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City of Edinburgh
Scottish Gaelic Dùn Èideann
Edinburgh from Calton Hill with Dugald Stewart Monument 3.JPG
Coordinates 55 ° 57 ′  N , 3 ° 11 ′  W Coordinates: 55 ° 57 ′  N , 3 ° 11 ′  W
OS National Grid NT275735
City of Edinburgh (Scotland)
City of Edinburgh
City of Edinburgh
Residents 518,500 (as of 2018)
surface 262 km² (101.16  mi² )
Population density: 1979 inhabitants per km²
ZIP code section EH1-17
prefix 0131
Part of the country Scotland
Council area Edinburgh
British Parliament Edinburgh West
Scottish Parliament Edinburgh Western
Website: edinburgh.gov.uk

Edinburgh  [ ˈɛdɪnb (ə) ɹə ] ( Scottish Gaelic Dùn Èideann [ tuːn ˈeːtʃən ]; German Edinburg ; officially City of Edinburgh) has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century (until then it was Perth ). Edinburgh has also been the seat of the Scottish Parliament since 1999. With around 518,500 inhabitants, Edinburgh is the second largest city in Scotland after Glasgow and has been one of the 32 Scottish Council Areas since 1996 . The city is located in Lothian on Scotland's east coast on the south side of the Firth of Forth across from Fife . Please click to listen!Play  


Edinburgh is probably named after the gododdin king Clydno Eiddyn (see also Cynon fab Clydno ) as Din Eiddyn (Eiddyn's fortress), less likely after King Edwin (also Eadwine or Æduini) of Northumbria . According to other sources, the name is derived from the Gaelic name Dùn Èideann , which means "fortress on the hillside". The city is often also called "Athens of the North" (after a quote from Theodor Fontane ), "City of seven hills" or "Festival city". Sir Walter Scott called it My own romantic town . The nickname Auld Reekie , “Old Smoky”, which Edinburgh owes to its factory chimneys, which used to smoke constantly , is outdated. Scottish emigrants brought the name of Edinburgh into the world. Today it can be found in Indiana and - with the Gaelic name Dunedin - in New Zealand and Florida .


Surroundings of Edinburgh

The Forth Bridge spans the Firth of Forth only about 15 km northwest . Portobello beach (Edinburgh) is 10 km east of the city . In front of the Pentland Hills is Fairmilehead, the southernmost and highest district of Edinburgh.


Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: WMO
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Edinburgh
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 6.2 6.5 8.7 11.1 14.2 17.3 18.8 18.5 16.2 13.2 8.7 6.9 O 12.2
Min. Temperature (° C) 0.3 0.0 1.5 3.1 5.7 8.7 10.3 10.2 8.4 5.9 2.1 0.9 O 4.8
Precipitation ( mm ) 57 42 51 41 51 51 57 65 67 65 63 58 Σ 668
Rainy days ( d ) 17.2 13.6 16.2 14.0 14.4 13.3 13.1 15.2 16.5 16.7 16.3 16.3 Σ 182.8
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Source: WMO


Princes Street

There are plenty of prehistoric relics in the Edinburgh metropolitan area. Before the area was drained, there were lakes and swamps between the hills on which the residential areas and settlements were located. During the past two centuries, prehistoric tombs ( Arthur's Seat ) and hoards with bronze artifacts have been discovered. In the street Caiystane View in the direction of the Oxgangs Road there is a large menhir (English "Standing stone") with small bowls (English cup marks). Next to the Newbridge roundabout, on the west side of town, is the Bronze Age ritual center at Huly Hill Cairn . There are Iron Age fortifications from the 1st millennium BC. On Wester Craiglockhart Hill and on Hillend, the closest of the Pentland Hills . Mesolithic traces and those of a Roman fort lie in Cramond , a village on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The statue of a lioness devouring a man was found in the mouth of the Almond (Firth of Forth) . A Pictish symbol stone was found in Princes Street Gardens used as part of a clapper bridge .

At the end of the 1st century, the Romans landed in Lothian and discovered a Celtic-British tribe they called the Votadini . Sometime before the 7th century AD, the Gododdin, who were probably descendants of the Votadini, set up the hill fortress of Din Eldyn or Etin . Although the exact location is not known, it can be assumed that they chose a location overlooking the area such as Castle Rock , Arthur's Seat or Calton Hill .

Initially, Scone (now Old Scone ) was the center of the United Kingdom of Alba (→ Kingdom of Scotland ). It lost its importance in the later Middle Ages and Perth , only 1½ km downstream, took over. Other “ burghs ” (free cities) such as Stirling also played an important role in Scottish history. After the murder of Jacob I in 1437, Edinburgh became the capital of Scotland. The capital city function in the Middle Ages resulted from the frequent, long-lasting presence of the royal court, which stopped at various locations. The historic Parliament of Scotland also met in different locations.

In 1093 a castle in Edinburgh is mentioned, from which the city-dominating Edinburgh Castle developed.

The Church of St. Egidius, called St Giles' Cathedral , became the center of the growing town. It was first mentioned in a document in 854, and the building that still exists today was built around 1120. In the 16th century, John Knox preached in St Giles, which is now the High Kirk of Edinburgh of the Church of Scotland .

In 1128 the monastery of Holyrood Abbey was built by King David I , but far outside the city at that time. The city of Canongate was also located between Edinburgh and the Abbey of the Holy Cross ("holy rood") . (With " canon " in their name are meant canons .) In addition to Holyrood Abbey, of which only ruins testify today, Holyrood Palace was subsequently built, which is the official residence of the British monarch as the Palace of Holyroodhouse and forms the eastern end of the " Royal Mile ".

In 1583 a university was founded in Edinburgh , although it is only the fourth in history in Scotland; the University of St Andrews dates back to 1450.

The eventful history of the city also includes the so-called Episcopal War of 1639. King Charles I of England and Scotland tried to impose his will on the Church of Scotland through bishops he liked and to introduce a prayer book based on the English liturgy. There were riots, the initiator of which is called Jenny Geddes , a market woman who threw a chair at the pastor in St. Giles' Cathedral.

One of the most important dates in the history of Edinburgh and all of Scotland is the Act of Union , which came into force on May 1, 1707 . This law created the basis for the unification of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland.

During World War I , Edinburgh was bombed by two German zeppelins on April 2, 1916, killing 13 and injuring 24 as a result of 24 bombs that fell over the city. During World War II , Edinburgh was hit by German bombs several times between July 18, 1940 (first air raid) and August 6, 1941, killing 20 civilians and injuring 210. In the worst attack on April 7, 1941 alone, three churches and 270 houses were damaged.

The re-established Scottish Parliament was constituted after almost 300 years on May 12, 1999 in Edinburgh.


Population development of Edinburgh
Deadline April 5, 1991 April 29, 2001 Mid 2010
population 400,632 430,082 468.720

Most of the inhabitants of Edinburgh are Scots, there are also many Irish and also Germans, Poles, Italians, Ukrainians, Pakistani, Sikhs, Bengali, Chinese and English. Within this mix, Ulster often shines through. There are schools for Catholic and Protestant children. In July each year Edinburgh hosts one of the largest Orange Walks outside Northern Ireland (to commemorate the Protestant victory in the Battle of the Boyne ).

Politics and administration

Superordinate administration

Edinburgh City Council since the 2017 local elections
19th 12 6th 8th 18th 
A total of 63 seats

Edinburgh is the historic capital of Scotland and the former county of Edinburghshire , now called Midlothian . In addition to Glasgow , Dundee and Aberdeen , Edinburgh was one of the four Counties of Cities in Scotland since 1890 . In 1975 Edinburgh became a district of the Lothian region and in 1996 the city became the Council Area "City of Edinburgh" as part of the introduction of a one-tier administrative structure . Edinburgh is also one of the Lieutenancy Areas of Scotland.

Edinburgh City Council has 63 seats. Since the local elections in 2017, the Scottish National Party has a majority with 19 seats .

Lord Mayor ( Lord Provost ) has been Frank Ross (Scottish National Party) since the 2012 election.

City arms

Edinburgh's flag, identical to the city arms

Edinburgh had had a city coat of arms since the 14th century, but it wasn't officially mentioned by the Lord Lyon King of Arms until 1732 . After the administrative reform in 1975, the City of Edinburgh District Council commissioned a new coat of arms based on a historical model: in the shield, over which the Scottish crown and an admiralty anchor are emblazoned, the black basalt rock with the castle can be seen, the towers of which bear red flags. The city motto “Nisi Dominus Frustra”, taken from Psalm 127, proclaims that nothing can last without God's help. Shield holders are a girl and a doe, the symbol of St. Aegidius, the city's patron saint. The castle was known in the Middle Ages as Castrum Puellarum - castle of the girls - according to tradition, a safe haven for princesses.

Town twinning

Edinburgh's eleven parish partnerships
city country Type since
Aalborg DenmarkDenmark Denmark Twin City 1991
Dunedin New ZealandNew Zealand New Zealand Twin City 1974
Florence ItalyItaly Italy Twin City 1964
Kiev UkraineUkraine Ukraine Twin City 1989
Krakow PolandPoland Poland Partner City 1995
Kyoto Prefecture JapanJapan Japan Friendship link 1994
Munich GermanyGermany Germany Twin City 1954
Nice FranceFrance France Twin City 1958
San Diego United StatesUnited States United States Twin City 1977
Vancouver CanadaCanada Canada Twin City 1977
Xi'an China People's RepublicPeople's Republic of China People's Republic of China Twin City 1985

Edinburgh has official bilateral relations with other cities. The aim of these collaborations is to enable the exchange of information and expertise in areas of common interest.

The partnership with Munich has dynastic reasons. As the great-grandson of Maria Theresa of Modena , a descendant of the Stuarts , Duke Franz of Bavaria could lay claim to the Scottish throne.

Economy and Infrastructure

Services and trade

Headquarters Standard Life
Jenners Department Store

Edinburgh has traditionally been an important trading center connecting Scotland with Scandinavia and continental Europe. However, the importance of the port of Leith has steadily decreased over the past decades.

Edinburgh has the second strongest economy of any city in the UK after London and the highest proportion of workers with a vocational qualification at 53% of the population. In the UK Competitiveness Index 2013 , which compares the competitiveness of British cities, Edinburgh was ranked 4th among all major cities in the United Kingdom. It ranks second behind London for earnings and unemployment.

While in the 19th century the brewing, banking and insurance as well as printing and publishing were the defining branches of the economy, the focus in the 21st century is primarily on financial services, scientific research, higher education and tourism. In 2014, Edinburgh's unemployment rate was 4.3%, well below the Scottish average of 6.3%.

Banking has been a mainstay of Edinburgh's economy for over 300 years. The Bank of Scotland (now part of the Lloyds Banking Group ) was founded in 1695 by the Scottish Parliament. Today, thanks to the financial services industry with its particularly strong insurance and investment sectors, the city is the second largest financial center in Great Britain and one of the largest in Europe. Edinburgh is the headquarters of Scottish Widows, Standard Life , Bank of Scotland, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), Tesco Bank and AEGON UK. The Royal Bank of Scotland opened its new headquarters in Gogarburn in the west of the city in October 2005. In the run-up to the referendum on whether Scotland would remain in the United Kingdom in 2014, various financial service providers announced that they would relocate their headquarters to London if Scotland became independent.

The city's biggest employers in 2014 were: National Health Service Lothian (19,500 employees), City of Edinburgh Council (19,260), University of Edinburgh (12,650), Lloyds Banking Group (9,000), The Royal Bank of Scotland Group (8,000), Standard Life (5000), Scottish Government (4000), Tesco and Tesco Bank (2600) and AEGON UK (2100). The average gross income of a worker in 2012 was £ 19,100 (about 26,700 euros). That put Edinburgh in second place behind London (£ 21,400). In the 2012 gross value added per capita ranking, Edinburgh was also in second place with £ 38,100 behind London (£ 40,200).

Tourism is another important element of Edinburgh's economy. It is the most visited city in the UK after London by foreign visitors. Edinburgh's Old Town and New Town were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995 . In 2016, 4.26 million tourists visited the city, 1.3 million of them from abroad. The largest group of foreign tourists were Americans (192,000) ahead of Germans (174,000).


Tram on Shandwick Place in central Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a major transport hub with rail and road links to the rest of Scotland and England.

The public passenger transport within city is through a comprehensive bus network operated ( Lothian Buses ), which (not entitle to transfer single tickets) covering most of the compounds without change. After the positive outcome of the vote in the Scottish Parliament in June 2007 (against the reservations of the SNP minority government), construction of the Edinburgh tram began , which is to connect the airport and Granton via Zentrum and Leith Walk . Due to financing problems, the original route was reduced to the section from the airport to the city center. This route was opened on May 31, 2014. In March 2019 it was decided to complete the route to Newhaven . Completion is scheduled for 2023.

Centrally located in the city is Edinburgh Waverley station on the East Coast Main Line , which is used partly as a through station and partly as a terminus . Long-distance traffic exists in the direction of Central England and London, ScotRail operates the connections within Scotland. In September 2015, the regional rail network was expanded to include the Waverley Line ( Borders Railway ), which was rebuilt from Edinburgh to Tweedbank .

Edinburgh International Airport is eight miles west of the city. In addition to the mostly domestic flights, there are also connections to European destinations and, more recently, a few daily transatlantic flights.

In addition to the M8 to Glasgow and M9 to Stirling motorways , Edinburgh has extensive trunk road connections to the road network of Great Britain and is, for example, the end point of the A1 from London .

Edinburgh does not have a national ferry connection; the nearest ferry port is Rosyth, around 19 kilometers away .



Teviot Row House , one of the world's oldest student union houses

Edinburgh has three internationally known universities, Edinburgh Napier University , Heriot-Watt University with the Edinburgh Business School and the University of Edinburgh (also with Business School ), the latter being one of the best in Great Britain along with universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. Since 2007, Queen Margaret University College in the suburb of Musselburgh can also call itself a university.

The Edinburgh Geological Society , founded in 1834, has its seat here. The British Geological Survey for Scotland also has its main branch in the city .


The Scottish National Gallery houses representative collections of European painting with some well-known highlights and shows changing special exhibitions. The collections of the umbrella organization National Galleries of Scotland are divided into five galleries in the city of Edinburgh:

There are a variety of museums in Edinburgh, such as B. the National Museums of Scotland , the Royal Museum , the National Library of Scotland, the National War Museum of Scotland, the Museum of Edinburgh, the Museum of Childhood and the Royal Society of Edinburgh .


The Usher Hall is a concert hall for classical music in the western part of the city on Lothian Road. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra plays here regularly.

The Royal Lyceum Theater , named after its famous London precursor , was built in 1883 and seats 658.

There are two multiplex cinema centers and the Edinburgh Filmhouse, which hosts the annual Edinburgh Film Festival.


Various legends and ghost stories circulate about Edinburgh's alleys and cemeteries. That is why there are so-called ghost tours offered by various organizers almost every evening on the Royal Mile for curious tourists . The tours lead to the Greyfriars Kirkyard or underground.


Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The Edinburgh Festival takes place every summer in Edinburgh and consists of a large number of cultural events, some of which are well-known. Both the Edinburgh International Festival for high culture and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for experimental forms of play have achieved international significance in the field of theater and music . The Edinburgh Military Tattoo is also a big crowd puller .


Cityscape and architecture

Edinburgh Castle , Holyrood Palace , Scottish National Gallery , National Museums of Scotland , Princes Street , the Royal Yacht Britannia and the Royal Mile are some of the city's most striking sights .

Old Town

The Royal Mile is made up of Canongate , High Street and Castlehill and is actually about the length of a Scottish mile , around 1.8 km. In the west, it begins at Edinburgh Castle and leads through the former Highland Tolbooth Church , St. Giles Cathedral (dedicated to the city's saint Aegidius ), the People's Story Museum , the Museum of Edinburgh and the John Knox House to the Palace of Holyroodhouse . Opposite this palace is the modern building of the Scottish Parliament . Across the Royal Mile , small, often extremely steep, alleys run in a herringbone pattern , called closes , courts or wynds . There are also several large marketplaces in the old town.

The park Princes Street Gardens extends between the Castle Rock , on which the castle was built and Princes Street. Where today the park and the train station lie between the two, marshland and lakes once surrounded the mountain, as can be seen in older paintings.

A former church tower marks the highest point in the old town. The Highland Tolbooth Church was built in the 19th century, and the church was closed in 1979: The Hub has since found many new uses, including as a festival headquarters.

Panorama of part of Edinburgh's old town

New Town, gardens, mountains, harbor

Arthur's Seat
Houses of Parliament in Holyrood

The Georgian New Town begins with Princes Street , which stretches north of the railway system with its right-angled streets. Several memorials and monuments line this boulevard from the 18th century.

In the New Town , on Picardy Place, there is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Edinburgh, St. Mary's Cathedral , a neo-Gothic building from 1814. In 1874 the foundation stone was laid for another episcopal church, also consecrated to Mary, it is the episcopal St Mary's Cathedral in the west end .

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is north of the city center. To the west of the botanical garden are the zoo and the Gallery of Modern Arts .

A view over the city is offered from the 251 meter high local mountain Arthur's Seat , which is of volcanic origin. The Salisbury Crags rock formation lies at the foot of the mountain. The Royal Observatory Edinburgh is located on Blackford Hill .

The former royal yacht Britannia is moored at the Ocean Terminal in Leith harbor and can be viewed. The separate harbor and the castle hill have contributed to the fact that Edinburgh is also called "Athens of the North" (comparison Piraeus - Acropolis).

The GILMERTON Cove is a complex artificial underground passages and chambers under the Edinburgh suburb GILMERTON from the pending sandstone were cut.



Web links

Commons : Edinburgh  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Edinburgh  Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. Mid 2018 Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  2. ^ Entry on Merriam-Webster .com
  3. The Caiy Stane Feature Page on Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved February 27, 2020 .
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-25978256
  5. https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle-2-15039/they-say-leith-got-off-lightly-they-re-wrong-1-1061209
  6. Local Election Results 2017. Edinburgh City. In: cosla.gov.uk. Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, May 2017, accessed May 31, 2017 .
  7. ^ Diane King: SNP's Frank Ross named as new Lord Provost of Edinburgh. In: Edinburgh Evening News. Johnston Press, May 18, 2017, accessed May 31, 2017 .
  8. The city arms of Edinburgh
  9. ^ Twin and Partner Cities - The City of Edinburgh Council. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on August 13, 2018 ; accessed on May 26, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.edinburgh.gov.uk
  10. a b c d e f edinburgh by numbers. www.edinburgh.gov.uk, accessed August 6, 2015 .
  11. ^ The-12-most-liveable-cities-in-britain. www.independent.co.uk, accessed August 10, 2015 .
  12. Edinburgh's new tram route in two minutes , BBC News, May 30, 2014, accessed June 1, 2014
  13. Edinburgh Trams "Taking Trams to Newhaven"
  14. bbc scotland "Councilors approve extension to Edinburgh's tram line"
  15. ^ The Scotsman: £ 350m Borders Railway nearly half complete , May 19, 2014 , accessed May 19, 2014
  16. BBC NEWS | Scotland | Edinburgh and East | Queen Margaret awarded uni status
  17. ^ Website of the Edinburgh Geological Society
  18. The Royal Mile - the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town. Scotland Signpost, accessed March 3, 2017.