, intellectual giants, and inner stubborn strength.
Humans lived in the area for thousands of years. There is evidence of a settlement from 8500 BCE. Bronze and Iron Age peoples lived there, on Arthur’s Seat, Pentland Hills and Castle Rock. The Romans discovered a Britonnic tribe in the 1st century CE. The fort was called Din Eidyn, likely on Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat, one of the seven hills of the city.
The Angles took charge of the area in the 7th century and held it for nearly 300 years, and then passed to the Scots. It became a royal burgh under King David I in the 12th century, and has been central to Scotland ever since.
As a result of this rich and varied history, the architecture of the city is delightful and fascinating, earning it a UNESCO designation. Some of the highlights include St. Giles Cathedral, Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Abbey, the Scott Monument, Mary King’s Close, John Knox House, Riddle’s Court, New Town and the much-debated Scottish Parliament House. Walking tours abound in each area, and you can wander to hidden places down cobblestone alleyways.
The highlight of my own trip was walking up Arthur’s Seat to see the city laid out below me. It was quite a hike for me, as I was quite out of shape, but it was well worth it.
Most tourists start – and end – with the Royal Mile, but there is so much more to the city than that small area. Explore, wander, have a pint, and enjoy the city!
Don’t miss information on Celtic myth and history, as well as practical travel planning tips, and hidden places, in my travel books.
– Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland
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Tirgearr Publishing – Christy Nicholas